Friday, June 5, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Books That Hooked Me (Part 10)


The final entry in my ten books that have had a massive impact on me, and another one I came to rather late. I know lots of people who had read and loved Ready Player One but it wasn't until the film came out that I felt the need to satisfy my curiosity.

It was a weird one - there was that awful marketing campaign with the poster with Wade's leg being ridiculously long, and the 80's movie tie-in posters that were parodies of things like Back to the Future and The Lost Boys, but echoing at the back of my head was the constant voice saying "didn't people I know love this book?"

I was curious, but was no longer working in the book industry so I did what anyone did and I got the free sample 20-odd pages as a download on iBooks, just so I could check out the style and whether I'd like it.

It was great, but there was something weirdly familiar about it.

The film came out, and it was just as the local cinemas were having this realisation that attendance was down - no one wanted to pay £15-20 a ticket, and in order to get bums on seats they dropped all their prices to £5. Debs was at work, and I had a day off, so I paid my £5 and saw it one afternoon shortly after it came out.

I really enjoyed it. Far more than I thought I would. So much so, I told Debs about it and we went to see it together the following week.

The movie came out just before my birthday, and Debs always struggles to think of what to get me - and I really don't want or need anything. But that year I asked her to get the me book so I could finish reading beyond the sample, and see how it differed from the movie.

Didn't take long to finish the book, really enjoyed it (though I could see The Shining sequence working better for the movie than the repeating the whole of Wargames line for line...

But the thing that really stood out was the writing. Over the years, I've read so many books that have inspired me to write, and a few that have really heavily influenced my style. I mentioned my write like Chuck Palahniuk phase, that followed my write like Stephen King phase. But when I finally started writing for myself, especially for the NaNoWriMo novel I did, and the start of its sequel, I felt I stopped trying to sound like other writers and just be me... and that's what Ready Player One sounded like in my head as I read it.

It read like something I would write. Not just for its obsession with the 80s, but the language just felt like someone (Ernest Cline) was tapping into the way I thought and wrote. Really weird...

I read Armada, his follow-up book which is heavily influenced by the classic 80's movie The Last Starfighter. Probably owes as much to that movie as Ready Player One owes to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tron.

But if anyone wants to know what my fiction writing style is, without actually reading any of my work, just check out Ready Player One and you'll get a good idea. It's quite uncanny.

That's it. Final blogpost about media for a bit. The dayjob looms ever closer, as the lockdown is easing (far too early if you ask me).

I'll post as often as I can, but until the next time, stay safe and look after each other.

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