Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Did you grow up in the 80’s? Do you like video games and geek culture? Then you might only be a little bit irritated by this book.

In the future, a global total immersion video game dominates the worlds economy, with most of humanity spending every available waking hour inside of it. The creator of said video game has hidden an ‘Easter Egg’ inside the game, which would grant the one who finds it complete control of the game and his company, according to his will.

The creator of this video game world, though, was obsessed with 80’s movies and old video games, and the clues to finding ‘the egg’ are all somehow related to these obsessions. This has the consequence of causing an entire generation of egg hunters, or ‘gunters’ as they are referred to in the novel, to become obsessed with the minutia of movies and games made 50 years before they were even born. (This novel is set in the future.)

It’s fun and nostalgic at first, then becomes really kind of sad and pathetic about halfway into the book, and I almost stopped reading. These characters have no interests of their own, they only like something because their game designer god-hero liked it. In one scene, a character orders a drink at the bar, and another says ‘ah, that’s Connor MacLeod’s favorite drink, good choice.’ So, it’s a good choice not because it tastes good, not because you enjoy it, but because some fictional character enjoys it. And the whole book is like this.

I wonder if the author meant it as a statement on the celebrity obsessed culture that we live in. I wonder if these characters were meant to be pathetic shells of humans whose only interests and knowledge about life revolve around movies and shows and games half a century gone. I wonder if the recitation of movie quotes as if they were some kind of sacred scripture was meant to highlight how ridiculous some of our own modern religions are, or if it was meant to mirror the deity-like status we give to actors and musicians.

Or is Ernest Cline just a big, smelly nerd who wanted an excuse to go on for chapters long rambles about the trivial details of Zork and Joust and Back to the Future and Wargames, and have big video game battles between his favorite robots and monsters?

The world may never know.

I enjoyed the book for the most part, in retrospect. It was an exciting and interesting read, and I did enjoy some of the nostalgia. I’d recommend it to people who grew up in the 80’s.

Independence

Yesterday I set off some fireworks with family at my sisters house. It seems the quality of fireworks has gone down over the past year, because these ones kept falling over and shooting at us, and a small fire was started in the bushes, which we scrambled to put out.

After that adrenaline rush, I kept thinking of how easily I could have been terribly injured. And on the drive home I kept thinking about how I could easily die at any moment, and convinced myself for a few moments that I would likely die soon.

It was a strange feeling. You can know, logically, that you will die one day. You can say all the platitudes–life is short, you’ll be old before you know it, one day you’ll wake up and realize you’ve wasted your life… etc–but feeling it is something else all together.

I realized–and accepted, on some deeper level than I had before, that my time is very limited. I might only have a couple years left, or a couple months. There is no way to know. And even if I’m lucky and have 30 or 50 years to go, that is still going to fly by extremely fast.

We have very little time to do the things we want, and we shouldn’t waste that time worrying about if we’re doing it right, or good enough for someone else.

Just do it.  Don’t put it off. Do it now.

I’m going to write as much as I can before I die. And I hope that some of it will resonate with enough people to live on for a while after I’m gone.

I don’t know what this has to do with Independence day, except maybe that I’m now more independent from myself. I’m not going to rely on time or life to work out in a convenient way. I’m going to do it now, while I can!

Connectivity

I was having a beer at my local karaoke bar last night, and ‘checked in’ on my drinking app, Untappd, which lets me keep track of what beers I’ve had and where I’ve had them, and gives badges for trying different kinds. Anyway, I check in with it every time out of habit, and forgot that it posts to my twitter automatically, and mentions the brewery, and the bar I’m at.

So I check in, then a moment later the bartender looks at her phone and says “Hey, did someone just tweet?”

And I say “Oh, I guess I did.” and we start a conversation about beer and what its like running the bar’s twitter account.

People always say social media isolates us and keeps us from having real world interactions, but, I don’t think it does. The kind of people who are loners would be loners with our without social media, and the kind of people who like to talk to strangers are going to do that regardless, too. We are now a hyper connected society where anyone can talk to anyone anywhere about anything at any time. I can only see that as a benefit to society over all.

And if you happen to be in the same room as someone who reads your tweet, then real world conversations can come of it too.

PS: If you want to add me on Untappd and see what sort of beers I’m drinking, my username is jonasd.

Nano?

Well, it’s not November,  but I’m doing a Nano challenge this month anyway. Sort of a half-nano. I’m going to write 22,000 words this month, which is about 700 per day. Doesn’t sound like much, but I haven’t been writing that regularly in ages, so its going to be a challenge!

And if I don’t achieve it, there are certain forfeit penalties awaiting me… oh dear…

Better start typing!

Marriage

I know I’m a couple days late, but what a great day for America! We are now one step closer to having equal rights for all humans. It’s still a long way off, but getting it set in law is a huge step toward changing the attitudes of the populace.

This news, in combination with the confederate flag news, and I think we’re going to see a lot of secret bigots coming out of the woodwork to expose their hatred for everyone. Politicians and regular folk alike.

What an exciting time to be an American!

Novella

I’ve written one! Well, I wrote it nearly three years ago and am just now getting around to editing it–but! It is now nearly done, and I hope to have it out on Kindle by the end of the year.

It’s about a shape-shifting thief on Mars who is hired to kidnap a super-genius and take her to a hidden base on Saturn’s moon Iapetus, for reasons unknown to him. And when trying to complete the job, a space adventure ensues!

I’ll have more updates soon, and probably a sneak peak at the first part of it once it’s done. Keep an eye out for it!