One of the hottest science fiction novels of the past year is Ernest Cline’s rowdy and richlydetailed virtual reality quest novel, Ready Player One. I think part of the reason for this book’s enthusiastic buzz is that it’s tailor made for science fiction and fantasy nerds of all stripes. The novel is chock full of droll and often esoteric pop culture references covering everything from arcade games to Prog Rock to RPGs. If you liked this book, which I’m sure you did, you should give these two great read alikes a try!
For the Win by Cory Doctorow
A great read alike for Ready Player One not only for its fun tech jargon, but also the amount of heart it manages to pack into such an action-packed story. Not so heavy on the 80s pop culture as Cline’s book, but an interesting premise involving virtual reality and the lives of the poor whose lives are worth little more than entertainment. It’s a fast-paced suspense novel disguised as science fiction with no shortage of mind-expanding ideas.
Split Infinity by Piers Anthony
Wonderfully wild—or wildly weird? Anyway you slice it, Anthony’s unique Apprentice Adept series that begins with this book provides the action-driven plot and gonzo quests that characterized Ready Player One in spades. Two parallel worlds, one ruled by magic and the other by science, are at the heart of the story as our Flash Gordon-like protagonist Stile is on the run from enemies on both planets. It’s upbeat and clever with an interesting ethical twist towards the end.