Five Books Similar To Ready Player One

Five Books Similar To Ready Player One

Ernest Cline wasn't the first author to explore the concept of virtual reality and what it would mean for society, but by incorporating 1980s pop culture elements in the story he really captured the attention of readers. The 1980s is a really nostalgic period for a lot of people, especially gamers and Cline took full advantage of this in his book. Cline has stated that he is busy writing a sequel, but in the meantime there are a couple of other books with similar themes to tide over fans who were left craving more after finishing Ready Player One. If you are one of those fans, then be sure to check out these five books that are similar to Ready Player One. Not all of them are as packed with pop culture references as Ready Player One, but most share the dystopian setting and prevalence of virtual reality. 


by William Gibson


It is impossible to have any list of books featuring virtual reality without mentioning the father of the cyberpunk genre, William Gibson and his groundbreaking novel, Neuromancer. In this novel, virtual reality is known as the "matrix" which offers an escape from the dystopian world it is set in. The protagonist, Henry Dorsett Case, is unable to access the matrix after he was caught stealing from some shady characters and severely punished for his crime. This leaves him without any hope of employment, but things change when he is offered a cure in exchange for his hacking skills. The offer sounds too good to be true, but Henry has no choice if he wants his old life back. The influence of Neuromancer cannot be overstated and although it was published in 1984, it still holds up well to this day.


by Conor Kostick


Epic follows a similar theme to Ready Player One, with a virtual game called Epic used as the setting for the story. Epic is more than just a game, though, as players not only gain their income from it, but also their social standing. The virtual world of Epic is under the control of Central Allocations, a powerful group of nine individuals who are almost unbeatable. The protagonist of Epic is a boy named Erik Haraldson, who decides to go against the grain and play the game in a manner that is the complete opposite of the grind favored by most players. It is through is unique choices and actions that Erik manages to rise in power within the game and come closer to his goal of taking down the Central Allocations for exiling his parents.

Awaken Online Book 1: Catharsis

by Travis Bagwell


Unlike Ready Player One and other books where virtual reality is already an established part of society, Catharsis opens with a new kind of virtual reality game being released for the first time. This game offers an escape for the protagonist, a teen named Jason, as his life is not going so great. Not only are his parents never at home, but his time at school is made miserable because of constant bullying. Jason has always found games to be an escape from all of this, but nothing he experienced previously can compare to the new virtual reality game. Unfortunately for Jason, his actions seem to be putting him on the path of becoming a villain instead of a hero. 

The Otherland Tetralogy

by Tad Williams


Otherland is a series of four books, City of Golden Shadow, River of Blue Fire, Mountain of Black Glass and Sea of Silver Light, by author Tad Williams. Just like in Ready Player One, virtual reality has become a part of everyday life and enables people to fully immerse themselves in the various virtual worlds. This is done via surgically implanted interfaces, but unfortunately things begin to go wrong and children start falling into deep comas after using virtual reality. This is obviously a cause for great concern, but when a college professor begins investigating the cause, her whole world is turned upside down. The Otherland books feature a great cast of diverse characters, a compelling story and plenty of intrigue, just like Ready Player One.

Rainbows End

by Vernor Vinge

Rainbows end

Rainbows End is a science fiction novel where it is augmented reality that has become the norm for humanity, instead of virtual reality. In the world that Vernor Vinge has created, people make use of smart clothing as well as contact lenses in order to interact with the virtual world that is projected over their real surroundings. The protagonist of Rainbows End is a world renowned poet named Robert Gu. The book opens with Robert who is recovering from Alzheimer's disease thanks to advances that has been made in medical technology. Robert has never liked technology, but must adapt to the new world in which he finds himself. It turns out that his fears are not without reason either as Robert uncovers a sinister conspiracy that involves mind control technology.