A full discussion thread on this book, including my own commentary, can be found on the GoodReads She-Geeks group http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1285073-ready-player-one-discussion-april-read#comment_72158537
Some of my commentaries from that discussion are as follows:
I, as an 80's fan, am absolutely loving and grinning at single reference. When Wade stated his OASIS password-phase "You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xue and the Ko-Dan Armada" I actually whooped! out loud. The Last Star Fighter was one of my favorite movies as a kid and one of the things that sparked my love for science fiction.
I am also loving the use of the VR as the escapism point from the grim reality around them. This has become an escape tool used today with games such as Second Life, Eve, and other MMOs like WoW and a hundred others. Wade is just about to log in to "school". I wonder how long before our own school system is supplemented or replaced with VR simulations.
At 7%: I am wondering if we might be being too critical of the over explanation, but without knowing his intended audience, it's hard to judge. Some readers might not ever catch the Grail reference unless it is explained, same for the 80s references. Some people may never have seen an episode of Family Ties. I'm still just scratching the surface of this book, so the explanations and info dumps may get worse. So far, I don't find them as an issue. I will admit that my love for 80s pop culture might make me a little biased towards liking this book.
At 16% in: I started to catch what some people were reading as info dumps and over-explanations. There seems to be two writing styles merging within this book. One being a descriptive tale of Wade's experience, but the other is a journalistic, almost historian, approach, as if you the reader are someone in the future who is reading Wade's autobiography about his search for for the egg. In a historical / autobiographical take, the explanations and info dumps could be expected, as his voice is speaking to someone who is not from our time period or even his time period, but someone even further in the future who may have no clue what any of the 80s references are, what a desktop computer or MMO was, etc.
That's what I am getting out of it at least, and when you approach the book as more of an autobiography intended for a reader from beyond 2044, then it becomes a less questionable or tedious read.
By 80%: The book is full of reflective commentary once you dive past the 80s pop culture references. This includes two points I found interesting:
1. The idea that the virtual world OASIS had become such a replacement existence for the real world that the real world had fallen into decline. The decline of the real world is blamed on OASIS by Ogden, while others would argue that OASIS was merely an escape for the declining real world, which would have been declining regardless. Is the escape of OASIS responsible for the decline, or responsible for the decline's perpetuation? Can you see this as a possible future for our own society?
2. I just reached the part where Aech (H)'s real identity is revealed as a HUGESPOILER african american woman, 20
who states that the OASIS society that developed where most jobs were now virtual behind false avatars was of great benefit because it helped to remove racial and sexist barriers in the working world and society. Anyone could now put on an avatar as an average white male, no mater their real nationality or sex. Aech mentions the immediately noticeable difference and effect on the treatment received to the white male avatar chosen. I thought this was an interesting aspect to include in the book that certainly gives you some food for thought.
Overall, I see this book as becoming a social commentary time capsule, a book that I can see becoming required reading in English classes along side Huxley, Atwood, and Fitzgerald. Though there are some rough spots in the book as far as editing, story (some of the points at the end seems almost too easy for Wade's progression) and composition, overall this book has a great deal to offer and was such a "totally awesome" read for me that both took me back to an era that I loved and provided a glimpse into our possible future.