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Books Like Ready Player One: 10 Out-of-This-World Next-Reads

by Dena McMurdie

books-like-ready-player-one

In preparation for the movie release of Ready Player One, I read the book by Ernest Cline and instantly fell in love with it. After I finished it, I immediately jumped down a rabbit hole and read every book I could find about virtual reality, gaming, and outer space. I had the time of my life feeding my new obsession with this sci-fi sub-genre.

If you’ve read Ready Player One and are looking for books like it, check out these titles. They’ll fill the void left by RPO and satisfy your inner geek.

  • Nyxia

    by Scott Reintgen

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    Emmett joins a group of teens selected to compete for the chance to mine a substance called Nyxia on a newly discovered planet. If you loved the competition, greed, and space setting in Ready Player One, you'll find much to enjoy in this book as well.

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  • Warcross

    by Marie Lu

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    Like Ready Player One, Warcross is set in the near future where an immersive virtual reality game has become a way of life. With a breathtaking romance, high-stakes gaming tournament, and the lines between the virtual world and the real world becoming increasingly blurry, you won't be able to set this book down.

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  • Otherworld

    by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

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    After a suspicious accident, Simon's best friend Kat is not only paralyzed, but becomes the next subject in a new virtual reality beta test. But Simon senses something is off and dives into the virtual world after her. With wit, humor, and heart-pounding action, this book is perfect for any fan of Ready Player One.

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  • The Illuminae Files Series

    by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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    This fascinating space saga is set in the distant future where mega-corporations go to war over planets, putting entire worlds in danger. Told through emails, documents, and messages, this series unfolds through the eyes of six teenagers as they fight against the corrupt corporations.

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  • Crypt Quest/Space Battles

    by Gabe Soria, illustrated by Kendall Hale

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    Just like Wade mastered the game Black Tiger in Ready Player One, you can become the star of an ‘80s-themed video game in this choose-your-own-adventure novel. Pick your game, navigate the levels, and win the game ... or die trying.

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  • Artemis

    by Andy Weir

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    When she accepts a well-paying gig from a wealthy stranger, Jazz unknowingly puts herself smack in the middle of a plot to take over her city. Set in the one and only civilization on the moon, this other-worldly novel is a fantastic follow-up read for fans of Ready Player One.

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  • Armada

    by Ernest Cline

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    Zach Lightman’s favorite video game, Armada, involves him and a team of other gamers protecting Earth from an alien invasion. So when he spots a spaceship IRL that looks just like the one in Armada, he has to wonder if he’s been spending too much time in the game. Cline’s second novel is bursting with the same level of action and pop-culture references as RPO.

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  • Hullmetal Girls

    by Emily Skrutskie

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    If you could use a little more girl power in your sci-fi romps, Aisha and Key are your answers. From opposite class sections of their starship fleet, they both wake up as Scelas — mechanically enhanced soldiers — just as a rebellion begins to brew.

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  • Snow Crash

    by Neal Stephenson

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    Hiro Protagonist divides his time between delivering pizzas and fighting as a warrior prince in the Metaverse, where he’s chasing down a villain threatening to release an information apocalypse. If you love the clash of virtual and reality in Ready Player One, plan to get caught up in Snow Crash.

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  • Skyward

    by Brandon Sanderson

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    In this highflying trilogy, Spensa dreams of joining the faction of pilots who protect humankind amid the war that’s been raging for decades. With shocking revelations and impossibly high stakes, Skyward is the sort of series opener that sucks you in and leaves you craving more.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2021.