I first discovered Ernie Cline several years ago on a podcast called IndieFeed Performance Poetry. His spoken word piece “Dance Monkeys Dance” was witty, thought-provoking, and humorous. But it was another piece called “When I Was a Kid” that really caught my attention. Packed with pop culture references that any 80s kid would appreciate, this hilarious piece managed to be both current and nostalgic — and super-duper delightful.
I went off in search of more work by Mr. Cline and soon found myself buried in the pages of his first novel, Ready Player One, a dystopian science-fiction adventure with a cyberpunk vibe. It was a page turner, packed with the same kind of pop culture references that I loved in “When I Was a Kid.” Ready Player One became one of my favorite books of the past decade, so I’m thrilled that one of my favorite directors, Steven Spielberg, will be directing the film (totally apropos!).
When I heard that Ernie was going to be in my area for the release of his second novel, Armada, there was no doubt about it. I reserved a seat immediately.
The Armada Event
Ernest Cline’s Armada event came on the heels of Comic Con, the annual geek-fest in San Diego that I lament missing every July (I’ll make it there one of these years!). The house was packed, and Ernie gave a slideshow presentation that chronicled his life growing up as a gamer and lover of 80s science-fiction movies with an emphasis on the games and movies that inspired Armada.
I’ve been to several author events, and this was by far the funnest and most engaging. This is geekdom, so the crowd was passionate, and Ernie was witty, funny, and gracious, very approachable. The audience was laughing and clapping almost the whole time. If you ever get a chance to catch Ernie in person, I highly recommend doing so.
The slideshow was followed by a Q&A session, and I got a chance to ask Ernie about how his time in spoken word fit into his journey as a writer. I write poetry and science fiction, so that intersection was something that I was especially interested in. Ernie said that doing spoken word boosted his confidence, and considering how at ease he is speaking in front of a crowd, that answer makes a lot of sense (and has me contemplating hitting some open mics!).
It’s awesome when things I love coalesce. This mix of poetry (spoken word), science fiction, and books was enthralling. I highly recommend checking out some of Ernie Cline’s spoken word and picking up one of his books. You’ll have a blast!