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Excelling at Chess
Jacob Aagaard
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide
William E. Blundell

Ready Player One

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline This is essentially a YA science fiction novel that -- due to all the 80s pop-culture references -- will sell like crazy to the 40-50 year-olds who lived through the 80s.Ka-ching.It's a fun read, but for my tastes, a little too soft around the edges (the YA influence).After all, we've got a handful of plucky, self-conscious teener orphans saving the world from an omnipotent corporate bad guy, complete with breathless "I don't care what you look like" teenage declarations of love.And yes, there's an out-of-nowhere good guy who makes it possible for our plucky band to win.Don't get me wrong; I liked Ready Player One's generally fast-moving plot, but never escaped the feeling its teen-friendly characters and plot -- and the raft of often-perfunctory 80s pop references -- were... calculated.This is a generally post-energy, post-apocalyptic landscape with most of the grit removed, and I'm tempted to give it four stars because it's fun and for all the 80s pop references, I just couldn't quite do it.