Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! Hosts Holly and David made it to see Ready Player One and… they have thoughts. They try their hand at spoiler-lite, which really means trying to keep the book references to a minimum… and then it’s like a full on LitFlix comparing the book and movie. Hope you enjoy!
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Yesterday I wrote a review of Armada by Ernest Cline, the hard to describe alien-invasion book set with a full pop-culture background of alien invasion. Because of all the pop culture references, it’s a difficult story to judge on its own merits. Even worse, as you can see from just about any version of its cover or all over its page on Amazon, this is the second book from the guy who brought us Ready Player One.
So the most obvious comparisons are between Armada and Ready Player One. They are both chock full of nostalgia and pop culture and use all of that to very specific, plot-relevant purpose. I know I at least was left asking which one of these two was better – more on that below!
However, even while I listened to the audio book of Armada, I was finishing up reading Childhood’s End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Though the book itself is not referenced in Armada, Clarke is and they are both absolutely alien invasion stories. So while there’s a lot of pop culture I could compare Armada to, I’m going to go with Childhood’s End because I was reading them at the same time.
And finally, how about a recent comparison? How about Mass Effect? I think there’s some parallels there, although the comparison is back story for Mass Effect, but the whole plot for Armada!
Hopefully between these three I can try to get at a better explanation of what and how Armada is what it is and does what it does. More spoilers than yesterday, so if you’re looking to go light on those, check out that review!
But first, I wanted to write this review, just about the book. Trying, really hard, to just talk about this book. Because just talking about this book is hard – like Cline’s first novel, this one is full of pop culture references and does not exist alone in the universe. It’s also hard in general to talk about this book without spoilers, something I would like to try to do in this review.
Meaning I had to take a step back. Look at the description of the book on Amazon. And think back to how quickly, in the opening pages, some of the initial questions you have about the book are answered. With all of that, I think it’s safe to say that this is an alien invasion novel… about alien invasion stories. The book, and the main character, are very genre aware as far as that all goes – and, with video games and the idea of drone warfare, your average gamer could also be the next starfighter ace…