BBGT Reads Ernest Cline’s Armada

Hopefully everyone’s enjoying One With You, the final entry in the Crossfire series! I know I’m enjoying reading the final entry in the Crossfire series.

As you might have noticed, we happened to finish both of our books last week, meaning this week is all new books. And the second that we’ll be reading on Thursdays and Fridays is Armada, the second novel by sci fi writer Ernest Cline, which I kept thinking was titled Amanda until we got started. Just in case you made that mistake too. It’s not just you.

You may not know anything about this book! Here’s a summary we’ve stolen from Amazon, with love:

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?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is 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 the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Astute Bad Books, Good Times readers might pick up that what’s actually the important part of all that is the very House of Night-esque warning sign: “every page is infused with pop-culture savvy”. We’d like you to take a look at this absolutely gorgeous review breakdown on Amazon:

I actually sent this to Ariel, saying "LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS IS", so you know how doing this blog has fucked us up forever
I actually sent this to Ariel, saying “LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS IS”, so now you know how doing this blog has fucked us up forever

In short, Ernest Cline’s first novel, Ready Player One, was a smash-hit, is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg of all people, and was fairly well received. I’m the only person on my Goodreads network who hasn’t given that book five stars. But if there’s one thing that people can largely agree on, Ready Player One also gets described as “nostalgia porn”. You know the level of constant pop culture references we get in House of NightReady Player One made that look like pop culture reference amateur hour.

And then his second novel Armada was released, and – as you can guess from that review breakdown – this was where the charm started to fade.

And that’s probably all you need to know going into this book tomorrow? That’s certainly all knew before we picked it. We do like no research over here. One day that will probably go very badly for us.

If you’d still like to do a bit more to get ready before Ariel reads chapter one tomorrow, you can read my Ready Player One review to get an idea of the sort of thing we’re in for. I have complaints aside from how it’s sort of just a stream of pop culture references. That’d be boring – that’s everyone’s complaint.

See you tomorrow!



  1. AJ Reply

    That Amazon summary reminded me of Sword Art Online, only without the fanservice or the female deuteroganist-turned-love trophy. Here’s hoping that Armada doesn’t have any Asukas in it. Unless the Asuka of this book is named “Amanda”. I’m okay with that.

    You know the level of constant pop culture references we get in House of Night? Ready Player One made that look like pop culture reference amateur hour.

    -narrows eyes suspiciously-

    Not sure if that’s foreboding news for Armada or nothing really special, because from what I’ve read so far of HoN (ten outta twelve main novels plus four novellas as of this writing), it’s not exactly a challenge to make the pop cultural references in HoN look sparse.

  2. Bellomy Reply

    I am so happy someone else thought it was “Amanda” too. It’s not just me.

  3. Jena Reply

    I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one not wow’d by Ready Player One. I consider myself a pretty big nerd but just name-dropping paragraphed lists of nerdy things that existed doesn’t do it for me I guess.


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