Ernest Cline’s breakout novel Ready Player One is getting a sequel on November 24th, which is slated to delve back into the massive multiplayer VR world of the OASIS.

Aptly named Ready Player Two, the upcoming book is being published by Penguin Random House subsidiary Ballantine Books.

It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon, both in Kindle and hardcover format.

Released in 2011, Ready Player One casts a dim vision of the year 2044. Like much of humanity, Wade Watts lives most of his life connecting to the massive multiplayer ‘OASIS’, which acts as a VR escape amid famine and social unrest. It’s a tale of ’80s nostalgia which flows recursively back into fashion thanks to the very Willy Wonka-esque prize hunt the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, left behind him after his death. That’s the bare bones, no spoiler version of it anyway.

Facebook Says It Has Developed the 'Thinnest VR display to date' With Holographic Folded Optics

RPO has celebrated its fair share of success; it spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was adapted into a film, produced by Steven Spielberg.

Another big endorsement: Palmer Luckey, Oculus founder and inventor of the Oculus Rift, liked the novel so much that in the early days all Oculus employees received a copy of the book. Of course, not everyone appreciated it.

Besides the book’s page count (384) and ISBN, there isn’t any further info on Ready Player Two just yet. The cover shows a single Pitfall (1982) style character lunging for what appears to be a diamond—so definitely some amount of ’80s references to play off of here.

Love it or hate it, it’s going to be interesting to see whether Cline has changed his views on virtual reality since writing the first in the series, which came two years before the original 2012 Oculus Kickstarter campaign and resultant relaunching of VR headsets into the consumer market.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • david vincent
    • DoctorMemory

      I really hope they get this right. I don’t have a lot of faith but I really hope they get it right.

  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    That tweet by Katie Chironis was seriously inconsiderate and kind of dissapointing in a way she assumed “maturity” = lack of excitement.

    • Trip

      Agreed. I really don’t think it should have been re-posted here to spread her toxicity further. I also bet that nearly every single one of the people who didn’t want the book were simply people who don’t read fiction for entertainment. They probably all tossed the book aside and went home to watch reality TV!

      • James Cobalt

        …or they already read the book and gave it to her, prefer active over passive entertainment, read a review and didn’t think it was worth it, don’t have time in their lives / book-queue for it, etc.

        I don’t get all this “someone dismissed a thing I think is good so they are bad in some way” stuff. Seems like a pretty negative way to approach things. Do that through life and you’re gonna have a bad time.

    • Hokhmah

      I know people like her, be it friends, family or collegues. Somewhere on the way they lost the “inner child” and I’m not talking about being immature, but losing the ability for dreaming, passion, excitement, fantasy, … Even being myself a big fan of logic, rationalism and pragmatism, I still get that a life without the “inner child” gets boring real fast.

      Also maybe Katie Chironis should look at history a little bit. A lot of technology and research made by very intelligent people were inspired by sci-fi/fantasy literature or movies/shows.

      • James Cobalt

        I don’t follow. There wasn’t much inspiration in this book. The whole VR dystopian future had been done before. I don’t see how someone not liking the book equates to them not having an inner child. That seems like a huge stretch and maybe some projecting.

        • Hokhmah

          It’s less about how innovative or complex RPO is (of course there is more sophisticated literature when it comes to sci-fi/VR/dystoptian topics), but her opinion about people liking RPO and degrading them as “immature” getting excited over such a story. Why not just be happy for them. If you don’t like the book, so be it and you can of course state your opinion. But why the need for attacking others? Is this some kind of scheme to hide self esteem weaknesses?

          Like people who only read Goethe and Co stuff and listen to classic music. I met several people like this and over 80% were pretentious and arrogant. They see other people as uncultured and talk about them like they are lower humans. Maybe I’m projecting too much on her from this tweet alone, it’s just my experience when it comes to people speaking/writing like this then often the character is like described.

    • James Cobalt

      What makes you think that was her issue with the book? I read it, enjoyed it for what it did well, but it was also pretty trash. My issues with the book, like many who have read it, have nothing to do with “excitement”. The book is immature in prose, world building, and character realization – especially in regards to Samantha Cook and Nolan Sorrento.
      It’s a fun trip down memory lane that simply doesn’t hold up to critical thinking, like the paper equivalent of a big dumb summer blockbuster. It even became a big dumb summer blockbuster! I also enjoyed the film, though, like the book, it made me cringe – albeit a bit less.

      -Child of the 80s and 90s VR adopter

      • Mateusz Pawluczuk

        If you read her whole twitter-thread you’ll see Katie also ridiculed SAO posters and some random co-worker who happened to believe in VR-first future. So while this article is about RPO sequel, Katie’s tweets were not just about that.. hence our comments about ‘excitement’ and ‘lack of inner child’ etc.

        Anyway, some might be surprised but yes, most of us are actually excited to be part of this small but growing VR industry!

        • James Cobalt

          Thanks, just read through it now (unless I missed something). I too would get “immature” vibes from an office that had SAO posters in it. Not because there’s anything wrong with SAO, but because there’s something wrong with SAO posters in an office that isn’t, say, a publisher of SAO or uses SAO as a unifying source of inspiration. A young-staffed startup like Oculus back in 2015, lead by a problematic and barely-legal 22-year-old Palmer Lucky, hadn’t learned that lesson yet.

          First, in a matured company culture, a shared office (personal desk excluded) is supposed to be reflective of the company’s shared brand values and team’s mission; SAO posters are reflective of an individual team member’s personal interest.

          Second, posters on the wall (especially ones that skew toward younger generation subcultures, like SAO and Japanese light novels in general) can give off “teen bedroom” vibes to those outside the subculture… so not only are team spaces supposed to be reflective of team missions, they aren’t supposed to make other team members feel culturally alienated. The focus is on what unifies.

          That creates challenges for creating aesthetically interesting workspaces (and why so many are boring, personality-free beige boxes), but it’s absolutely doable – just visit any Google office in the USA, for example.

      • david vincent

        Yeah, it saddens me that RPO is seen as the bible of VR when you have the 25 years older ‘Snow Crash’, which is infinitely better written, with infinitely more imagination and intelligence…

        • James Cobalt

          Or the short-lived FOX series, VR.5. That was so far ahead of its time in terms of serialized television. It was either sitcom or monster of the week, and VR.5 comes out with this big sprawling mystery that slowly unfolds from one episode to the next.

          • david vincent

            Well thank you, I will take a look at that series (was never broadcasted in my country)

  • Kevin White


  • Trip

    If you are a nerd, and were born between about 1970 and 1981 this book is absolutely amazing. One of my favorite books of all time, and one of the very few books I read more than once. Tons of 80’s gaming references, nostalgia to an extreme. Also, the audio book version is great and is read by Wil Wheaton! I love how Wil defied expectations and went from being hated by Sci-Fi fans worldwide, to a favorite sci-fi community.. sort of antihero type character. That took balls, initiative, and I imagine a lot of hard work.

  • DoctorMemory

    I was born in the age range that grew up with all of the references
    made in this book and I have written emails for work than are better
    than Ready Player One, and no I am not a writer.

    EVERY nerd culture reference in this book was completely and thoroughly over
    explained. This book could have been a lot better written if it had
    stayed focused on giving the reader the bare amount of information about the references in relation to the keys and maybe an extra 2-3 sentences of flavor text around it. Instead there were 2-3 paragraphs of why reference x was so cool. Over explaining it just made it tedious to read.

    As for The Oasis, it was just a commercial for nostalgia. Which, if the author
    had recognized it as such, they could have had a deeply insightful book.
    But it wasn’t. It was just, “Hey here’s this thing from my childhood I
    like. Let me tell you all the reasons I think it is relevant! Hey here’s
    another thing from my childhood that I like…”

    For the past 4 years I have worked with AR and VR in a professional capacity. The
    thought that this book is influencing people to believe that the vision of
    The Oasis is the future of VR sends CHILLS down my back.

    • Anfronie

      I agree. I’m cool with nostalgic references but it was overdone. I hope he chilled out on that this time around. It’s cool to have it but my goodness it was like full pages of it.

      • Kris Bunch

        I am not sure i could of read through the book with all the references. The audio book was fantastic though.

  • ComfyWolf

    I haven’t read the book, but the movie was so overly focused on cheesy references, it was basically nostalgia bait the movie, and the actually story was lackluster, it spends all its time trying to find any way it can to shove more references in. I love references to old games and movies I liked, but this was ridiculous and cringey. I hope the book is better than the movie made it seem, but judging by comments it still seems to put references above any actual storytelling or character development.

    • PK

      the movie was better in some ways, it actually toned down the nostalgia believe it or not. and the book had some terribly written dialogue here and there. especially for it’s main female character towards the end. that said, the story of the hunt was a lot of fun, and kind of mangled by the compressed movie. most of what i like about the original story is missing. also besides the idea of this massive quest they were all on, the book did predict/bring-into-existence a lot of the metaverse being constructed so far. and so i’m really curious if cline will have spent time in vrchat and the rest, and adapted to the community that now spends countless hours in this early oasis.

      • James Cobalt

        When I read the book, upon a friend’s insistence, I kept thinking, “WTH, this reads like it was somebody’s first book!”
        When I finished it and read more about the author, I learned it was. I don’t think it’s usually that obvious though. The writing is… really quite bad. From dialog to prose. That said, the plot itself is a lot of fun, but you get that from the movie. While there were more pop culture references in the book, I didn’t find them annoying; the book takes a lot longer to get through than a film, so they’re spread out and don’t feel so shoehorned.

        • PK

          yeah it does read like a first book, which is really impressive the influence it’s had. i started his second, forgot the title, and the plot, i just remember not making it very far. how many has he done? i’m really curious what he’ll do with this, and if his writing will have matured.

          it’s interesting to see the fans of his debut. it seems to be in two groups, albeit with some overlap… those that love the 80s nostalgia, and vr fans, who understand how well thought out much of this universe was. and i think many of us also reviewed the film more favourably because there were plenty of good ideas in it.

          i was a kid in the 80s but was kind of sheltered and a lot of this went right over my head, or my knowledge is from a distance. for me the hunt was the main appeal, and i still say that the movie rushed over it and lost what i liked most about the book. this would have been much better for me as a series. i keep wondering if there would have been a way to pull it off in two hours, probably not.

          • James Cobalt

            I think its influence was so powerful because it’s really effective ego service to an entire generation of us geeky guys whose interests had been the subject of ridicule for decades.

            So now those 80s kids make up one of the biggest consumer forces in the west, and suddenly this fun romp gets published that’s like “hey, you know all that stuff you loved in your youth that the mainstream dolts made fun of? Well jokes on them because it turns out only your misunderstood niche interests and sedentary geek lifestyle can save the world; YOU have already got what it takes to be a hero! (And you deserve a hot non-threatening girlfriend who’s super attracted to the very things others made fun of.)”

            It was the perfect storm of nostalgia and flattery, and I think you now see those who are still insecure about their lifestyle, relationship to women, etc as being overly-vocal defenders of the book. See some of the most-upvoted comments near the top. A woman said she didn’t like the book, and a handful of guys call her boring, dead inside, toxic… over a book. A BOOK. Which means it’s really not about the book, but how they identify with the book, so now an attack on the book is an attack on themselves. This unhealthy relationship between identity and interests is the main thing geeks have been criticized for that, well, ultimately lead to the fan service that is Ready Player One.

            That makes me very interested to see what Cline does with Ready Player Two. Will it be another ego circle jerk, or will Wade face challenges he can’t overcome with trivia knowledge?

          • PK

            I agree with a lot of that…. it is a big circle jerk, one man’s ego and money driving an entire generation’s tastes from the grave, he justifies it as the main plot point but i’d like to see some non-geeks, historians of another sort, comment in the sequel about how halladay’s obsessions held back culture and society…. and yeah the relationship with women, not ideal… the influence i was talking about though, that i appreciate, isn’t about the nostalgia, it’s about social vr. the non-80s stuff heavily influenced vrchat and others, down to a technical level. it was very well thought through as an actual, buildable metaverse.

          • James Cobalt

            Interesting point. It’s kind of funny how, when cutting-edge technology comes along, be it movies, video games, the internet, smartphones, or VR, so many of the early pundits focus on the technological side, often warning of the isolating nature of the new medium – as if the new device can somehow change hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We are a social species; as soon as something becomes accessible, we make it social.

          • PK

            i do think there’s an inevitability, but this book i believe did both offer a roadmap to how to build a social platform in vr, at least provide some good ideas that are being acted upon an inspired to, which speeds things up and shapes what it becomes…. and also speeding up the development of the vr scene overall. if it had taken a couple of extra years to get to the public, that would also have changed how it’s taken in by culture, for better or for worse. either way cline had an outsized impact on this scene.

      • david vincent

        RPO did invent nothing new about metaverse (read ‘Neuromancer’ or ‘Snow Crash’). And it’s actually a very dumb vision of a metaverse when you think about it : having paywalls at every corner is plainly stupid and defeats the purpose of VR. Having to pay real money just to travel in the metaverse ? That makes no sense !

        • PK

          well when i was younger the language of neuromancer threw me off so i never got very far, maybe i should try again, and snow crash i tried after RPO and it started with so many tropes i lost interest. i read one of his other books which started fine and by the end i hated it, so wasn’t too patient with it. still, i know they influenced vr as well, so maybe cline just ripped off their visions. then again cline’s book i know had huge influence on the designers of these social vr platforms. and of the users. sure the paywall idea was a bad guess, but who knows maybe it could work, glad they didn’t go that way. still, vrchat and others were directly inspired by this book, like it or not.

          • david vincent

            Can one say he’s influenced by a lesser copy of something ? Good question.
            Granted, Neuromancer and Snow Crash are not the easiest to read for the youth and in that way, RPO gives a more accessible introduction to the concept of metaverse.

          • PK

            yeah youth might be a factor. can’t really comment too much without reading those other two books. with snow crash i’ll wait on a film or series, hopefully a series. and i’m sure neuromancer will be made with a budget one day too. maybe the language wouldn’t be such a barrier this time.

  • I hope the film of this one will be better than RPO by Spielberg, that was highly disappointing to me

  • Kris Bunch

    I am not sure I could read Ready Player One, but the audio book with Wil Wheaton as the narrator turns this so so book into a fantastic ride. I hope Wheaton does the narration for Ready Player Two.

    The movie was terrible.