First of all, I really liked the movie and adored the book. Both are basically a journey in the OASIS which is a virtual reality build by Halliday. The story starts when Halliday dies and having no descendants he starts a huge hunt for his heritage.
Everybody can join and try to succeed but the quests waiting for the candidates are difficult and put them right into the mind and personal world of Halliday. They have to really know him, have to be outstanding good video game players and their heart should be in the right place ;).
Generally, the author Ernest Cline draws an unpleasant picture of the future. People flee into the virtual world OASIS where everything is possible. Additionally, you are able to deny all the real world problems that destroyed the economy and make people sick.
The chase for Halliday’s heritage (and with it all the rights for the OASIS) shows the social differences and tensions: A huge company IOI fights right at the forefront by sometimes unfair methods. Fortunately, five brave gunters (egg-hunters): the main character Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, Daito and Sho stand in their way.
Either way by reading the book or using the less time-consuming medium – watching the movie – I would definitely recommend diving into the OASIS 😉
A few thoughts
I think besides consisting of more detailed information, books make things appear more real. For me understanding the intentions of the characters is quite essential: The most obvious example is the autism of Hallway which forces him to step out of the real world and create a virtual prison. This was described in the book way better than in the movie. This is probably due to the fact that it is about a quite subtle characteristic which is difficult to present in movies.
In my opinion, there is no need to put the whole story in a beautiful cocoon with handsome actors and “easy” games like car races. I had the feeling that the movie did exactly this: Making the content available and enjoyable for a much wider audience by simplifying some things. However, I am convinced that people can be provoked into thinking and accepting imperfect things.
I am often confronted with the ideology of technicians that everything is possible and that is, in fact, one aspect I adore on my job. The book also represents this view and this is also the biggest drawback of the movie.
All this freedom you have in a completely virtual world that is a really BIG thing. This creates an enormous amount of possibilities to act or create. When it comes to me I think the movie puts a curtain over the window in this other world and the book is definitely the preferred tool to reveal and inspire.
Obviously, the movie is way easier to understand and follow, but you miss out getting fully thrown into Halliday’s world if you do not read the book. Although I didn’t recognize all the games, movies or music the book dealt with I got the feeling to get to know Halliday extremely well.
But I am also convinced that if you have nothing to do with the gaming or computer world at all it might be quite difficult to follow and reading might evolve into working through the book. In these cases, the movie would probably the better choice to get into it, fall in love with the story and characters in the first place.
Technology and IT gains more and more presence in our minds. I see this as a quite fortunate and necessary development of society. In my opinion movies over all the other media is a mirror of what people cope with on a daily basis. This is the reason why such books, movies … this media is so important for us.
Not knowing or understanding things can become very dangerous when it affects the daily life of people. I am convinced that people know way too little about the world that takes place on their computers. If you try to force people to get to know computers in a playful manner it can cause a quite positive development.
However, that is a very generalized view of things. You can also get much of the book if you start thinking what kind of virtual reality or scavenger hunt would stay if you leave this world.
Which things would remain from you? Which kind of characters would your followers meet? I think it is a funny mind game 😀
I personally would probably sit in a castle with my personal security officer Shrek, making weird experiments in the basement with Rick and when I am getting hungry the Belcher family would provide me with the new burger of the day :D. Awww, and cats – there would be lots of virtual kitties running around!