Armada by Ernest Cline
My absolute favorite book of 2011 was Ready Player One so when I found out that Cline was coming out with a new book I was overjoyed. So much so I bothered my co-worker to please please please grab me a copy at Book Expo. Not only did he get me an advance copy, he got me a personalized signed copy! Woo hoo! Added bonus, the author added the inscription: MTFBWYA. If you know what that means this is a book for you. Even if you don’t (hint: think Star Wars) but you enjoy science fiction alien movies you’ll find something to like here too.
Zack Lightman is an ordinary teen getting ready to graduate high school and thinking about going to full time employment at his local videogame store. He feels he isn’t really good at much, but he excels at playing Armada, a videogame where you pilot drones to take down alien drones trying to invade Earth. One day Zack is daydreaming and staring out the window of his classroom when he sees a Glaive fighter straight out of his favorite game hovering above the schoolyard. The ship zooms away before he can alert his classmates and needless to say Zack is a little disturbed. As he thinks about what this could mean (alien invasion, he’s going crazy?) he remembers his dead father’s notebooks from the attic that point to a conspiracy to cover up alien invaders. Could his dad have been right?
The videogames Zach and his friends love are actual drone operating software that will be used by the Earth Defense Alliance to repel the alien invasion that is happening in, well, about six hours. The action is fast and furious and the references to many beloved science fiction movies and books (Last Starfighter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Ender’s Game) pop up often. A really enjoyable story that is the perfect geeky beach read.