11 Books Like Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a thrilling brain tickler of a futuristic story with tons of 1980’s references thrown in. Once you finish consuming this book, you might enjoy several other books like Ready Player One.

1. Ender’s Game

Orson Scott Card penned this story years before video games like Galaga and Space Invaders came into being. It tells a futuristic tale of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who believes he is playing a computer war game. But, in reality, he and other kids are looking for ways to wipe out bug-like invaders from Earth.

Ender's Game

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2. The Martian

A human lands on Mars as part of the first Mars landing in the future. The protagonist is eventually isolated and stranded through a series of unfortunate events, but he makes gallant efforts to survive.

The Martian

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3. Dark Matter

Dark Matter is also one of the books similar to Ready Player One that addresses the frustration of one’s circumstances. However, this futuristic sci-fi novel departs from the usual happy ending. Dark Matter’s main protagonist discovers that his circumstances result from his advanced scientific tinkerings.

Dark Matter

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4. Off to Be the Wizard

In this fantasy tale, the main character realizes that he can alter reality and travel through time via a computer game. Sounds familiar? It should be! This is because Ready Player One’s heart is virtual reality in a computer gaming world. Additionally, a key figure at the center of Ready Player One does something similar to what the main character in Off to Be the Wizard can do.

Off to Be the Wizard

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5. The Running Man

Everyone who has ever seen every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie will remember the bizarre plot twists and changing reality of The Running Man. In this book, the main character is dropped into a reality game show. It leads him on an adventure for survival — a theme also present in Ready Player One.

The Running Man

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6. The Impossible Fortress

Like Ready Player One, you will find a lot of references that you will immediately recognize in The Impossible Fortress. The only difference is The Impossible Fortress takes place in the past and not in the future.

The Impossible Fortress

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7. Snow Crash

Who’s the hero? It’s no other than a guy named Hiro Protagonist, of course. By day, he delivers pizza for his uncle. By night (or in his spare time), he’s chasing down computer hackers hell-bent on destroying the virtual Metaverse, a place where multiple virtual worlds collide and where hackers can ruin lives just as easily as shooting a gun. The excitement builds as he tries to unravel who the villains are while trying to survive in a virtual world.

Snow Crash

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8. Illuminae

More invading aliens and heroes on a quest for survival fill this trilogy. Computers are involved, of course, but what makes it unique is that our hero is a heroine. And, just like Ready Player One, Illuminae is set in a futuristic dystopian world.


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9. Neuromancer

Imagine if The Matrix went off the rails and banished someone after destroying his neural net. That’s what you would get in Neuromancer. Once a prolific hacker enters neural virtual worlds, the hero in a future dystopian world suffers a sort of “brain damage” and is banished from using any connection to the world he once knew. However, that rarely stops anyone in the real world from doing things they shouldn’t, and that’s precisely the plot twist you can expect from Neuromancer.


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10. Scott Pilgrim

If you love the movie adaption, you should have the original graphic novel series on your to-be-read list! This phenomenal 6-part graphic novel series follows Scott’s epic adventure to win the heart of Ramona. It’s funny lighthearted, and the characters are engaging.

Scott Pilgrim

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11. Warcross

Warcross equals freedom from the everyday misery of a future dystopian world. It’s a virtual game played by nearly everyone (much like the game in Ready Player One!).

The company and creator of Warcross engage the heroine to find those who may cheat in the tournament. She ultimately pursues the adventure to its final and penultimate moment. Success or failure? No spoilers here.


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People struggle most of their lives and feel like there’s no hope. It’s exactly why books like Ready Player One have so much appeal; their bleakly painted futures still reflect triumph in a challenging world. The characters in these books face untold challenges but then pursue and overcome those challenges to the “nth” degree.

Take some time to read several of these books when you feel you have no hope. They are uplifting, entertaining, and encouraging. You may even enjoy them for their retro references, whether you are old enough to remember them or not.

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