I'm still getting my head around the intense referentiality of this book; perhaps the treatment of '80s nostalgia would be interesting to someone who didn't live through that decade, but for me the nostalgia was boring because all the references were to the lowest common denominator straight white boy geek culture (games, music, movies, TV). I was reminded of how boring that culture always was, how not particularly "alternative" or progressive the world of gaming was/is. I think Cline's heart was certainly in the right place, in his descriptions of the world outside OASIS (the all-consuming interactive game everyone plays in the near future), but I don't think he went deep enough into the implications of this sort of world. This world had a dystopian-lite quality that I found disturbing. The character Art3mis's vague philanthropic leanings feel like social-conscience window dressing, another way to make her into a sexy smart girl who the "hero" can admire and win over.SPOILER ALERT: Very early on, the protagonist's entire family (abusive and extended, sure, but kin) and community is murdered, with basically no emotional impact. And most of the plot is a version of "boy completes quest and is rewarded with girl" which even the most mainstream '80s movies had the good sense to at least question. READY PLAYER ONE is well-crafted in that it's gripping, takes the reader on a ride, ends conclusively, all that. The supposed fun of the story has to do with solving a puzzle, but it's not really a puzzle for the reader. Reading this book was like watching someone else play a video game.