And of course you can read Ready Player One as a fun dumb fantasy. No one’s stopping you! But Cline’s world is not just one in which gamers get to be awesome, but also one in which gamers get to be awesome specifically because everyone else sucks. It’s a world in which women are trophies, the concerns of straight white men are all that matters, and the greatest possible calling of anyone’s life is the rote memorization of trivia at the expense of all else.
Constance Grady harshed your squee.
This is a really, really good summary of how Ready Player One went from the darling of 2011 to a target for derision and ridicule. The main difference between then and now? GamerGate. Basically, GamerGate came along and forced everyone1 to own up to just how toxic, empty, and damaging the sort of cynical cultural gatekeeping lauded by the book really is…
- And by “everyone” I mean, like. Straight white cis dudes, mostly. [↩]