Fuckbois of Literature on Ready Player One

Originally published at: Fuckbois of Literature on Ready Player One | Boing Boing


I only saw the movie, but Ready Player One was so full of irrelevant and disconnected references to 80s and 90s pop culture, it made the writers on Family Guy cringe.


Readyplayer2 was even worse


I get the argument that it was tailor-made for people like me … but that’s only one small reason why it infuriated me to read it.

Same here. There’s a kind of self-satisfied preaching-to-the-choir fan service aspect going on that’s off-putting to well-adjusted adults. It’s a shame, because there were some interesting aspects of the society that Cline brought up but then shyed away from in the interest of making his audience more comfortable.

I had a similar response to Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom”, which was also effectively tailor-made for me.

the rise of all kinds of “The nerds have won” content

And indeed they have won, but you wouldn’t know it from the levels of high-schhol grievance a lot of them harbour against those they see as their “oppressors” (primarily the women they think they’re entitled to have sex with but also the slick “cool kids” they believe still run the show).

RP1’s wish fulfillment is a slightly more subtle version of that, with the girl realising how awesome the protagonist is and his gaining corporate control of the metaverse.

The actual politics hardly matter, but despite all the talk of freedom the outcome falls right in line with the neoliberal Third Way assumption that the system is fine and that all it takes is a gifted and wonderful individual (a philosopher king, if you will) to eliminate its minor flaws.


The blandly toxic neoliberal wankery of Wade from Ready Player One fits this criteria perfectly

This book is to leftists what the movie Avatar was to rightists: an enjoyable but forgettable piece of fiction that, for some reason, triggers them really hard.

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matthew broderick professor falken GIF


So, basically Ready Player One is lazily written isekai?


I understand the issues with the book (and definitely the movie). It was still a fun read at the time. I hadn’t heard much about it and received a free copy. Free of expectations, it was neat. Plus I don’t get to read many books that acknowledge anime like Evangelion. You could say it kind of made be feel seen? Very superficially compared to other things, but it was nice nonetheless.


I enjoyed the book, but I also think it should be classed as a teen or young adult book. It’s purely adolescent wish fulfillment. There’s zero subtlety. I’m guessing the reason it wasn’t marketed that way was because they thought only adults would get the 80’s references.


I always feel like I’ve lived an entirely different timeline with respect to the 80s and 90s. Mind you there are some nice parts to those decades. Some fun movies, good music, but for the first six to seven years of my life it was a hard one. Most of my clothes were from the DAV or Salvation Army stores. My parents didn’t have new cars (think broke ass 60s/70s death traps). And my dad didn’t get stable employment until '87 at Beechcraft only because he kept showing up for three months straight and the secretary felt bad for him which then his resume got put on top of the stack. Simply put, the 80s and 90s weren’t roses and chocolates. And seeing folks like the writer for Ready Player One fawn over pop culture from that time always just feels like middle class bullshit to me. /rant


I’m not sure if it counts as such, since the protagonist is already very familiar with the parallel universe and is a well-known hero within it. But yes, those tropes do appear in the mundane world where Wade starts the story as poor and insignificant.

It’s a middle-class white male Gen-Xer geek’s view (pretty much mine). We may have come out on top in business and media culture, but that doesn’t mean our experience of the 1980s was even close to the norm for the vast majority of Americans.


Breadtube has exactly two videos about Ready Player One, so I will call bullshit on that claim.


it was not worse it was just a was not…

The notion of a game based on the recreation of old movie scenes…was so risible, so stupid in terms of world-building, that the book lost all ability to suspend my belief–like the first Matrix movie and making giant D cells out of human beings…I guess we really do look that dumb to them, that creators think we’ll eat anything and think it’s tasty.

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Avatar triggers the Right? They’re in favor of ripping down jungles and killing the natives? Of course.


I have a hard time suspending disbelief whenever the supposedly globe-sweeping game is hardcore/permadeath. That kind of worldbuilding tells me the author never played an MMO before.


My 1980s was more like Billy Elliot than what retro pop culture thinks the 80s was.

And by “more like Billy Elliot” I mean I lived about an hour away from where the film was set and I grew up with a back yard and back lane just like the ones in the film, sitting with my friends on the back wall. I didn’t live in a mining town so I got to miss the miners strike, but I still got my lessons on why you support the strike and don’t cross a picket line.


I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages. The nostalgia factor had no appeal to me. I wonder if the liberal versus conservative reaction to the book has to do with this:


One of the parts that stood out to me was the premise that a protagonist that young would have had time in their short lives to amass an encyclopedic knowledge of over a decades’ worth of pop culture and build a secret high-tech hideout and become a self-taught super-hacker and master every video game and maintain straight As in high school and spend hours every day pursuing this online treasure hunt.

The hours just don’t add up. The guy has a less believable social schedule and skill set than Bruce Wayne.

(Confession: I also listened to Ready Player Two in audiobook form after reading the first book so I’m clearly a slow learner.)