Armada, by Ernest Cline: a joyous, rollicking read

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Slate’s review was downright scathing, calling it “everything wrong with gaming culture”.

You might wonder: What is Lex about? What motivates her? It doesn’t
matter. What’s important about her is that she’s a hot girl from Austin
who gets his jokes, has “alabaster skin,” sports a seminude Tank Girl
tattoo, and wants to make out with our hero after hearing that he’s one
of the best Armada players in the world.
Take away the shoutouts and the plot points borrowed wholesale from far better
works of science fiction, and the story in Armada doesn’t just fall apart—it doesn’t
exist at all. It’s simply a long series of secret handshakes, designed to grant
access to the most enduring and beloved fantasy world of so many aging
gamers: the idea that nothing will ever be more important than the things they
loved when they were young.

(If that review looks familiar, it’s because Ms. Alexander linked to it from FFVII article, under the words “constant grasping of our adult fingers”.)

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Who is Ms. Alexander and what is your point? One site reviewed it unfavorably and an author different than the one who wrote this article linked to said review?

Neo, what if I told you that the author of that Slate article is an editor here at Boing Boing.


[quote=“strugglngwriter, post:3, topic:61751”]Who is Ms. Alexander[/quote] , whose articles are posted frequently here?

Is it me, or does the review presume I already know what the book is about?

I did like Ready Player One, but the references were a tad too overwhelming, and the fact that a whole subculture in the near future specifically is inspired by just the 80s did break my suspension of disbelief a bit. Luckily the story was fun enough.

Growing up in the 80s around videogames (my dad managed an arcade at the time and I played a ton of stuff free), and becoming a game developer afterward, I was much less than delighted by the tons of references in Ready Player One.

I don’t want to read the same story again mashed up with The Last Starfighter.


This review is posted under the “Boing Boing” byline. Does that mean it’s a paid posting?

Thanks for this.

I thought Ready Player One was undeserving of all the praise it got, so that might relegate this to the level of ‘when it gets in at the library’.

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So her articles are posted frequently here. Is the point that there is a disagreement in the quality of the book Armada? I mean, that happens, right?

No, it’s not. It’s by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. One moment, I’ll fix the byline.

(Anything paid at BB is marked “advertisment” or “sponsored” or has advertiser as the byline, etc)

P.S. thank you for asking nicely.

EDIT: Turns out it is sponsored, the proper disclosure’s been added.


Aw, Maggie, with a doubled barrelled surname, and yet…


Is someone going to make you?

[quote=“strugglngwriter, post:11, topic:61751, full:true”]So her articles are posted frequently here. Is the point that there is a disagreement in the quality of the book Armada? I mean, that happens, right?[/quote]It seems surprising to see any kind of dissension of opinion regarding what is everything being wrong with “gaming culture”.

I actually just finished reading Ready Player One (based on BB’s recommendation). I thought a lot of the 80’s references were fun because it reminded me of being a nerd in the 80’s. And not just the games, but the music, the movies, the non-electronic games, etc. It was also a fairly fun read, even if I didn’t think it the writing was all that great.

RPO includes a bit of this new book at the end. Still deciding if I want to read this new one or not. I am afraid without a point of reference (such as my nerd-dom in the 80’s), it might be a lot less fun…

Is saying that something doesn’t appeal to you confrontational, now?

Mod note: stay on topic.

Having seen/read interviews with Cline, I’ve come to the conclusion that the man is incapable of describing anything, be it in reality or in fiction, without an '80s pop culture reference as a comparison.

His appearance in “Atari: Game Over” was a particularly insufferable low point for that documentary.

(Unrelated to the above comment: when did BB start using DoubleClick as the source of redirect links in articles?)

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Rob, the article is marked as “sponsored,” so now I’m confused.