In a world shaken by pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of dead from a preventable failure of governments around the globe, much of humankind is searching for glimmers of hope in the United States’ electoral politics. Any modicum of bad news – whether it is a bad poll result or vain, Dunning-Kruegered rappers launching attention grabs disguised as presidential campaigns – is enough to set an enormous chunk of humankind into hair-shedding jitters. Hope is about the only thing sustaining many of us through these dark days.
You will find no hope here.
Ernest Cline, nostalgia peddler and author of books like Armada and Ready Player One has announced a follow up to his hit first novel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ready Player Two will be released this November.
Ready Player One asked readers tough questions, like “do you remember Zork?” and “wasn’t Thundercats cool?” It followed Wade Watts as he sat in front of a multiplayer online video game all day trying to earn meaningless currency while the world burned outside his stacked modular home. When the eccentric billionaire who created the game died, it triggered a quest within the game to see who would win his candy factory…I mean who would win his fortune. The book spent almost two years on the New York Times bestseller list.
Shockingly, the film adaptation wasn’t a documentary. That movie went on to gross more than $500 million at the box office, registering Spielberg’s biggest hit since Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Every part of this has been excruciating to write.
Cline’s follow up novel, Armada, posed an interesting question: what if Ernie Cline was in The Last Starfighter? Cline eloquently summarized his approach to writing in an earlier interview with THR, where he said the biggest challenge in writing this sequel would be following up on the book, and not Spielberg’s adaptation. Cline doesn’t so much write as he does cobble together things he used to like in the hopes of triggering vacuous, collective nostalgia not as scene setting, but in place of character development or motivations, so perhaps this isn’t as big a challenge as he might think.