After the success that was Ready Player One, Ernest Cline moved on to continuing to write in that same vein but on a slightly different level.
I want to start off by saying that Ready Player One and Armada (which I am in the middle of reading) are well made books. Their writing is solid and their content is interesting, but I wanted to look a little bit into the trend that is coming out of this that may be on the rise.
Ready Player One took place in a not-so-distant world where virtual reality had taken over the world and that it was essentially the world that most everyone lived in. Real life was less glamorous. Even jobs and schooling could be done through the game.
Armada is similar in several respects. Virtual ready displays are brought up in the book as well and the idea of a secondary life underneath the one that we live is incredibly important to both stories.
But why are these subjects easy for us to read and get interested in?
Well, it’s the climate that we’re living in right now. I don’t mean to get preachy when I say that many of us live double lives. I actually am fascinated by the way that life is split between real life interactions and the virtual space in which we operate.
While we are closer to Armada than Ready Player One, I feel that it would be safe to say that Ready Player One really captures a better image of the mental space that many of us are working in. Our lives exist on the network instead of outside of us.
Some people will disagree and tell me about how little time they spend on their devices. Good for those people. I applaud their disconnect from technology. But technology is neither good nor bad.
The technology allows us to do what we need to do. There are so many things that we wouldn’t be able to do if it wasn’t for technology. Ready Player One pokes into the world that I wonder if we’ll create in the years to come, while Armada looks at a science fiction look at the world we live in right now.
Both books are absolutely fantastic, especially if you’re interested in thinking about how our world shapes our perceptions of life. Technology, video games, dual realities; it’s all there. With the rising popularity of Ernest Cline’s work and humanity’s fascination with technology, I would expect so many more books about the double lives that some of us live.