4. Ready Player One
Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One was in a bidding war for the film rights a year before the novel was published. It’s that damn good.
Set in 2044 and the crusty real world shunned in favour of a virtual reality MMO world called OASIS, the novel follows teenager Wade Watts. A dedicated gamer who spends the majority of his time plugged into OASIS, Watts embarks on a multilevel quest to discover the biggest Easter egg of all time, hidden inside the simulation by its deceased designer James Halliday.
The novel is crammed full of pop culture references from the 1980s and early 1990s from video games, music, novels, movies and TV shows all of which stomp their presence into the book and all over the notion of intellectual property. Which ones will find their way into the final product could depend entirely upon this contemporary issue.
As the story’s dystopia is reliant on as-yet-uninvented technology, there’s massive scope for the production designers to craft entire worlds and the methods via which they will be represented onscreen. The novel is a massive love letter to very-well-spent youth playing video games, watching the same movies over and over and falling in love with the details. It’s the heart of the story which has romantic echoes of early John Hughes and Cameron Crowe movies.
Warner Bros, who won the rights in the bid battle, have sent Ernie Cline’s original script to Eric Eason for a rewrite so for now, Ready Player One remains in pre-production.
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