In Ernest Cline’s dystopian novel, the world has been decimated by pollution and overpopulation. Reality has become so bleak that most people, if they can afford it, prefer to live in a cyber-reality known as The Oasis. Halliday, creator of The Oasis, has hidden keys throughout the cyberworld, hoping that one day someone worthy will collect the keys and become heir to his company. What makes you worthy of becoming Halliday’s heir? You must be a nerd! Only those with the ultimate nerd knowledge can solve the puzzles and collect the keys. Puzzles are drawn straight from nerd culture: John Hughes films, classic video games, Monty Python, comic books, 80’s music and more. Wade Watts has spent his life enmeshed in nerd culture and when he begins solving the puzzles, his life is turned upside down. As Wade encounters fortune and fame in cyberspace he is faced with death-threats and spies in the real world. The novel is a fast-paced and exciting read and I found myself feeling anxious for Wade as he spent more and more time in The Oasis, leaving himself vulnerable to the danger looming around him in reality. The plot-line is captivating but the real fun of the novel was solving the puzzles alongside Wade, testing my own knowledge of nerd culture and reveling in the nostalgic references that littered every chapter. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys pop culture and wants to get in touch with their inner nerd.
Can't get enough of the world of nerds? Check out my list of books with characters who proved that being a nerd might actually be a good thing.