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AICN EXCLUSIVE: Ernie Cline releases some "inspirational art" for his screenplay for READY PLAYER ONE!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... Quite a few folks out there have discovered the singular joy of reading Ernie Cline's debut novel, READY PLAYER ONE, which is currently #21 on the New York Times Best-selling Hardback Fiction list.   At practically the same moment he sold his novel for publication - Warner Brothers wisely secured a huge option deal to turn this amazing mega-geek novel into a feature film - and they hired Ernie to write the first couple of drafts of the script.

One thing you need to know about the multi-talented Ernie Cline is he's a geek.  When he first wrote the screenplay for FANBOYS, he bought a wreck of a van to turn into the signature vehicle...  this was when he was employed at a scrape your nickels kinda job.   Like many geek writers...  when he's working on something he yearns to have visual input to light his brain on fire.   

When faced with turning a Novel that wasn't even released into a full fledged giant Studio flick...  well he hired noted Butt-Numb-A-Thon Poster artist, Gordon Jones, to bring certain imagery to life so he could imagine the movie he was writing.

SO - this artwork does not necessarily represent what Warner Brothers will be doing with the film, but this is the Author's vision for what a bit of  the world looks like in Cline's mind via @GordojoRule 's Pencils, pens & paints could render.  

Here ya go:

THE STACKS - the nightmarish trailerpark of the future in which the desperately impoverished Wade calls home...



This is what Wade's low-tech gear looked like in Ernie's simian lobes...  This gear is how he accesses the OASIS...


OK - so here's Wade in his secret hideout in the STACKS - the only place he feels safe - and who knows - he could be interacting with AECH at that exact moment.



Now - here's Wade's AVATAR arriving in the OASIS at the Club called THE DISTRACTED GLOBE...

If you'd like to discuss these images with Mr. Cline in person - He's leaving Austin tomorrow for part of the West Coast wing of his fantabulous book tour.   So here's them details:


9/9/2011 - 7pm


7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. #302

San Diego, CA 92111


And then the big GALLERY 1988 event in Los Angeles:

9/10/2011 - 7pm



Los Angeles, CA 90038


Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 8, 2011, 7:52 p.m. CST


    by fuzzy_dunlop

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Very Fifth Element...I like it!

    by BadMrWonka

    I'm gonna try to get my hands on this book.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Love the mashup of airships

    by fuzzy_dunlop

    When I finished this book I was torn between loving the idea and creativity and hating the amateurish writing and dialogue. But in the weeks since finishing I have grown more and more excited about seeing this brought to life on the screen and about the future of entertainment.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 8:23 p.m. CST

    conceptually looks pretty fun

    by ewokstew

    That trailer park looks like Hillbilly heaven.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 8:29 p.m. CST


    by Teddy Artery

    OK. How many times must we see the same virtual reality stuff? I've been seeing stuff like this since the 90's. What's new here?

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 8:35 p.m. CST

    It's the red neck Matrix !

    by mister death

    You can take the red meth or the blue meth... either way you end up in a trailer park. VERY 80's look to it (besides the obvious Syd Mead designed Blade Runner cars and Back To The Future DeLorean) , who the fuck knows from these sketches? Start the fanboy rant here...... _____________________________________

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Read the sample

    by hector

    And wasn't really a fan of it. Yeah, there's tons of 80's/geek references, but it feels sort of pandering.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 9:02 p.m. CST

    I was there in the 80's...

    by Teddy Artery

    The 80's weren't that great.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 9:08 p.m. CST

    I read it last week and

    by illyGraham

    truly loved it. He wrote this book exactly for me.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 9:26 p.m. CST

    I was there in the 80s too...

    by Colonel Kurtz

    They were awesome! If I had THE DeLorean, I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    I was also there in the 80s.

    by Happyfat73

    The fashion sucked, and I can't say I think too much of the music either... but, man, the 80s were the shit when it came to movies and games.</p> </p> Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing, and often the past is best left in the past. People all too often try to relive their halcyon days by clinging to its pop cultural artifacts – but the fact is, its all about the context.</p> </p> What was great in the 80s might not seem so great today – not because the 80s pop culture objectively sucks, but because we were all different people back then. We were younger and the world was a different place – trying to enjoy exactly what you loved in the 80s through the prism of the new millenium is a futile exercise doomed to disappointment. The 80s had their day and the world has moved on.</p> </p> That said, I get the impression that Ready Player One works for children of the 80s, not because its trying to recreate the exact feelings we had back then, but examining the nostalgia we have now about that period.</p> </p> I've read some backlash against Cline's book that it's nostalgia porn - but this is from people who hold a heavy disdain for nostalgia in the first place. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia - recognising and appreciating the feelings that were evoked in our youth – the problem only arises when we think we can experience those same feelings again, instead of trying to create new ones, that are rooted in the here and now.

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 10:19 p.m. CST


    by cube3

    SNOW CRASH- CONTAINER PARK- CHECK VR GEAR- FOR KT- CHECK DISTRACTED GLOBE= BLACK SUN Pyramid CLUB- CHECK MEDIA VEHICLES IN A VR WORLD- SECOND LIFE- shit we did in blaxxun circa 96.- CHECK. warners paid for what? just checking.;) CHECK. cube3

  • Sept. 8, 2011, 11:13 p.m. CST

    I'm very lucky to count Gordon Jones as one my best friends, and his work is incredible.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    I met Gordon when we were still finishing college. We had a lot of great times together back then. Parties, road trips to New Orleans, movies every Friday night and after movie discussions in the parking lot until the wee hours of the morning. He was very talented even then. In fact I have a very limited Gordon Jones original from that time period depicting the "Jurassic Park" river raft scene that was in the book, but was cut from the movie. Every time I visit Austin I have the honor of staying with Gordon and his great little son. I've been lucky enough to peek at some of his artwork for Harry's yet produced "Ghost Town" project, and I wish someone would get around to making it! I've also been there to witness a nearly sleepless night as Gordon built the insanely amazing Harry Knowles pinata that was sacrified at BNAT. It sucks I can't move to Austin and see my friends there more often (yet), but I'm very pleased that good people and true film fans like Gordon, Harry and Ernie actually are making strides in the movie business where they belong. Geeks rule.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 12:40 a.m. CST


    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    I know this is gonna sound like the usual AICN 'stomp-all-over-everything that EVERYONE just loves', but I just finished reading this and I can honestly say that I forgot how it ended about 3 minutes after finishing it. Yeah, it started out okay, and I was all a giggle at the 80's refs (Ooh! I had an Atari 2600 too!), but the middle dragged and the ending - meh. It's not horrible & kind of fun, but please stop making this into some Geek Bible must-read. Hexican hit the nail on the head. After a while I was like, enough with the 80's shit already and tell me a story. Sorry, Ernie. Oh, and Happyfat: dead on post, bro. Play some c64 games today on an emulator, and see how fast that shit gets old.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 1:31 a.m. CST

    I hear you, joaquin.

    by Happyfat73

    Every time I go to play an classic C64 game on an emulator, I get all anticipatory for the nostalgia rush... be it Loderunner, Lemmings, International Karate, Commando, Cal Games, Pools of Radiance, whatever. Then, I'll play for about 30 seconds and throw it in – it just isn't the same. Heck, I remember when I thought that Test Drive had state of the art, uber-smooth graphics.</p> </p> I think it's better to leave them in the past as fond memories, rather than killing the nostalgia by trying to re-live it.</p> </p> That said, my favourite ever C64 game was Sid Meier's Pirates, which recently got ported onto the iPad and I am absolutely loving it - but that's only because they've updated the graphics and gameplay and not tried to keep the old 8-bit graphics in some misguided attempt at nostalgia porn.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Just finished it the other day. The first third is a bit of a slog...

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    I have to admit. But once he gets past the establishing of the universe and we get into the powers and the general kick-assery, and you get used to the blatant geek pandering (i mean, i get that the character is really into it, but it can feel a little much, definitely in the beginning), it's a great yarn. When I finished I wanted to read it again, or at least stay in the story. I guess the only other criticisms I have are that things were a little too easy for our hero and even though you could assume it was going to end positively (and it did, in a very satisfying 80's way, in the bets of the 80's satisfying endings), you could never follow the clues, or solve the mystery yourself. Everything just kinda happens. Other than that I really enjoyed it, so give it a chance. I have NO idea how they are going to fit all this stuff into a movie though. Especially all the licensing agreements they are going to have to overcome...

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 8:12 a.m. CST

    @#$#@ing amazing book...great art...ive got two words for you....

    by threetoesoffury

    Graphic Novel! Any chance we can get a bunch more artwork turned into a RPO graphic novel? if not, keep the artwork comin. i plan on rereading and/or checking out president wheatons audio version of the book soon and having the artwork alongside is a nice bonus! 80's nostalgia geeks: best. book. ever.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 8:27 a.m. CST

    rip off artist

    by Timmy Boy

    This guy is ripping off Neal Stephenson... HARD. That VR gear looks EXACTLY like what Stephenson described in "Snow Crash." And the whole idea is set in a framework very similar to the overall plot of "Crash." I almost bought this book on Amazon the other day and I'm glad I didn't. I won't see the movie, either.

  • And The Last Rocket on IPad is the best iPad game so far. One of my favorite games of all time actually.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    The last rocket on iPad is a new classic nintendo game

    by UltraTron

  • Last Rocket is such a game on iPad. Challenging and addictive games with perfect design never grow old.

  • The second game made by atari featuring 3D graphics with polygons. I Robot was the first. Remember Carrier Command on ST? These were epic simulations unlike anything that had ever been offered in history for mankind to experience. I have lived through literally the entire history of videogames and what could be considered the modern blockbuster movie. I've owned every system from the Sinclair to the commodore to the atari Vic 20 to every classic arcade machine ever made to 200 inch ps3. You all know me. Know what I do for a livin.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 10:39 a.m. CST

    I really hope

    by Rob Hill

    That the rights to all the awesome IPs can be licensed to make this movie pop. And I officially want the new, tricked out to geeky perfection DeLorean from the book.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 12:15 p.m. CST

    About a third of the way through it...

    by Kate Ward

    ... and so far so good. Although I do wish reading it wasn't akin to being hit around the head with pages from wikipedia. You can empathise with Wade but the 'Geek101' lessons get in the way. I dunno...maybe when it hits the big screen we could have little 'Look Around You' type segments.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Loved it!

    by Jamie Land

    I loved this book. Are they going to be able to secure all the rights to show all the 80's references in the movie, I wonder?

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 1:37 p.m. CST

    What's Pee Wee Herman doing in the forefront of that last pic?

    by sweeneydave

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Spoiler! (sort of) @ sweeneydave

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    Wade dressed like Pee-Wee for a night out at some PVP-zone club in the OASIS.

  • Sept. 9, 2011, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Thankyou for the artwork.

    by hallmitchell

    I will keep it in mind when i read the book.

  • Saw Ernie at a book signing. He was awesome and let us all get pictures and play with his Delorean and Ghost Buster replica gear.

  • Sept. 10, 2011, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Ready Player One is awesome!

    by Zardoz

    I finally read the advance copy I've had for months, (I know, I know!) and it was really great! It's definitely a nerd-universe that I wish was real and that I could go to now. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's "Neuromancer" meets "The Matrix" with a little "Scott Pilgrim" thrown in there, too! If they could ever get the rights to all of the wild and crazy sci-fi, pop-culture stuff that's in the book it would make an INCREDIBLE movie! Read it now!

  • Please!

  • Sept. 10, 2011, 3:03 a.m. CST

    I grew up in the Eighties...

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    ...and believe they were a historic low point in music, movies, fashion, culture and politics. I can still succumb to the odd bout of nostalgia though. You can't help when you were born.

  • Sept. 10, 2011, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Book started strong, but disapointed overall

    by digital_soul

    My favourite line was the one about Wade refusing to acknowledge ALL the Indiana Jones films from the 4th one on, but overall it wasn't exactly what you'd call well written. Some of the dialogue was incredibly cheesy (perhaps intentionally so), and I couldn't stop thinking how hokey it would feel as a movie. The nightclub scene in particular was awful. Also, there was more to the 80s than Video games and Brat Pack films! I was into half the shit in the book, but I was also into breakdancing, electro, hip-hop, house music, techno and acid house, none of which got so much as a mention. Finally, I cant remember how old Wade's character was meant to be, but the amount of shit he knew, had memorised and/or mastered just wouldn't be feasible, even if you were a full-time unemployed geek!

  • Sept. 10, 2011, 4:07 p.m. CST

    @dr eric vornoff

    by digital_soul

    Cultural Low point? Hip Hop has pretty much changed the world and all modern dance music inherits from the electro, house and techno that came out of NY, Chicago and Detroit in the 80s. That's before we even mention the early 80s new wave scene. You should go and listen to Penthouse and Pavements by Heaven 17 sometime and see how fresh it still sounds!

  • Sept. 10, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST

    'Historic low point in....movies???!!!!' The '80's???!!

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    I don't even know how to respond to that....

  • Sept. 11, 2011, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Agreed. Gordon Jones is a pimp.

    by soladeo1

    A great guy and a great artist.

  • Sept. 11, 2011, 10:31 p.m. CST

    joaquin_ondamoon: wrong


    He didn't dress like Pee-Wee Herman. He dressed like Buckaroo Banzai. CHOPPED.

  • Sept. 11, 2011, 10:53 p.m. CST

    I'll give Hip-Hop a pass

    by Dr Eric Vornoff

    but most mainstream music in the 80s sucked badly. I'm a fan of a lot of 60's and 70's artists and almost without exception they had a terrible 80's: Lennon got shot, McCartney did the Frog Chorus and Dylan found Jesus. It seemed to me an era when fashion dictated all and everyone was in pursuit of the latest trends at the expense of all else. It's not coincidental this decade saw the rise of Madonna, who never saw a bandwagon she didn't want to jump onto (and then subsequently derail). Speaking of Madonna is there a more typical song of 80s values than Material Girl, an annoying, vacuous ode to consumerism and greed? As for the movies, I'll concede there was a lot of good genre stuff made then, especially horror, but for every The Thing or Evil Dead II there were a dozen awful generic slasher films. The 80s saw the rise of the high concept, special-effects fixated blockbuster, an increasingly myopic view towards audience demographics and a great abundance of sentimentality and jingoism in mainstream cinema. In a way, I blame Spielberg for much of this, even though I like most of his films from this period. It's just that his imitators were often so awful (Mac and Me anyone?). When I think of 80s movies I think Tony Scott, a director whose aesthetics I absolutely despise. Sure, I loved Top Gun when I first saw it aged 9 but how anyone can watch that shit today and un-ironically like it I don't know. Um, I guess this rant was a waste of energy, doubt anyone's still reading at this late stage but I'm bored and I can't sleep.

  • Sept. 11, 2011, 11:49 p.m. CST

    teddy artery

    by gotilk

    You said it. Yeah, the 80s are much better in hindsight. They were terrible back then. However, this reminds me of one of my own stories, with less of a nostalgic feel to it, about nomads of the future. Some of them tried to settle down and I imagined stacked houses, but more uniform, no trailers. They were made of storage units and ship containers, converted to homes. I honestly like his vision a little more and cannot wait to see it come to life. And the virtual world thing could be interesting if done right. Those things can sometimes come across cheap and iffy.

  • Sept. 11, 2011, 11:51 p.m. CST

    dr eric vornoff

    by gotilk

    I read it, and can relate.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 7:11 a.m. CST

    The book was OKAY

    by Victor

    It was a genuine page turner, I won't deny this. But it was also really dumb at times. And it got to bogged down in its 80s obssessions. I mean page after page, of some dumb 80s recreation, of videogames, or movies, went a little too far. It wasn't clever funny, or cool. Just a little pathetic. And the Aech twist was godawful. And a movie? Are fucking kidding me? This will never be made as a big Hollywood production. It would be absolute shit. I don't see how they can think a movie about a loser playing videogames would be interesting to the masses.

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Snow crash comparisons...

    by smatt584

    Are spot on here, exactly what I thought when I saw this, right down to the 'protagonist' living in what is, essentially, a storage container village. I hope some copyright infringement action isn't in the books for this guy... Why don't they just make a 'snow crash' movie instead?

  • Sept. 12, 2011, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Mystery solved

    by smatt584

    This is an excerpt taken directly from a Q&A with the author online (Amazon page for the book specifically): Q) Favorite book of all time. A) That’s an impossible question! I could maybe give you three favorites: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    My Theory on Nostalgia

    by Aquatarkusman

    The age at which you become concerned with peer acceptance (in shorthand, the middle school years) is when you fully absorb and worship the pop culture around you. For me, this would have been 1983-1986, meaning that I can still listen to an extended mix of "The Glamorous LIfe" by Sheila E. and not turn it off (or watch Clue AGAIN) while still recognizing that these are two-star (at best) vehicles of entertainment. However, any current youngster who emulates that Girls JUst Wanna Have Fun fashion sense need a brain-exam. Get your own style, millennials. Ours might have been crap, but at least we came up with it ourselves.

  • Sept. 13, 2011, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Choppah - You are correct, sir.

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    And I consider myself rightfully chopped.

  • Sept. 15, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    joaquin_ondamoon: It was a loving chop.


    Full of warmth, compassion and serious man-love. Wanna jelq?

  • Sept. 15, 2011, 6:06 p.m. CST

    "copyright infringement"?

    by zooch

    The whole entire universe inside the book is intentionally based on other things. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT MORON!

  • Sept. 18, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST

    I wonder...

    by leehb

    how many companies are busting their balls right now to actually come up with the 'Oasis'... OK guys, I'm here, ready and waiting..... (Second Life didn't make it, at all....)