To say that I was not a fan of Ready Player One would be a painful understatement. I understand that some people love the book, and I get the argument that it was tailor-made for people like me … but that's only one small reason why it infuriated me to read it.
So naturally, it was the first thing to come to mind when my friend Emily Edwards, host of the Fuckbois of Literature podcast, asked for some new episode ideas. Here's the gist of the podcast in general (in case you missed my previous ripping on Professor X and Cyclops):
The characters of literature other readers exalt, but you hope never to meet. FBOL is the comedy podcast about toxic characters, writers, and tropes of literature and legend.
Join host Emily Edwards to discuss feminist literature, toxic masculinity, gender roles, and intersectional representation in books. These are the Fuckbois of Literature.
Fuckbois of Literature is a podcast available exclusively to Patreon subscribers. For just $1 per month, you can access all of our brand-new episodes.
The blandly toxic neoliberal wankery of Wade from Ready Player One fits this criteria perfectly, and Emily had a great time discussing the books many, many flaws as well as its unique socio-political timing within the context of Gamergate and the rise of all kinds of "The nerds have won" content*. Our 90-minute discussion was so enjoyable that it almost made up for the fact that I wasted precious hours of my life reading the book! Almost.
(As a free bonus: last year I used some GPT-3 AI Neural Networks to re-write Ready Player Two for me, and the results were, uhhh, precisely what you'd expect. Hilarity ensues, etc etc)
Ready Player One [Fuckbois of Literature]
*Full disclosure: my first moderately-successful play, True Believers, which is basically a rom-com set at a comic book convention, had its first public staged reading right around the same time that Ready Player One was released. Some comparisons were inevitable — but as I discuss in the podcast, there's a difference between Nerdy Easter Eggs For The Sake Of Nerdy Easter Eggs, and Having Characters Organically Discuss Nerdy Because They Like That Stuff But Have Interior Lives and Desires That Go Beyond Shallow Easter Eggs.