Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday Book (and Movie) Recommendations (April 12)

This Week's Read

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: so there's this anecdote about Scooby-Doo where other animators from the time period complain "why didn't my crappy kids cartoon become a cultural icon and this one did?" 

Because it did. Because Zeitgeist. Because I watched Scooby-Doo and Jabberjaw and Speed Buggy and all the rest of them and somehow Scooby-Doo is indefinably slightly better. Because suck up and deal. This is kind of what it's like reading the "Daring" "Contrarian" one-start reviews all one after another on Goodreads. Seeing one person brag that they originally gave it a 5 start review that they reversed to one star after reading Armada and realizing that Klein was a "one trick pony" in terms of his authorial voice is just the cherry on top of the social media trend chasing sundae. In the course of a decade the book went from beloved to derided because enough people on line decided they could get more engagement attacking it. 

Now, I'm not going to say that RPO is a great book. It's not - it's an early century B list book that somehow hit at just the right time with just the right marketing for people with a lot of talent invest in a film version of it. It's the Julie & Julia of the SF market. But what it is a damn engaging, quick read, laser targeted at Gen-Xers that clearly deeply loves the trivia it's tossing at you while still taking it, and the obsession of it, to task. 

There isn't a moment outside the OASIS where Wade isn't commenting on how the world was falling apart just because everyone decided it was too much effort to give a shit any more, where everyone had run away into an artificial reality, and ownership of that might be the last resource to stop the world from falling apart if you could stop it from falling completely under corporate control. There's no where left to run to. But the creators of this place are either forcing you to relive their childhoods in a fantasy realm OASIS, or built a fantasy realm retreat for themselves in the real world. They could change things, but its too much fun watching people play the game. Memorizing the trivia. Making it "matter". While as Wade keeps commenting, the world is imploding and saving it requires playing a perfect game of Joust. It's absurd, and Wade's voice make it clear that Cline knows it's absurd. 

I read it when it came out and enjoyed it for the B list fun it was - it's got just about as much heft as Starter Villain even if it's targeting different villains and audiences -  and the reread basically confirmed this. I did reread this after Netflix kicked the movie at me, but that's not what I'm recommending (it was... meh?) 

Godzilla X Kong from Legendary Pictures: Took the older kiddo, loved it. It's pure unadulterated B movie cheese. If you like the other Mosterverse films, you'll like this one. Again, it's not art, but it was a wonderful father/daughter bonding experience and it was just a ton of fun. 

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