17 Books Like Ready Player One

The popularity of Ernest Cline’s science fiction novel Ready Player One has only increased with the success of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster adaptation. 

The cyberpunk subgenre can be categorized as belonging to Ready Player One. Cyberpunk frequently tells stories about urban dystopian civilizations where corruption and Big Business are to blame for the decline. 

17 Books Like Ready Player One

The genre’s characters are typically not your usual heroes. They are frequently outsiders, rebels, or hackers. Or, like in the case of Ready Player One, an egg-hunting gamer.

Because it employs more advanced technologies, it also fits the genre perfectly. Ready Player One is the pinnacle of cyberpunk thanks to its specialized gloves, visors, and augmented virtual reality.

Wade Watts’ narrative is the subject of Ready Player One. In Oklahoma City’s “stacks,” a literal leaning tower of trailers placed one atop the other, 

Wade’s job is to hunt for Easter eggs in a virtual reality gaming environment. They are not eggs in the traditional sense.

He’s searching for Easter eggs. The creator of OASIS left it there, and whoever finds it will inherit a vast fortune.

The hunter must go through a sequence of games, exploring each one and succeeding in order to obtain keys to the subsequent gate, in order to find this specific Easter Egg.

Wade gains fame across the OASIS after obtaining the first key.

He is forced into hiding because this attracts some unwanted attention. But does this make him abandon his cause?

Without a doubt. Wade keeps looking for the Easter Egg in order to collect that wealth.

The novels listed below have been picked because they will appeal to Ready Player One enthusiasts. 

If you loved Ready Player One, then you’ll enjoy books like The Impossible Fortress, Snow Crash, Moxyland, Dark Matter, and Alif the Unseen. 

Themes In Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Nostalgia – Halliday has idealized 80s popular culture, which is nostalgia RP1. Why do we have a sense of nostalgia for the past?

Video Game and Technology – Ready Player One delves deeply into the world of video gaming and technology and how it can impact our lives.

Identity – How do we express ourselves differently in the real world versus online? Does being able to be whatever you want online compensate for the lack of liberty in the real world?

Reality – Wade Watts operates in two very different realities. Reality is a major theme of this book.

Perseverance – It takes 5 years before someone can figure out the first puzzle.

Competition – Video game tournaments are becoming recognized as legitimate sports, and there is tremendous competition for the Easter egg.

The Future – Utopia or dystopia? Could the world that Kline depicts in the first few chapters resemble our own?

Would pressing the red button by Wade’s free will make the world a better place? What if social media existed today with that feature?

17 Books Like Ready Player One

1. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible Fortress: A Novel

The Impossible Fortress is overflowing with allusions to and nostalgia for 1980s pop culture. Billy Marvin, the protagonist of the tale, has a computer obsession. 

Billy meets a girl who shares his love of computers, nevertheless, while playing a sophisticated prank with his friends.

There is much to like here for fans of Ready Player One’s computer-based romance and nostalgia for the 1980s.


  • Simple, easy to read
  • Fun 80s vibe


  • A little basic for some readers

Themes: Nostalgia, Video Games, and Technology

2. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash

While Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash occurs in the vast online Metaverse, Ready Player One transpires in the virtual world OASIS universe.

The protagonist of the story works as a pizza delivery man by day and transforms into a strong VR hero at night. 

The plot of Snow Crash centers on efforts to corrupt and obliterate the Metaverse and the battle that ensues to extinguish the forces posing a threat to the virtual world.


  • A gripping insight into the future
  • The action-packed, fast pace


  • May not be suitable for young readers

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Competition, Perseverance

3. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes


In the immersive world of Moxyland, the most popular forms of entertainment today are controlled by nefarious web entities.

Anyone who appreciated the friendship of the main Gunters in Ready Player One will recognize how the story’s primary protagonists come together.

This satirical tech story offers a scary glimpse of a terrifyingly plausible dystopian future.


  • Fun satirical plot
  • Strong themes of friendship and connection


  • Some readers found the ending confusing

Themes: The Future, Video Games and Technology, Perseverance

4. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

The science fiction novel Dark Matter by Blake Crouch challenges readers’ conceptions of reality and self-identity. 

The protagonist of the book is Jason, a character who finds himself thrust into a strange environment where his family and friends are absent and he appears to be someone altogether different. 

The book makes the reader doubt everything they read until, at last, a stunning turn reveals the truth in a spectacular way.


  • A brilliant twist in the plot
  • Thought-provoking read


  • Can be challenging for some readers

Themes: Identity, Reality, Perseverance 

5. Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Alif the Unseen

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson depicts a Middle Eastern society where paranoia, hacking, and enigmatic spiritual creatures are commonplace. 

The main character of the book, Alif, is a hacker who has been forced into hiding by a romantic transgression with terrible political repercussions.

A tech thriller, spiritual science fiction, and dark fantasy are all combined in Alif the Unseen in an original way.


  • A mixture of Eastern mystery and Western sci-fi
  • A unique take on the genre


  • Some readers disliked the protagonist

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Identity, Perseverance

6. Armada by Ernest Cline


The protagonist of the book is devoted gamer Zack, a disenchanted young man who longs for a life that is just as thrilling as the games he enjoys. 

Zack quickly understands his gaming abilities will be needed for a much higher reason after coming into contact with a UFO.

Readers who enjoyed Ready Player One’s nerd and popular culture feast won’t be let down by Clyne’s offering of nostalgia and allusions.


  • Great for pop culture geeks
  • Nostalgic feel


  • Too similar to Ready Player One

Themes: Nostalgia, Video Games and Technology, Identity

7. Synners by Patrick Cadigan


The universe of Pat Cadigan’s novel Synners is one in which technology and virtual reality are strong influences on practically every facet of daily life. 

The first part of the book is a sophisticated and fascinating introduction to the technological world and the humans that live there.

As the plot develops, Cadigan quickens the pace in order to eventually bring seemingly unrelated concepts together into a masterfully written conclusion.


  • Excellent delve into technological advancements
  • Fantastic ending


  • Can be complicated to follow

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Reality, Perseverance

8. Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane

Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1

The first book in Diane Duane’s Omnitopia series is titled Omnitopia Dawn. The massively multiplayer online game serves as the backdrop for the narrative. 

Evil powers are trying to invade and destroy this realm, but doing so will have terrible offline effects.

Fans of Ready Player One who appreciated the conflict with Innovative Online Industries will undoubtedly become engrossed in the story.


  • Highly engaging storyline
  • Immersive gaming world


  • Character development could be better

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Competition, Reality

9. For The Win by Cory Doctorow

For the Win: A Novel

Cory Doctorow’s book For the Win dives deeply into the financial effects of online virtual reality gaming. Online VR gaming is a lucrative industry.

This inevitably leads to wealthier gamers abusing their position to take advantage of less fortunate players. 

A band of gamers eventually form a coalition to fight back against the corruption that has so severely abused them and topple it after recognizing the expertise they have developed in carrying out the wealthy’s will.


  • Explores power dynamics well
  • Highlights the importance of group identity and perseverance


  • A story often smothered by moralizing

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Identity, Perseverance  

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner: The Maze Runner, Book 1

In the fascinating novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner, young individuals are compelled to navigate their way out of a complicated maze.

Battle Royale and Ready Player One, as well as the Hunger Games, are all references in Dashner’s narrative. 

Getting out alive represents the only true game in town in a dystopian society of trial and difficulty.


  • Unexpected twists and turns
  • Gripping and engaging until the end


  • Some readers found the back story to be highly unrealistic 

Themes: The Future, Perseverance, Competition

11. Arena by Holly Jennings


Holly Jennings introduces the world of her wildly popular televised video game competitions at the start of her Arena series. 

The biggest and greatest female player throughout the Virtual Gaming Association and the protagonist of the book are Kali Ling.

Ling chooses to take a position and engage in her most significant conflict yet after learning about corruption and injustice in her gaming network.


  • Positively approaches gender and identity
  • Excellent take on power dynamics within gaming


  • Some readers felt the story lacked depth

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Competition, Identity

12. Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross - Das Spiel ist eröffnet: Warcross 1

A story about hacking and illicit activity is told by Marie Lu and is centered on the epic video game Warcross. 

Emika Chen, a hacker who finds herself in unexpectedly significant circumstances, is the primary character.

Warcross has received plaudits for its believable and compelling depiction of an advanced online environment.


  • Jam-packed with action, virtual reality, and danger
  • Rollercoaster plot line


  • Readers felt the ending could have been better

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Identity, Perseverance

13. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (The Ender Saga, 1)

The first book in Orson Scott Cards’ Ender’s Saga series is titled Ender’s Game.

The story takes place in a universe where people pretend to be playing the games and yet are actually only beginning a fight against a very strong foe. 

Epic fighting sequences are present in Ender’s Game, which also has a stunning twist in the finale.


  • Brilliantly written fighting scenes
  • Shocking twist in the plot


  • Inconsistent at times

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Competition, Reality

14. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Insignia (Insignia, 1)

Tom Raines, a gifted but nerdy adolescent virtual reality gamer, is the primary character of Insignia.

Tom quickly discovers that his gaming abilities will come in handy when he is required to participate in World War 3. 

As they follow Tom Raines’ escapades throughout the Insignia series, lovers of Wade Watts in Ready Player One should find a lot to enjoy.


  • A humorous yet realistic view of the future
  • Memorable, likable characters


  • Not really suitable for all ages, mainly geared toward teenage boys

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Identity, Perseverance

15. Ghosts of Arcadia by Ramsey Isler

Ghosts of ARCADIA

Direct brain scans can be used in the ground-breaking online virtual reality environment Arcadia to enhance the player experience. 

However, hackers looking to increase their individual bank accounts quickly disrupt this wonderful environment.

The protagonist of Arcadia is Miguel, a journalistic investigator who starts to solve the stunning mystery that lies at the city’s core.


  • Fun, quick, and enjoyable read
  • Fast-paced and energetic


  • Slow start, takes a while to get into the book

Themes: Video Games and Technology, Reality, Competition

16. Neuromancer by William Gibson

Neuromancer: Sprawl Trilogy, Book 1

The novel Neuromancer by William Gibson is regarded as one of the best-ever depictions of a cyberpunk dystopia.

Readers of Blade Runner would enjoy this narrative a lot because Gibson can incorporate noir aspects into his writing. 

Because it was published in 1984, Neuromancer provides a fascinating look at how earlier writers imagined the technological future we are now seeing.


  • Well-crafted, memorable characters
  • Elegantly expressed imagery throughout


  • Difficult to follow for some readers

Themes: The Future, Video Games and Technology, Reality

17. The Martian by Andrew Weir

The Martian

One major theme unites The Martian as well as Ready Player One: the ambition of the lead character to overcome nearly impossible obstacles in order to accomplish their goal. 

Wade risked everything to enter the OASIS universe, and the very first man to step foot on Mars now confronts a similar battle for survival.

The Martian is indeed a contemporary science fiction classic that well deserves to have a successful movie adaptation.


  • A smart, funny, and intense read
  • The heartwarming and thought-provoking survival theme


  • Factual, scientific style doesn’t work for some readers

Themes: Perseverance, Identity

Final Thoughts

The novels on this list were chosen because they are similar to Ready Player One, whether it’s a love of nostalgia and allusions to bygone eras of culture, a setting that is based in virtual reality, the narrative of a young plucky rebel, or any other similarity. 

If you make a list of all the reasons why you adore Ready Player One, you’ll undoubtedly find at least one of them in every single book on this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Book Is The Best On This List?

All of the books on this list are fantastic reads and similar in theme to Ready Player One.

If you enjoyed Ready Player One, you’re bound to love any of the above books – so why not try out a few as different people will have different favorites?

What Is The Best Way To Enjoy These Books?

If you purchase the books on Amazon, you have a choice between paperbacks, hardbacks, kindle editions, and audio versions.

Whichever mode you choose depends on your own individual preferences.

While some people prefer a physical book, others may benefit from adding books to their portable kindle library. 

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Emiko Watanabe