Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One takes place in 2045, when environmental disasters and fossil fuel shortages have triggered widespread economic hardships but technological advancements offer an escape to a better life in a virtual world called the OASIS, where limits of reality are your own imagination. The book’s plot follows what happens after the OASIS’ creator dies and announces a contest designed to find a worthy heir to take over control of the virtual world and inherit his fortune.
"I’ve been shocked at the speed with which VR technology is advancing. It all appears to be happening much faster than I predicted in my novel."
The novel has become a global phenomenon, published in 58 countries and in 37 languages and selling millions of copies. It has spent roughly 100 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and is currently #4 on the Amazon Most Read list (next to Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling).
The film adaptation of Ready Player One, co-written by Cline, was directed by Steven Spielberg and will be released in theaters worldwide on March 29, coincidentally Cline's birthday. SXSW 2018 attendees will get an early look inside the film during special activations and events. The presence at SXSW is especially fitting because Cline not only lives in Austin, he also first met his now manager/producer Dan Farah (who produced Ready Player One, alongside Spielberg, Donald De Line, and Kristie Macosko Krieger) at a SXSW party in 2006, kicking off a collaboration and friendship that lead to Ready Player One and more.