'Ready Player Two' Sequel Novel Will Ply Readers With More '80s References This November

Nearly a decade after Ernest Cline's Ready Player One sci-fi novel became a smash success, a sequel is on its way to ply you with even more '80s references (or perhaps we've reached the '90s now?). Ready Player Two, the long-awaited sequel to Cline's 2011 novel, is set to hit bookshelves this November.

Remember Ready Player One? Ernest Cline's glorified "We Heart the '80s" special was a massive hit when it was published in 2011, earning raves for its dystopian sci-fi story about a treasure hunt set in a worldwide virtual reality game, and eventually becoming a movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018. Well, the Penguin Random House imprint Ballantine Books remembers, and has set Cline's long-awaited sequel, Ready Player Two, for publication in North America on November 24, 2020.

Ballantine Books announced the November publication date for Ready Player Two on Wednesday, with pre-orders beginning today. Deadline reports that international publication dates will be announced in coming months, with the sequel expecting the exceed the 58 countries and 37 languages in which the original was published.

While no details have been released about the sequel's plot, anticipation is surely high for Ready Player Two, especially after Spielberg's 2018 blockbuster film turned the series into a massive global franchise, with Ready Player One raking in $582.9 million worldwide. Perhaps this novel suggests that a sequel movie could follow, though it's unlikely that Spielberg would return to direct, as the filmmaker rarely helms sequels. But if a filmmaker other than Spielberg were to take the directing reins, it's uncertain whether a sequel film would be as successful, as even the legendary filmmaker was barely able to elevate the paper-thin source material.

Cline's Ready Player One hit bookshelves right at the height of '80s nostalgia, with other '80s-themed titles soon to become pop culture phenomenons — five years later, Stranger Things would dominate the landscape, It would come back with a violent vengeance, and Ghostbusters would return to divisive reception. Ready Player One was at the forefront of that, and readers ate up Cline's story about a nerdy protagonist who can rattle off '80s references like he memorized all of Wikipedia. But aside from the warm glow of '80s nostalgia, there's not much to write home about for Ready Player One, which featured a generic and retrograde sci-fi dystopia plot, and juvenile writing that made for a breezy read but a forgettable experience. Now that we've reached the saturation point for '80s nostalgia, I wonder if people will realize that Cline's writing just isn't that good — especially if he's exhausted all the '80s references he could make with the first book.