The year is 2044, and humankind has retreated into the virtual world. Wade Watts escapes the ugliness of the real world by spending most of the day inside OASIS—the virtual dreamland where you can turn your imagination to reality, the adventure playground where you can visit any of the thousands of existing worlds. Like all other OASIS users, Wade dreams of finding the Easter egg left by creator James Halliday. Whoever solves Halliday's fiendish riddles and reaches the egg will be granted immense fortune and supreme power in OASIS. But one day, he comes upon the first Key. Suddenly, the world, which has long been quiet about the Hunt, begins to watch. Thousands of competitors scramble, including a powerful organization that will do anything in order to get to the prize. For Wade, to survive means to win, but to do so, he will have to stand up and go out into the real world—a place he has long been trying to escape.