Something tells me Ernest Cline once worked in a call center


I am reading Ready Player One, a superb science fiction novel written by Ernest Cline. The book is on just about everyone’s top-ten fiction list for 2011 and rightfully so. I’m actually dreading the day I finish it and wont have it to read anymore.

It’s really, really good.

Last night I got to the point in the story where the main character takes a job in a call center providing tech support. Though it takes place in the year 2044, it doesn’t seem all that much changes from present day call center technical support.

From page 207 of Ready Player One:

Helpful Helpdesk Inc. took millions of calls a day, from all over the world. Twenty-four seven, three sixty-five. One angry, befuddled cretin after another. There was no downtime between calls because there were always several hundred morons in the call queue, all of them willing to wait on hold for hours to have a tech rep hold their hand and fix their problem. Why bother looking up the solution online? Why try to figure the problem out on your own when you could have someone else do your thinking for you?

I don’t think truer words have been written. Ernest Cline has to have worked at a call center.

I’m starting to think the Hugo Awards are kind of silly and stupid

The Hugo Awards are given each year for great works in science fiction and fantasy for the prior year. This year’s winner for Best Novel is two novels, Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis.

Blackout was published first and then All Clear was published as a sequel. How can two books win one award? It sounds like a basic math problem to me. Since both books won the Hugo, does this mean Willis gets two fancy rocket trophies?

No, she doesn’t.

Blackout isn’t even the beginning of the story. The story begins with Doomsday Book, published in 1992. I tried reading it awhile ago, but I found it to be a tad boring. The pacing was slow. Reading it made me feel as though I had taken a fistful of Excedrin PM and washed it down with a forty of malt liquor.

I wanted to read it. I really did. It involves time travel, a genre I love, and it won the Hugo in 1993. For a book to win such a respected award, it has to be good, right?

Right.

Let this be a lesson to sci-fi authors everywhere. If you want to win the Hugo for Best Novel, write two novels, not just one. A single novel just wont cut it.