Ernest Cline’s Armada: A Pop Culture Stuffed Sci-Fi Novel

For sci-fi fans who had the pleasure of reading Ready Player One by author Ernest Cline, Armada is definitely a novel you want to get your hands on. It’s a fast thrill ride filled with heavy nostalgia. It’s a must-read for anyone brought up in the pop culture world of the 80s and 90s.



Upon picking up this book I thought to myself, “Well if Ernest wrote a book as good as Ready Player One then surely this will be amazing”. I have to be honest here, the first two chapters were rather underwhelming for me. But, I forced myself to keep on reading and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I became invested in the characters.


Armada starts off with protagonist Zach Lightman, a lonely teenager who lost his father at a young age. He turns to video games as a source of comfort. Because his late father enjoyed gaming so much, it helps Zach feel more connected to the man he misses so much. Zach is good, better than good. He is at the top of this game and quickly snags one of the highest scores in Armada. When the game surprisingly turns out to be real, he realizes he is actually fighting for his own life and everyone else on earth. This is when readers really start to root for him.


The most exciting part of the book is the significant amount of pop culture references and easter eggs that Cline likes to use in his writing. If you are nostalgia heavy then this is right up your alley. From Star Wars and Power Rangers, to Van Halen and Queen, reading Armada and searching for easter eggs is like playing your own analogue game. This just adds another element of fun to the act of just simply reading a book. I mean, you’ve got to get a notebook just to make extensive lists of all the pop culture references you’ve found, and if you miss one you go back to find it!


After finishing Armada, I wondered about what an adaptation on the big screen would even look like. In my ChyFi opinion, Ready Player One is easily one of the best sci-fi novels of all time for...solid reasons. When the big news that incomparable Steven Spielberg (E.T, Jurassic Park, Jaws) was set to direct the film, die-hard fans were more than excited. However, besides the great cinematic effects and soundtrack - the story was warped and felt empty, which left myself and other Cline fans upset. How could they change the story around so much or try to fit the entire extensively detailed narrative into one film? Of course we would notice! Because of this, I am a little bit skeptical that if Armada does move ahead with a film adaptation there’s a probable chance of being disappointed again. We haven't heard any news of a film since 2018.

Image courtesy of Ernest Cline

All in all Armada is a great book. It’s an amazing adventure that I think everyone who has a passion for reading sci-fi needs to go on. I’m hoping that the self-proclaimed nerd himself, Ernest Cline, will get back on his game and give us a sequel or even a trilogy. Is it too much to ask for more Ready Player One books too? It’s what the fanboys and girls want!


You can find these two books at Armada by Ernest Cline and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


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