Right now, my excitement for Ready Player One is brushing up against the weakness of the source material. Ernest Cline’s novel has a great structure and a solid concept—a guy enters a virtual reality space where he goes on a quest to discover three keys that will give him ownership of the entire virtual reality—but it’s so drenched in nostalgia that it struggles to breathe. There are multiple points where you just stop reading, roll your eyes, and say out loud to no one in particular, “Yes, I too like 80s pop culture.”
Nevertheless, the book has been a bestseller with Steven Spielberg adapting it, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Cline is working on a sequel. During a Facebook Q&A for the film [via The Verge], Cline revealed that he’s started work on a follow-up:
“It’s true. I can’t talk about it too much, but there’s no better inspiration for a writer [than] to return to a world they’ve already worked on when they’re watching Steven Spielberg bring that world to life.”
Cline added that he had bounced some ideas off of Spielberg, but didn’t provide any specifics about what the sequel would entail.
The crazy thing about this is even though I’m not a huge fan of Cline’s first book (I didn’t read his follow-up, Armada), I would be willing to return to the world of Ready Player One just like I’m eager to see the movie because I think there’s a way to do this concept right and provide a comment on our obsession with nostalgia and pop culture, but it requires some level of criticism and understanding the balance between appreciation and obsession. I don’t know if Cline has the skill to do that, but hopefully he’s grown as a writer and that Spielberg provided some good guidance.
Ready Player One opens March 30, 2018.