It’s 2044, the world’s a dystopian mess and people escape to, learn, live and work in a virtual world called OASIS (the followup to William Gibson’s cyberspace and Neal Stephenson’s metaverse).
At the start of the book, videogame designer James Halliday, the ultimate 1980s geek, leaves his vast fortune to the person who can find three magical keys (Easter eggs) hidden in the vast OASIS.
Enter one Wade Watts, an 18-year old living in the Oklahoma City “stacks” of trailers upon trailers left behind by people migrating to the cities. Compared to the other egg hunters (“gunters”), the poverty-born Wade is at a disadvantage and can’t travel OASIS. But what he lacks in finances he more than makes up in his knowledge of 1980s pop culture, and videogames skills. As a result, he finds the first key and starts the race that will continue until all three keys are discovered.
The quest is a blast. There are allies and enemies, a romance and an overload of 1980s nostalgia. I read it laughing aloud along the way, handed it to my son Alejandro, who enjoyed it, then I reread it. It’s a total blast.