9780307887443In this essay, Gillian King-Cargile shares how Ready Player One is being used by Northern Illinois University’s STEM Read to explore STEM concepts and build computational thinking skills in students. Teens are participating in hands-on, game-based learning to dig deeper into Ernest Cline’s novel while challenging themselves to build a better reality.  

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The first time I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, I was obsessed with it. What’s not to love about a book that wraps the classic hero’s journey into a futuristic tale of love, video games, and virtual reality? As soon as I finished, I wanted to flip right back to the first page and relive the ways the main character used his wits to solve puzzles, stop evil corporations, get the girl, and save the day. (more…)

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aHR0cDovL2ltZy5tYmxyZC5jb20vaS81MDAtNTAwL3MvYUhSMGNEb3ZMMjF2WW1sc1pYSnZZV1JwWlM1amIyMHZabWxzWlhNdk1TOTFjR3h2WVdSekx6SXdMekl3TkdVNFlqWXlNbUprWldRM056azRPRFprTXpRek5USmxNMkl3TkRrdw,,We recently caught up with author Ernest Cline to learn more about his new book Armada (Crown, July 2015), the success that Ready Player One (Crown, August 2011) has had in common reading programs and among students, as well as his advice to young writers.

From where did you get the inspiration for your latest novel?

I think the main inspiration came from growing up as a child of Star Wars, ET, and Close Encounters, as well as growing up at the dawn of the videogame and home computer age. I was part of the first generation to have a starship simulator in my living room, in the form of an Atari 2600. I used to build an X-Wing cockpit out of couch pillows in front of the television, so I could pretend that I was Luke Skywalker on his way to blow up the Death Star. I spent a huge portion of my childhood wishing that my wicked videogame skills might someday have value in the real world, a fantasy that was made even more intense by all of the videogames-become-reality stories I devoured back in the 80s, like WarGames, Tron, Ender’s Game, or The Last Starfighter. (more…)