Call to Action: Ready Player One

By Burke Tysen

Like Ender’s Game, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Penguin Random House, 2011) is a science fiction book on the Commandant’s Professional Reading List. Unlike Ender’s Game, Ready Player One does not read like a story of war, strategy, or military training in a futuristic setting. Dystopian, yes. Military, no. Set in the year 2044, but heavily drawing on retro-nostalgia for the 1980s this future world is a terrible reality for most people: overcrowded, resource constrained, and hopeless. Like most people, the teenage protagonist Wade Watts really feels alive only when he’s physically participating in the worldwide virtual-reality utopia known as the OASIS. The OASIS is more than a “massive multi-player on-line role-playing game” encompassing commerce, education, entertainment, social interaction and daily work for most humans. Wade has devoted his life to studying the elaborate contest of puzzles hidden in OASIS that were put in place by the system’s creator James Halliday based his obsession with the pop culture of his youth and designed as a scavenger hunt to determine who will ultimately control (and profit from) the OASIS after his own demise.

What about Ready Player One makes it relevant to military professionals and why is the book of value for the Marine Corps’ professional reading program?

Usually, when a book is made into a film, plot elements, characters, and entire story arcs are changed, combined, simplified or omitted. What key elements of the book were changed when Ready Player One was made into a movie?  Do these changes enhance or reduce the value of the movie as a supplement to the book in the context of professional reading for Marines?

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