Game On: Ready Player One

I don’t know how I missed the hype on this, but I thought I’d somehow uncovered a hidden gem once I started reading Ready Player One. Of course I had, but what I didn’t appreciate was the immense following the book had already built.

Working in marketing, I am constantly challenged to look at the new trends and fads that are taking hold, which at the moment of course is virtual reality – there’s no escaping it.

Therefore I was taken aback at how relevant this book is, even for the year 2017. With no distinction between reality and the virtual one, this book takes a glance to our future and makes a very justifiable stab at how we may be living.

This in itself is quite a terrifying thought. We are awestruck by the virtual worlds we can create in 2017, and it only takes a couple more leaps-and-bounds before Ready Player One is no longer a sci-fi novel but a factual text.

The fantastic entwining of the past in 1980 and the not-so-distant future of 2044 perfectly shapes the novel. We are able to look back in history and nod at these details, whilst dreaming about the paths we may take in 30 years time.

Having grown up in the 90s, although the references are firmly rooted in the disco decade, I see parts of my childhood creeping into the pages; the etch-a-sketch, Ferris Bueller’s Big Day Off, and a DeLorean with a Ghostbusters logo printed on its famous winged doors.

Ready Player One is an enticing sci-fi adventure, with (geeky) wit, a lot of pop-culture references, plenty of action, and a climatic finale. So it comes as no surprise that we’ll soon be seeing trailers for the Steven Spielberg adaptation, which will no doubt take the world by storm.

Ready Player One: Ernest Cline

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Bond Alive and Well: Trigger Mortis

I can’t resist a James Bond film; who can?

Equally, I can’t profess to having read all of Sir Ian Fleming’s work, but I have dabbled with a few of the James Bond books: they’re a fun read though admittedly a little backward in their views on society. This latest addition to the collection is no exception, as although it was helped along by the fantastic Anthony Horowitz, there are traces of Sir Ian Fleming’s unpublished work.

What I most enjoyed about this book wasn’t necessarily the story, it was no revelation to the action adventure genre, but I liked that it kept in sequence with its predecessors. Us Brits have a number of traditions that we don’t like people messing with, and James Bond is one of them. I could never imagine catching a twenty first century man asking for Martinis – maybe that says a lot more about me than our culture –  but if somebody came along and thought about changing Mr Bond’s favourite tipple, there would be petitions signed and uproar in the streets. We like our Bond the way he is.

Trigger Mortis is a step into 1950s secret service and briefly into the world of motorcar racing, which is a fun escape from reality. As a stereotypical young woman, I can’t pretend I’m particularly interested in car specs, so the beginning quarter did drag a little. However, when we got stuck into the action itself, I soon forgave the slow start.

Bond is Bond, but we like him because of this. I appreciate that maybe some of the chauvinistic, sexist, xenophobic associations of the past make the literary character outdated, however if we change him to fit into our modern world, we would lose the very essence of Sir Ian Fleming’s work. I appreciate the difficulties Mr Horowitz would have to bring continuity to the series, without alienating his readers, and I think he balances this well.

Trigger Mortis is for people who like Bond, flaws and all. If you enjoy spending a Saturday afternoon, curled up on the sofa, as Bond takes to far flung lands to ensure the world remains a safer place, then I reckon you’d probably quite like this book too.

Trigger Mortis: Anthony Horowitz