I love narrating audiobooks, because it gives me a rare opportunity to combine my love of reading with my love of performing into something that hopefully entertains people, and gets the Bursar at Ryan's college off my back for another month.
I did a few when I was much younger (Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and and Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers), then nothing for about ten years, when I did an audio version of Just A Geek, and then The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I guess someone liked the stuff I'd done recently, because I was invited to perform a story in METAtropolis: Cascadia, and that led to doing a bunch of books for Scalzi, which eventually led to the point of this post: Ernie Cline's upcoming book, Ready Player One.
I first discovered Ernie's work about ten years ago, when I heard him performing his sensational spoken word piece When I Was A Kid. I loved it so much, I submitted it to Fark, where it was greenlit, resulting in fives of album sales for Ernie (You're welcome, Ernie).
Years went by. Ernie wrote Fanboys. I wrote some books, too. Then, on a magical, unicorn-filled day earlier this year, my manager called and said I'd been asked to perform a new book called Ready Player One, by an author named Ernest Cline. I didn't even need to know what it was about; I knew it would be rad because Ernie wrote it, so I said yes right away. I had an incredibly good time reading it, marvelling every day that I was getting paid to read and perform a book that I loved. I counted down the days until August 16th, because that's when it would finally be released.
Knock Knock, Motherfucker: tomorrow's August 16th, and Ready Player One comes out in both print and audio editions. You can hear a sample of me doing my thing right now, though, because that's how we do things around here.
Ready Player One was in the New York Times this weekend, and I urge anyone who is on the fence about the book to go read it. Here, I'll make it easy and all linky.
Seriously? You're still here? Fine. Here's a taste:
With its Pac-Man-style cover graphics and vintage Atari mind-set “Ready Player One” certainly looks like a genre item. But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative. He sets it in 2044, when there aren’t many original Duran Duran fans still afoot, and most students of 1980s trivia are zealous kids. They are interested in that time period because a billionaire inventor, James Halliday, died and left behind a mischievous legacy. Whoever first cracks Halliday’s series of ’80s-related riddles, clues and puzzles that are included in a film called “Anorak’s Invitation” will inherit his fortune.
The world Ernie created for Ready Player One will blow your mind, and alternately make you wish you could live there, while being really glad that you don't. You'll want to meet the characters, and challenge them to a game of Galaxian (though they'll probably kick your ass. Damn kids in the future, I swear to god.)
It's already been bought by Warner Brothers, and will eventually be a film. I'm doing my best to call dibs on playing Halliday, but even if that doesn't work out, at least I got to play Wade in the audio version. Which you should totally go buy, because it is awesome.