Review: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

(⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 3/5 stars)

Ready Player One….
Welcome to the OASIS… Or should I said The Matrix or Room 13 or Second Life or World of Warcraft in the future. So yes, you guys get the idea. This is a story about a future society that lives online (At least the majority) in a virtual reality world called The Oasis. The author is Ernest Cline and he has another book called Armada (similar stuff). 
It follows the story of Wade, a 18 year old dude that even study in the Oasis and it is obsessed with 80´s pop culture (As everyone else) in the 2040´s. Wade is a Gunter, part of a massive group that spend every little single second outside of school looking to play the ultimate game: a quest all over The Oasis to find an egg the founder of this virtual reality (An 80´s geek called Halladay) put somewhere – the winner will take billions of dollars and the control of the Oasis. 
It is said that Steven Spielberg is looking forward to do a Film about this book. That could mean really good news (Jaws) or not so good ones (A.I). If it´s true, it won’t happen for a while know. I think it´s the future´s Elder Scroll (ehww).
I´m a 90`s kid: so you should take this review with a pinch of salt.. I you lived the 80´s in your prime or if you are obsess with the decade, especially if you play D&D and all kind of classic video-games, please go ahead and read this book – you will have a blast! For the rest of us, let´s see how this unfolds: 
THIS is the place where you STOP if haven’t read the book, because I can get some SPOILERS over the lines!
Things that I liked about RP1:

✔︎ It was fun. For sure, light and fast reading that will entertain you. It does not matter if you do not get every little reference. The story unfolds quite fast and everything happens in a straight fashion. There is some romance, but mainly adventure and action.

✔︎ 80’s pop culture. It is amusing. Pacman, D&D, everything  Matthew Broderick did, War Games and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Plus, the song about The Piña Colada (who would love that! c´mon!). There is a first plane where the 80´s references habit and all makes for a great background.

✔︎ The futuristic failed society is a great one. I think there is a nice message there: we, as a society, think we are facing huge perils in the near future because of recent global financial problems and global warming. If things follow the path news portrayed the world everyday it looks like we will, sooner or later, reach a point of extreme depression. I loved the “real world” where Wade and everyone else lives in – a group of trailer stacked one over the other (20-30 high) in order to create an improvise building – fascinating background. It is that world of depression. 

✔︎ The idea of avatars as a mean to do things you would not do in real life…. But wait, what it´s real life? (Is this the real world, or is just fantasy… you can go on in your head). This is a thing we already see all over the internet, please visit the comment section in youtube or any sub-reddit and you will find human nature without any restraint. It is a nice touch and theme present in the book. There is some gender issues and people looking for themselves. 

✔︎ The research: astonishing the amount of detail – particularly with the 80`s references.

Things that I did not liked about RP1:

✘ It was fun. But it wasn’t good. At least was not perfectly written, too much flaws and predictable outcomes. Do not get me wrong, this is a fun book, but it is not as intelligent as it could be. I did had a good time, it was not cerebrally challenging – think Elder Scroll and not Dune/Foundation. 

✘ 80’s pop culture. Too much for me. Again, if you lived the decade and loved it, no problem. But do we really have to listen to every single obscure little easter egg about the 80`s. I know that you are thinking: but Andrew, isn´t that the main reason of the book. Well, yes; and it does add some nice texture to everything in the story; but I do not think the 80´s was as memorable as Ernest Cline thinks it is…. 90`s kid here, I told you.

✘ It’s full of laughable impossibilities: like a 18 year old having seen every episode of every 80s TV show somehow, and being an expert in Pacman and a great player of Joust, Tempest, and the 1000’s of other games that you think may be important in the quest including knowing the script of every movie and all Japanese anime references… too much. I understand that he is obsesses over all of this, but there is no time to know all that in a life time. Sorry.

✘ Finally, towards the end of the book I did not fear for one second for Wade and his friends. He seemed to experience almost no actual barriers to success and the bad guys were very incompetent (a Google like multi-billion enterprise) vs a bunch of 18 year olds. Aha, not believable and too easy for our heroes. 

This a 3/5 for me. A good read for a casual reader and a great read for a 80`s kids. Overall: good nice book. You can pass on it if you are not intrigued. 
As always… thanks for reading.


Review: The Martian – Andy Weir

(★★★★ – 4 of 5 stars)

Hey guys!!!

Since I’ve been a lazy girl lately and I’m still vacation’s mode on, my pal Andrew has tagged along and wrote an amazing review on The Martian of Andy Weir – You should definitely read this before the movie comes to air this year!!!!

Hope you enjoy Andrew’s remarks as much as I did! 😉

Trish ❥

Hello Guys, happy to share some thoughts about The Martian and to be here with you all…. (Trish is amazing, isn´t she??).

Let´s GOOOO!

The Martian is a fast-pace, multiple-perspective book about Mark Watney, an astronaut visiting mars in a 6-man mission when a wind-storm leave him stranded on the red planet all alone on the 6th sol (day) of the mission. How cool for a start is that? Cool set-up uh? Nevertheless, is a page turner that will grab your attention and will not leave you until the very last word.

The author, Andy Weir wrote this book and self-publish it. So extra points for that….

I felt inspired during the book, I have to admit. Inspired about the possibilities beyond our planet, daydreaming about what we will achieve in the next decades. I felt for a while like how people should had felt in the 60´s during the space program and the cold war. Why did we stop going further and further into space after the moon ¿? – hopefully the space program will go further in the incoming years (I´m looking at you SpaceX). Mind that while I was reading, the New Horizons space probe was reaching Pluto and Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra (Pluto´s moons). So yes, I´m a astronomical nerd! So I have reasons to enjoy this book… because you know, reason!

Soooo, back to The Martian. The books works! Works so well that a movie is in development with Ridley Scott (Yes! Aliens Scott) behind the cameras and Matt Damon (That´s ok, I would love to see Sam Rockwell – did you saw MOON – WHOA!) as Mark Watney: Please Hollywood, do not screw this one…

Before taking this book into your hands you have to know that this is not your typical book with a narrator where you see everything through his/her eyes. This is a survival log and a book about an engineer, so things are described to us like an engineer would: I know, sound boring! But is not, Watney have a funny and light personality and makes you to root for him since the start.

There is a huge amount of attention to detail on the Science (highly appreciated), and only some deliberate inaccuracy that the author admitted, of course, all for dramatic purposes. So, the drama is there, but also a great deal of science, surviving and jokes. Highly recommended.

So – let’s get a little more technical.

THIS is the place where you STOP if haven’t read the book, because I can get some SPOILERS over the lines!

Things that I liked about The Martian ✔︎:

1)   The potatoes! Hahaha – I mean, the fact that Watney managed to create a crop inside the hab was so cool. Is just an example of how well Weir did his research, a fact that help us to trust Watney and to believe he have the capacity to do the MacGyverish things he does. It is fun to see how he creates water or how he reach Sol 459 doing problem solving constantly. According to some reddittors most of the terminology and math and stuff was spot on, so I will take their word for it (and so you should to, everything in the internet is true wink-wink).

2)   The multiple-perspective. Since not only Watney is present through his logs but also Venkat Kapoor and all the crew of the Hermes. It gives you a more whole picture of the story and makes you root even more for the success of the mission.

3)   Addictiveness. From page 1 until the last word I wanted to know what´s next. It is a typical page turner and that is AWESOME! Who does not like that…. I mean, it is the main reason we (most of us) read.

4)   Watney itself. The character is somewhat flat, I will talk about that later. However I adored reading about a character in a shit situation who is looking at the positives, not the negatives: “He must be so lonely up there, I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”
“Why can Aquaman talk to whales?” 🙂

5)   The struggle within NASA. That´s how the world function in my opinion. At least it is how my day job function, a constant struggle to make things happen, difficulty after difficulty that people have to sort out in order to achieve an objective.

6)   Duct Tape… because uhmm. Duct Tape! 

Things that I did not liked about The Martian :

A)   No arc or development for the characters. Watney, Kapoor, the crew of the Hermes and everyone else stayed the same even thou some time passed (more than a year and a half). So you are telling me that I´m stranded with no human contact for a long period of time and I´m not going a bit insane…? Maybe not physics but some psychology is missing.

B)   It’s no literature masterpiece. And I’m being unfair here. We cannot expect every book to be the best book ever.

C)   Some of the dialogues are way-out there. I cannot image people in JPL talking like a robot or like being in Apollo 13 movie-set. I was too grandiose for my taste.

So yes! This a 4/5 for me. A good read for a casual reader and a great read for a geek (if you are not one of those that looks for every mistake and complaints about everything). Overall: awesome book.

If you want to ask something to the author or say anything about the book, you can do it through the Reddit IAMA – Here’s the direct link to it:

So, just to close it up an inspirational quote… (Cheesy right?). 
Anyhow, Randall Munroe, the former NASA roboticist and Cartoonist once said:

The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there’s no good reason to go into space – each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.”

As always… thanks for reading.