When my sister-in-law gifted me the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for Christmas three years ago, stating “this book instantly made me think of you”, I wasn’t sure what she meant by that. Was she being sarcasatic? Insulting? Nope, she was stating a fact. A few pages into the book, and I knew exactly why she made that remark. I am a geeky child of the 70s and 80s, so I grew up on Atari, Ghostbusters, Space Invaders, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Galaga, D&D, The Last Starfighter, Voltron, Rubik’s Cube, Godzilla, John Hughes films, Transformers, 2001, Queen, Star Wars, Max Headroom, Ultraman, and more. Yeah, I had a fun childhood. Ready Player One brought back nostalgic memories of adventures with my favorite action figures, rushing home after school to watch classic science fiction movies, and getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons. Splash in my experiences playing MMOs and GM roleplaying campaigns, and I was hooked on this book. If you are a child of the 70s/80s and love a good adventure mystery, then I highly recommend this book. I am really looking forward to seeing how Spielberg visualizes the book and hoping he can get the licensing for so many copyrighted books, games, toys, tv shows and movies.
This Christmas, my sister-in-law followed up with another book gift of Armada, also by Ernest Cline. Do you think my sister-in-law has figured out I am a geek and love books? This time, I was aware of the book and had an inkling of what to expect. This book quickly had me reminiscing about hours spent hanging out at the arcade in the local bowling alley and many an afternoon and evening of watching science fiction movies at the theater and at home. Yet again, I was drawn in by the memories and allusions. I will be honest though, I did not personally connect as well to the main characters in this book as I did Ready Player One. I feel the storyline in Ready Player One was more unique capturing my attention in more earnest. Armada was well written and has a solid story, just not one I felt as strongly about. That said, I still recommend Armada if you grew up playing video games and watching science fiction through the 70s, 80s, and 90s especially.
So, if you are looking for some fun reading that really tugs at your geek passions, especially if you are feeling nostalgic, then I highly recommend these two novels.