Wade's avatar, Parzival, materializes inside OASIS, a hyper-detailed, 3D game world. With a school. That's right: Wade goes to school online, in a game.
That's like taking British Literature in-between slaying Morlocs in World of Warcraft.
As he gets ready for World History class, he tells us about his pre-OASIS schooling, in a real, brick-and-mortar public school. Lots of bullying was involved.
School in OASIS, on the other hand, is much better. The software allows Wade to mute his bullies, which is pretty handy.
With a few minutes to go before World History, Wade logs on to the Hatchery, a message board for gunters seeking Halliday's egg.
He also tells us about the Sixers, employees of Innovative Online Industries, or IOI, who have been hired to find the egg. Wade and many gunter clans think this is against the spirit of the Hunt, so they hate the Sixers and IOI. Mercenary egg hunters? Not cool.
After complaining about the Sixers, Wade checks out Art3mis's blog. Art3mis is a fellow gunter, and a real cyber babe. Wade and Art3mis, sitting in a cyber-tree, T-Y-P-I-N-G!
Wade ogles her curvy avatar for a bit, even though he realizes that anyone could be playing Art3mis, even "some middle-aged dude named Chuck, with back hair and male-pattern baldness" (2.43).
We're not sure what he has against guys named Chuck. They're not all repulsive. Case in point.
Before class, Wade gets an invitation from his best friend, Aech, to join his chatroom.