Taking place in 2044, this novel follows the adventures of Wade Watts, or Parzival as he is known in OASIS, the virtual reality/internet/gaming network that has come to dominate pop culture, media and recreation in the future. The creator of this virtual reality, Halliday, died over five years ago, and in his will, he left his 240 billion dollar fortune to whoever could win the game he created in the OASIS and complete his quest. Halliday afficionados know that to solve this quest they need to have an extensive working knowledge of all things ’80s, Halliday’s major obsession, and Wade is one of many “gunters” or egg hunters that has studied Halliday’s life and the ’80s in preparation for his quest. Unfortunately, Wade comes from a poor background, and it affects his ability to travel in this virtual world (he has access to books and media files for free) where transportation from one planet to the other requires money (real or virtual) or a vehicle of some sort. Access and usage of the OASIS is free but within that program everything has a cost. Wade only has access to his one world where he attends school and has no idea how to get more money or how to narrow down on which of several thousands of worlds the first challenge is located. However, while lost in thought in his OASIS Latin class, Wade finally makes that first connection that will allow him to discover the first key and be the first person to show up on the score board.