Oh my god. Oh my GOD.
Just LOOK at this DELICIOUS MESS.
Oh my god. Oh my GOD.
Just LOOK at this DELICIOUS MESS.
Ernest Cline lives in a world where the scariest thing imaginable is an IP or pop culture item being allowed to truly die and fade into obscurity.
I have no words. This writing is ATROCIOUS.
Roger Ebert said it all already, “If you know absolutely all the trivia about your cubbyhole of pop culture, it saves you from having to know anything about anything else. That’s why it’s excruciatingly boring to talk to such people: They’re always asking you questions they know the answer to.”
This is also kind of like trying to have a conversation with someone who spends all day listening to talk radio or watching conservative news. They ask you questions but parrot the lines they got from their pundit at you and don’t really care what you have to say.
It is like being spoken to by the absence of a person, or rather, a person who was never allowed to become anything other than a vessel for culture. And that’s both very sad and very disturbing to me.
“Ok main character, you’re now a billionaire and are in control of the company that pretty much runs all of society. What are you gonna do no-”
“I’M GONNA FUCK IN VR.”
“Well, uh… Wait-”
“LIKE A LOT.”
"Couldn’t you like… Maybe fix the weird office slave employment structure that you yourself experienced and now have total control over-
“AW DANGIT MY GIRLFRIEND LEFT ME. OH WELL. OH LOOK, A NEW EASTER EGG HUNT! WOOOO.”
(I get a real Finn the Human: Supreme Dingus vibe from Wade.)
Once in a while I get tempted to crack open a copy of RPO that I wound up with by accident and it takes me about a paragraph before I put it down again. I’m a terrible writer and I can still write circles around Cline.
The stalk of corn vibrated with magical energy as it sprung out of the ground. Tythus Cadian slowly moved his hands in a clockwise circle in front of his torso, hands straight, palms perpendicular to the ground (demonstrating proper chronomancy technique). Once he was satisfied with the height of the corn, he brought his palms together to complete the spell. His chronomancy class looked on in pregnant silence as Master Verus walked over with his measuring tape.
Master Verus measured each leaf in turn, followed by each ear of corn, making notes the whole time. He twisted one ear off the stalk and husked it with practiced hands. His eyes flashed briefly with a blue fire, and suddenly the ear was steaming as though it had been boiled. (It had, in the six or so minutes Verus had taken in his time stoppage.) Verus took a bite and chewed thoughtfully for a minute. He swallowed, turned to Tythus, and said “Hmmmm…how would you evaluate your work?”
Tythus took a lap around his stalk of corn, analyzing it as closely as he could. “It…looks like corn, Master,” he said.
Kylian Verus, master chronomancer and a Keeper of the Locus, permitted himself a small smile. “Indeed it is, Acolyte Cadian,” he said. “But look here.” He gestured to a leaf on the side of the stalk opposite Tythus that had begun to brown around the edges. “The details are important. Deaging a broken staircase and missing a step will leave someone in the medical tower for the night. You pass this test, but if you wish to be a chronomancer, I expect perfection.”
This is why I’m actually glad Cline’s books exist. I don’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities as a writer (or in general), but if I can crack one of these open, laugh, and use it as motivation? That’s a win.
That “theme song” is the only good thing to happen that was even slightly adjacent to RPO.
I read RPO in high school and genuinely enjoyed it and now I’m wondering whether my brain was actually fucked or if reading it while assuming it was YA made it feel less awful. Because holy shit these are awful.
At least twice in the quotes from that thread, he presents the three kinds of sex as straight, gay, and nonbinary… I desperately want to know what he thinks nonbinary means. Also, I’d rather read a fanfic written by a 12 year old where Harry Potter plays Yu-Gi-Oh! than any more of this book.
I listened to it as an adult, and while I had to stop from time to time from second hand embarrassment, I found that the most interesting parts of the book took place outside the Oasis.
The imagery of the stacks is still really compelling, but SO MUCH of the book is infused with this insane idea that future online will be filled with nostalgia nerds instead of furries and anime girls, which we know now thanks to VR chat.
I can forgive it for that though, it’s trying to establish its own world, but I feel like if you’re gonna make a sequel about the guy who now owns the evil corporation you were fighting against in the first book, you REALLY NEED to address how your ‘hero’ is actually helping the world for the better.
Not just have ANOTHER treasure hunt.
Demi’s complete deadpan boredom through this whole thing always gets me. Just perfect.
anyway im not looking forward to this in the slightest lol
I think the part of me that enjoyed it is the same part of me that enjoys heist movies — National Treasure, Ocean’s Eleven, that kind of thing. It’s a very nakedly plotted book but I enjoyed what was there. But I don’t need another one, considering how much better stuff that genre has to offer.
Jeez… this is is some truly atrocious writing on just about every level.
While the appeal/success/prose of first book also utterly baffles and repulses me, I worked in the publishing industry when it was released and would attend both SDCC and NYCC as part of my job and, for years after, people would joyfully tell me it was the first book they read in years (sometimes since school) and then inspired them to keep reading other stuff. So, for that, I guess the first book did something good, but god are these excerpts hard to read.
I had a teacher in high school (who I like a lot!) who literally taught it the year after it came out to his 12th grade American lit class. That class was usually populated with science and math-focused folks who had decided to relax as seniors and not take any of the more advanced English courses they could have taken. I had a lot of friends in that class, and I had genuinely never seen most of them more engaged or excited about a book, in school or otherwise.
On the complete flipside, my mom, who reads everything from legal fiction to Le Guin, really enjoyed it too. I think for a lot of the nostalgia ('80s culture brings her back to her 20s). But idk — I’m interested in how different the reaction to RPO was from the people I know/follow in online/game spaces versus the people I know outside them.
I get the appeal of these sort of referential, nostalgia pieces; I’ve certainly watched a few ‘100 best 90s cartoon themes’ vids on YouTube, and gone ‘oh damn, Tiny Toon Adventures, that kicked ass’. The theme song is probably as deep as my memories really go, I can’t remember 90% of the characters names and besides maybe ‘the little girl was super aggressive with the toons’, I don’t remember many scenes or jokes or events that occurred in that show.
But I do prefer the presentation of a clip compilation someone threw together in WMM to a book that tells me its main character as So Smart and Epic for reciting the knights who say ‘ni!’ bit.
I’m with you. I rather watch a Toonami ads compilation for an hour and get the nostalgia out of my system then read about it.
I cannot tell what passages from twitter today are arch-parody and what are actually the real shit in these awful books.
Also, can we finally recognize that Ready Player One was one of the worst movies ever made? Uch. That was deeply painful.