If you own a copy of Ready Player One, you might peek at the back of the book and see that it's classified as science fiction. That's not entirely true. About 5% of the book takes place in the future, a dystopian world in the throes of an energy crisis and suffocating from overpopulation. But where are the spaceships? The teleportation? The space travel?
All of that stuff is in the OASIS, a computer game that has become the world's escape. While the game might be sci-fi, its existence isn't. Science fiction typically has some root in reality, but the OASIS is completely out of this world. It's hard to believe that this game is as realistic as it is just 30 years into the future. It would require both insane processing power and extreme bandwidth that would be prohibitively expensive. And it's hard to believe that the game is so popular when everyone is so poor and destitute. Would they really shell out the cash for Internet and electricity when money and energy is so scarce? Maybe they just can't face the alternative.
Ready Player One might not be your typical swords-and-sorcery fantasy; it's more of a personal fantasy, a world where everyone has your interests and your passions, where video games aren't stigmatized and popular culture is the driving force in the world. It's OASIS creator James Halliday's fantasy world, and it might even be Ernest Cline's fantasy, too. Except for the energy crisis part.