I’m so thrilled to have Ernest Cline on the blog today! Ernest is the author of one of my recent faves, Ready Player One. I’ve also got one copy up for grabs, so please see details at the end of the post!
Please welcome Ernest to the blog!
The bio on your website is absolutely hilarious! Since “geeking out” indeed seems to be your favorite thing to do, what would you say is the most geeky thing you’ve ever done?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. Writing Ready Player One is definitely one of the geekiest things I’ve ever done. But I may have topped that by buying a DeLorean and then converting it into a Time Traveling Ghostbusting Knight Riding Jet Car. That might be the geekiest thing anyone has ever done, in all of human history.
You’ve worked at many different jobs, written a movie (Fanboys), written a sequel to Buckaroo Banzai (one of my fave movies of all time), and now finally, a novel, Ready Player One. What made you decide to set the novel in the near future, as opposed to present day?
I grew up reading Science Fiction and always wanted to try my hand at the genre. I’m also fascinated by technology, virtual reality, and the future of the Internet, and by telling my story in the near future, it allowed me to explore all of those elements. I also had a lot of fun imagining how video games will evolve over the next three or four decades.
I have to assume Wade Watts is based on you just a teeny, teeny bit, yes (no sarcasm here)?
Actually, Wade is sort of an amalgam of every uber geek I’ve ever known, including myself. I think I’m actually a little more like Halliday than Wade, since Halliday and I are of the same generation and share a lot of the same interests (and obsessions). But I do have a few things in common with Wade, too. We both spent part of our childhood living in a trailer park. And we’re both huge geeks. But Wade’s childhood is much more grim and joyless than mine was back in the 80s. Wade is also a lot better at playing video games than I’ve ever been. I love them, but I also kinda suck at a lot of them.
I read that Ready Player One will be made into a film! Are you allowed to speculate on who might be cast, or tell me who you might pick for the cast?
They haven’t started casting yet, so I have no idea! And the writer doesn’t have very much input on the subject. But I’d love for the younger characters to all be played by unknown actors. And for the adult characters like Sorrento, Halliday, and Morrow, I’d love to see actors with some 80s cache in one of those roles. John Cusack. Matthew Broderick. Anthony Michael Hall. They’re all still fantastic actors, and I think they’d bring another level of pop culture resonance to those roles.
Ready Player One is set in such an elaborate, richly imagined world. How much fun was it to research? I bet you know more about the 80s then you ever thought possible…
Actually, I really didn’t have to do a lot of research. I loved through the 80s, and I’ve been nostalgic for them ever since. My head was already filled with obscure 80s pop culture trivia when I started working on the book. That’s one of the things that inspired me to write it.
What’s one of your favorite memories from the 80s?
That was a very formative decade for me, and all of my teenage memories took place in the 80s. Most of my favorite memories from that time center around growing up in my tiny hometown, hanging out in video arcades, going to the movies, and playing lots and lots of tabletop role-playing games. Someday soon, I’d love to make a small indie coming-of-age movie set in the last 80s, so that I can immortalize all of my great memories from that time. The 80s were the dawn of geek culture.
How about favorite 80s song or band?
I was wild about Van Halen and Rush back then, before I got into Oingo Boingo, R.E.M., They Might Be Giants, and the Replacements. But I love all sorts of music from that decade.
Do you have a favorite quote from Buckaroo Banzai?
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.”
Quick, name something or someone that makes you laugh out loud!
You MUST tell us more about that DeLorean…
It’s awesome. And I built a website for it that will tell you more that you could ever possibly want to know. www.ecto88.com . I’m driving it across the country on my book tour starting next week!
Is there any other news you’d like to share, or anything else you’d like to add?
“History is made at night! Character is what you are in the dark!”
(Sorry. Now I can’t stop quoting Buckaroo Banzai.)
1.Giveaway is for one copy of Ready Player One to one winner.
2.To enter, leave a comment with your email address (if I have no way to contact you, I’ll pick another winner)
3.Following the blog isn’t required but it’s GREATLY appreciated!
4.Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses ONLY
5.Giveaway ENDS 9/2/11!
6.Giveaway book provided by Crown.
About the book:
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?