Ready Player One author speaks to freshmen

 By Alexa Sussman

   At this year's Convocation, Ernest Cline, author of this year's common reading book, Ready Player One, addressed the class of 2017.  He presented the attendees with his life story; one filled with video games, Star Wars, and a rise to stardom.  This seemingly average Ohio native is now an accomplished screen writer and author, all thanks to his enthusiasm for all things technological and science fictional. 




Drew Bogner, PhD, President of Molloy College, takes a photo of a student with 'Ready Player One' author Ernest Cline 

Cline wrote his first screenplay in 1996, a sequel to the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.  He wrote the screenplay for fun and viewed it as fan fiction that only he would enjoy.  However, he made it available to the internet world and soon discovered that other fans of Buckaroo Banzai were reading and enjoying his screenplay.  Then, as buzz for the new Star Wars film, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, began to increase, Cline had an idea for another screenplay.  This time, he would base what he believed to be just more fan fiction on his desire to see the new movie.  His fan fiction would turn into an actual movie, Fanboys, that would finally be released in 2009.  

   After many problems with the Fanboys production company, Cline decided that he wanted to write something that would be untouched by outside parties.  He wanted to write something and present it to the general public exactly as he had intended it to be.  Because of this, Cline was driven to write his first novel, Ready Player One. He drew his inspiration from the video games and culture of the 1980's, the decade in which Cline spent much of his formative years.  He decided to write a story that would combine a Willy Wonka type competition and the mysterious "easter eggs" that video game designers would hide in their games.  Cline was able to sell his novel to Random House Publishing Company in June of 2010.  A film adaptation of the book is currently being made.     

   Ernest Cline does not like the terms nerd or geek.  Instead, he prefers the less negatively connotative enthusiast.  There is one thing that no one can argue, and that is that Cline is most definitely an enthusiast.  His presentation on Wednesday serves as a shining example of the "American Dream."  Cline liked something, then wrote about it, and eventually became famous.  He became a successful screenwriter and novelist writing about topics which he loves.  If anything, Cline's story is an inspiration.  He is a regular guy who has a movie and a New York Times best-selling book that is being turned into a movie.  And he still is happy to come out on stage for an hour with nothing but a bottle of water and talk to an audience of college students as if they were his peers.