Can somebody explain the Ready Player One issue to me?

I’m old. I don’t read YA books. I never read Ready Player One. I don’t think I ever heard of it until the movie came out. My awareness of it was basically “Okay, it’s another teen book that’s been made into a movie. Pass.” I lumped it in with Twilight and Hunger Games and Divergent.

But apparently there is some controversy about the book and movie. And I don’t know what the issue is. It’s apparently something over pop culture references? Or maybe misogyny?

Any link/cite to someone saying there is some controversy associated with the movie? I’ve read the book (well, skimmed through it years ago) and saw the movie, but I have no idea what you’re talking about, and a quick Google News search didn’t help.

As far as I’m aware, the controversy is this:

Some people say this book is really, really good.

Some people say this book really, really sucks.

I don’t think there’s any deeper issue, there.

  1. not a YA book (oddly enough, given that the protagonist is a teen)
    It’s marketed as speculative fiction/dystopia. There is a lot of overlap, but it really isn’t a YA book in style or format.

  2. yep, pretty much both of those.
    The book is an obsessive and list-ful love letter to the 1980s. Either you very much appreciate that, or you really don’t.
    The protagonist is effortlessly (in the grand scheme of the plot) gifted with the love and companionship of a beautiful desirable woman (who is presented as being possibly better than him but obviously not quiiiite as smart as he is) simply by being his own dorky nerdy self. Either you very much appreciate that tripe or you very much do not.

Not sure if that was a typo or not, but TV Tripes would be an awesome site.

The book details a lifelong pursuit of the protagonist, researching games and gaming-related things for his life. It shows his life, and how it was affected by the creation of one person. It shows the devotion a gamer can have to a game, finding every detail about it, in order to find deeper meaning in things. It does this through showing the life of the creator of the Oasis, which is a VR world everyone uses. The protagonist, through his knowledge, finds the last secret the creator left, through imaginative thought and hard work. Along the way, he meets like-minded folks, and forms bonds with them.

The movie is Indiana Jones in the VR Realm, and ignores most of the stuff.

The book is nothing like the movie, and the movie is nothing like the book.

It would be as jarring as if Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara suddenly founded a heart care clinic in Nicaragua.

Anyone who is offended by this situation or finds it to be “misogynist” is hopelessly tangled up in their own dogma; whether a woman is “beautiful” or “desirable” or not should have nothing to do with how or to whom she chooses to give her love and companionship - as I’m sure most of these people themselves would agree.

I haven’t yet read the book or seen the movie, but I believe that it is that now everything has to be everything. If it appeals to a limited audience (like* Ready** Player One*), then it is bad and must be destroyed.

What ‘Ready Player One’ Tells Us About Toxic Fandom
Ready Player One overloads its nostalgia circuits with new posters
‘Ready Player One’ is a terrible book and it will be a terrible movie
The Backlash to Ready Player One Reveals the Blindspots of Entertainment Journalism
We need to talk about everything that’s wrong with Ready Player One

To my understanding, the main objection was that the book and/or movie crammed in so much 80s nostalgia that there wasn’t really room for anything else, like (say) a good story. But I’ve neither read the book nor seen the movie, so I can’t say myself.

I also think it is the fact that we are supposed to be impressed that the protagonist still loves main girl when he meets her in the real world and learns she has a port wine stain.

Some find it pretty pathetic that the fact he loves her for who she is is supposed to be admirable.

There are other similar issues.

It’s not a greatly written book, but I liked it. I will leave almost no impact in the future. People in 2050-2060 will not be interested in Ernest Cline’s nostalgia.

To my knowledge, the controversy of the book is that it’s mysogenist because of the way the protagonist objectifies the girl, and it’s insensitive to trans people because there’s an exchange in the book when Parzival (the male) is speaking to Art3mis (the female) and says something to the effect of “are you an actual not post-surgery girl?”

My response is: Gasp! A nerd from the 80s wrote a book in the 90s about a nerd who got the hot girl and had old-school thoughts on trans people? You don’t say! :rolleyes::rolleyes:

I think your links explain it well enough. Between the publishing of the book and the release of the movie the image of who would really enjoy the story changed because of Gamergate and all the baggage that contains.

I don’t think the weakness of the story is the controversy (if that’s the right word) but that has been used as a weapon to bludgeon the movie by people.

FWIW I was was mixed on the book but initially leaned to liking it but the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed. I am pretty sure I won’t like the movie but I will see it sooner or later because I like Spielberg so I at least have to give it a shot.

Book came out and was very popular. Movie comes out and “Popular book becomes popular movie” doesn’t draw half as many page clicks as manufactured controversy about how the book is really a terrible horrible travesty and reflective of everything wrong with everything. Bonus points for tying it to toxic this and misogynistic that.

It’s The Hero’s Journey to win the ultimate prize (the world) through solving an 80s trivia puzzle and in doing so, win the girl. Ham-fistedly written but jam-packed with 80’s themes so it’s fun to read if you grew up in/lived through the 80s.

The 80’s theme makes it a kind of novelty. Is the book self-aware enough to know that the romance contained within is also every sappy 80’s romance movie of boy meets girl, loses girl, wins girl? I don’t care.

Those links don’t really look like “controversy” to me. More that people don’t like the book, despite it getting good reviews when it was published.

The better links talk about how it’s a rosy pro-gamer perhaps self-indulgent fantasy in a world that has seen gamergate and should know better.

I read the book and enjoyed it, despite not being a gamer. I liked the theme of “nice protagonist makes good in a dystopian world stacked against him”. It’s fantasy, but fun fantasy. The trailer didn’t look attractive to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the story has significantly changed. It certainly looks like the mood of the story changed.

Also, while I’m certainly not the person most sensitive to misogyny, it certainly didn’t trigger my misogyny sensors. I mean, the protagonist is a boy who gets the girl. But that would be a large fraction of light stories. At least the girl is actually a character and not just a prize.

All your rage are belong to us?

But, see, it is supporting boys liking girls, which is pushing heteronormativity! Just like that horrible Peanuts movie!

I’ve never read the book. But having seen the movie, I was relatively surprised by the complete lack of “issues” or “controversies”, given the number of actual issues and controversies surrounding modern social media. That is to say, they lightly brush upon topics like misrepresentation (i.e. “Catfishing”), identity theft, toxic fanboy culture, misuse of personal data, and simply spending too much time online. But ultimately it’s just a story about a bunch of Stand By Me Goonies fighting a giant evil corporation.

It’s funny because he lives in “The Stacks”.:smiley: