Review: ARMADA by Ernest Cline (Century)

ClineE-ArmadaUKThe highly-anticipated second novel from the author of Ready Player One

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada — in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills — as well as those of millions of gamers across the world — are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little… familiar?

Ready Player One, as I’ve said many times on here, completely blew me away. I was sent an ARC, and started it pretty much immediately. I devoured it in two gleeful, gloriously entertaining sittings, breaking only to get a few hours sleep. I’ve been waiting for Armada ever since. It was a very pleasant surprise, therefore, when an ARC arrived in the mail a few weeks back. With high expectations, and confidence that it would be another tale filled with geek references, nostalgia and gripping storytelling, I dove right in. What I found, however, thoroughly disappointed. Continue reading

Upcoming: ARMADA by Ernest Cline (Century)

ClineE-ArmadaUKErnest Cline‘s Ready Player One took the SFF community by storm — it was a perfect blend of nostalgia, fast-paced and gripping storytelling. With heart. And great characters. I loved it, and read it in two sittings (broken only by a short sleep). Many fans have been eagerly awaiting news of Cline’s follow-up, of course. Armada was announced as the title a while ago, but now we have firm publication dates. The novel is due to be published by Century in the UK on July 16th, 2015.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

Here’s the synopsis…

It’s just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He’s daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom — if he can make it that long without getting suspended again.

Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

At first, Zack thinks he’s going crazy.

A minute later, he’s sure of it. Because the UFO he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada — in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

But what Zack’s seeing is all too real. And his skills — as well as those of millions of gamers across the world — are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it. 

Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too… familiar? 

Armada is at once a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before — one whose every page is infused with author Ernest Cline’s trademark pop-culture savvy.

In other recent news, the movie adaptation of Ready Player One is going to be directed by Steven Spielberg. Which is pretty awesome. Armada is published in the US by Crown, on July 14th, 2015.

Upcoming: ARMADA by Ernest Cline (Crown)

ClineE-ArmadaAnyone who’s been following Civilian Reader for a while, should have spotted my glowing, gushing review of Ernest Cline’s debut novel, Ready Player One. Ever since I read that novel (devoured, it really), I have been on the look-out for information on his next fiction project. The other week, I stumbled across the information for Armada over on excellent The Book Smugglers website. So I’m going to shamelessly pinch the info from them, and share it here. Here’s the synopsis…

Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.

Armada is due to be published by Crown Publishing in the US (July 2014) – no news yet on the UK or other international publishers. Be sure to follow Cline on Twitter, too, for more up-to-the-minute news. I was also able to find the following image on Forces of Geek, which was categorised as “Poster”, but it was cool enough that I thought I’d share it here as well…

ClineE-Armada-Poster