(Planet Me)
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Ready Player One, Ernst Cline

This guys knows his kill screens. If technology permitted, it's very likely that he - like many of us - would have a USB port fitted in a chestplate hooked up by WiFi. The future is where we're spending the rest of our lives. The Internet is how we communicate. Relaity is so real, and so vastly underwhelming. And, Cline takes to it with the summation of thousands of years of human evolution that is so.... Airwolf.

Melding a cromulent embiggening of language with fluent geekspeak, every word of this speaks the code of Basic, the rendering of the sprite, the language of the total pop culture Whovian. This - computers, internet, video games, Tv shows and memes, are where Cline clearly lives. This is utter nerdgasm. RP1 meanwhile, offers the possibility that, in our own lives, who we really are, is the person who we make for ourselves. Our virtual avatars, being extensions of our own reality, the self made men. And what is not the biggest game of all than our own lives? Where we create versions of ourselves that live online are merely our own representations of who we want to be, or who we are, or the middle ground between the two? And RP1 takes this idea, and makes it so much more than that - Wade Watts is not only an avatar for us, but also an avatar for himself, and as the tale moves, evolves, and concludes in a transparent and versed geek language, Cline deftly emigrates from the man who wrote the dreadful "Fanboys" to the reforged, new and improved Death Star II of his own mind. From Padawan to Jedi Master. What this novel does show clearly is firstly, you have to be well versed in the Nerdgasmic world of pop culture to get everything, and secondly, Cline is so utterly Airwolf that a new, and promising voice, has moved from comic to writer. Thankfully, Cline would rather join the cast of Battlestar Galactica 1980 than make a musical with Queen, so the future is still so bright, he gotta wear shades. Well, in the world of the Oasis anyone. One to watch. Continue? Insert more coins.

The idea of avatars as an extension of our realities, a new way of being "self made," and what they mean for us online and off, captured my interest. I especially like the new definition applied to "self made." I had never thought about it in those terms before, but by its very essence, it's true. It's something I'm sure to think more about.

The disparity between who we are online vs. off has long been a topic of interest in psychology. Attaching the concept of the avatar and of our lives being a game made me think: when I walk out the door and put my game face on for the world, isn't that my avatar as much as any I create virtually? As you say in your post, which is real? Or is it a combination of both? I tend to think the latter. Who I am in RL is no less real than who I am online, and vice versa. These are just aspects of who I am, and who I want to be. They are each pieces, but probably not the whole.

Sorry, rambling now. I've thought about this stuff before, but there was something in the wording of your post that triggered me to pay a little more attention.
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