Author: Ernest Cline
Type: Fiction, novel
I read it: June 2012
This book was an absolute blast, the perfect selection for getting through hot plane and car rides to, from, and within Colorado. The setup is mostly believable and the first-person perspective appropriate. Whether you are a fan of social commentary, pop trivia, the 1980s, or especially video games (videogames? why does he spell it like that?) this book has plenty to grab you. It is quite tactfully done, and what borders on fluff usually contributes to the story. I found plenty of fun in catching the references (some or most, but certainly not all) and I would be interested in finding out if the less nerdy crowd still gets enjoyment from the story. By the end it is a bit of a nerd fantasy and the hero smooths through things too tidily, but you really are cheering for him and his situation remains intriguing. Cline’s biggest accomplishment is telling a story that is entirely about technology, through the medium of a book. It certainly seems as immersive as his imagined OASIS.
Copyeditor’s corner: I usually skip griping about this habit because so many authors do it (as if they missed this day of Creative Writing class in college), but Cline is the most guilty I have ever seen: he cannot stop using “began/began to.” This phrase is almost as useless as “literally,” and you will find it popping up on his pages in spades. When you come across it, imagine taking those words out completely, and the sentence will read the same but with greater economy. Editors take note! Cross out all instances of “began to,” “started to,” and other such filler. The character simply takes the action, with no preliminaries. Okay, I am beginning to go on about this at too much length.