One person's interpretation of utopia is everyone else's worst nightmare so there's just no such thing as utopia no matter how much you tryMelissa Kane
Imagine Willy Wonka meets The Matrix and there is Ready Player One.
Set in the 2040s, the science fiction novel describes a world gripped by environmental, economic and social problems where people retreat into virtual reality to escape.
And Wodonga Wise Owls book club secretary Melissa Kane "couldn't put it down".
"I love dystopias and this was very relatable in how I see my child engaging with Fortnite the game and seeing the future that it could become," she said.
"It just seems all so realistic and possible in the very near future, which was terrifying."
A law clerk who lives in Thurgoona with her family, Mrs Kane also liked the 1980s references in Ernest Cline's debut novel.
"These people, all society, live in virtual reality as much as they possibly can," she said.
"Like, no one's talking to anyone and we can see society's going down that path already, with everyone just going to their screen, it's just next level."
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Ready Player One belongs firmly in Mrs Kane's favourite genre, which also includes titles like 1984, Brave New World and A Handmaid's Tale.
"I would love to build a utopia world where it is happy all the time and as soon as you start reading dystopias, which are essentially a utopia in someone's eyes, you see that it's just impossible," she said.
"Because one person's interpretation of utopia is everyone else's worst nightmare so there's just no such thing as utopia no matter how much you try.
"It's always, 'Thank goodness it's not like that' and then when you read the climate dystopias as well you're just, 'Oh, I hope it's not going to happen'."
Mrs Kane only recently watched the movie based on Ready Player One, which was first published in 2011.
"And I hated it, it was so different to the book, they ruined it," she said.
"The beginning and the ending were the same but everything in between was just artistic licence.
"I would always prefer to read, I think, movies just can't go into the depth that a book does, and all the background that you miss out on.
"I read before I go to sleep every night because I can't shut my brain off otherwise."
The long-running Wodonga Wise Owls comprises 10 women of varying ages and backgrounds and a diverse range of reading material.
"There is no pressure to finish a book," Mrs Kane said.
"But it is better to engage in the conversation if you have read the book. You will get spoilers if you have not finished the book, can't help it, sorry, that's your bad!"
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