Reading Ready Player One: Hope

Ready Player One book cover illustration by WHISKYTREE.
The pessimism in me says solving world hunger is a fool’s dream. And yet that’s what Art3mis plans to do if she finds Halliday’s Easter egg. “Once we tackle world hunger, then we can figure out how to fix the environment and solve the energy crisis,” she says to Wade when they first meet.

Wade’s plan makes more sense to me: “I’d have a nuclear-powered interstellar spacecraft constructed in Earth’s orbit . . . Then I’d invite a few of my closest friends to come aboard, along with a team of doctors and scientists, and we’d all get the hell out of Dodge. Leave the solar system and start looking for an extrasolar Earthlike planet.”

There’s no hope for this planet or the people on it—especially in Ready Player One’s scenario where the Earth is basically dying—so we might as well give up and start over, right?

Yet, I wonder if Art3mis’s plan is the wiser of the two. Wade’s idea is to give up, but Art3mis’s is to repair what is broken. If we translated this to a current-day issue—should we nuke the Middle East and build new cities without strife or should we work to make peace amidst people who may never agree? Or even something simpler—should we give up on a friendship or marriage because it gets difficult, or work through the strife to strengthen the relationship?

Is Wade’s solution really a solution at all? Won’t starting over eventually bring the same problems he is facing now? Perhaps attempting to renew what is broken without tossing everything out really is the better course of action. I might want to start over, like resetting a video game where I’ve made too many mistakes, but if I work with what I’ve got maybe hope will transform into something more.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think Earth is headed to the environmental disaster featured in Ready Player One?
  • Would you give up and start over, or work to fix what is broken?
  • Why does Wade want to give up and leave?

Area of Effect is reading Ready Player One in preparation for the upcoming movie! Read along with us as we post our chapter commentaries every Friday and post an answer to one of the questions in the comment section!

Allison Alexander

Allison Alexander

Art Director at Geekdom House
Allison is like Galadriel, offering wisdom where needed but turning treacherous as the sea when competitive games are involved. She manages Geekdom House's arts initiatives, including their magazine and choir. She spends the rest of her time writing, playing D&D, and exploring Hyrule, Middle-earth, or a galaxy far, far away.
Allison Alexander

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