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Ernest Christy Cline (born March 29, 1972) is an American novelist, slam poet, and screenwriter. He is known for his novels Ready Player One and Armada; he also co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Ernest Cline
Ernest Cline by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Cline at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Ernest Christy Cline[1]

(1972-03-29) March 29, 1972 (age 47)[1]
ResidenceAustin, Texas, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter, artist, poet
Spouse(s) Edit this at Wikidata

Life and careerEdit

Cline was born and raised in Ashland, Ohio, the son of Faye Imogene (née Williams) and Ernest Christy Cline.[1][3] As a youth in the 1970s and 1980s, Cline was "addicted to video games and movies," especially Star Wars, the films of John Hughes, and the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.[3] He worked in information technology in his twenties and worked on screenwriting in his spare time.[3]

Spoken wordEdit

From 1997 to 2001, Cline performed his original work at Austin Poetry Slam venues. He was the Austin Poetry Slam Champ in 1998 and 2001 and competed on the Austin Poetry Slam Teams at the 1998 Austin National Poetry Slam and the 2001 Seattle National Poetry Slam.[4][5] His most popular spoken-word pieces include "Dance, Monkeys, Dance," "Nerd Porn Auteur," and "When I Was a Kid."[6][7] Cline subsequently reworked "Dance Monkeys Dance" into a faux educational filmstrip, which became a popular viral video that has now been translated into 29 different languages.[citation needed]

In 2001, Cline self-published a chapbook collection of his spoken-word writing, The Importance of Being Ernest, and released an album, The Geek Wants Out. In fall 2013 Write Bloody Publishing published a new edition of The Importance of Being Ernest with new cover art by Gary Musgrave and new interior illustrations by Len Peralta.


In June 2010, Cline sold his first novel, Ready Player One, a book that takes place in the 2040's with a dystopian feel to the world. The book is about a kid who tries to solve the keys to find a billionaire's wealth in a sort of competition. The book was sold in a bidding war to the Crown Publishing Group (a division of Random House).[8] The film rights to the novel were sold the following day, to Warner Bros., with Cline co-writing the screenplay.[9] Ten months later, with the hardcover release coinciding with the paperback release, Cline revealed on his blog that both the paperback and hardcover editions of Ready Player One contain an elaborately hidden Easter egg. This clue formed the first part of a series of staged video gaming tests, similar to the plot of the novel. Cline also revealed that the competition's grand prize would be a 1981 DeLorean. The prize was awarded in 2012.[10] The paperback is currently in its 17th printing.

Cline's second novel, Armada, was released on July 14, 2015, by Crown Publishing Group.[11] On December 7, 2015, Cline announced the sale of the film rights to Armada to Universal Pictures for a reported seven million dollar sum.[12]

A third novel was announced in August 2015.[13] It has been confirmed that this novel is to be a sequel to Ready Player One.[14] However, no information about it was given, other than its genre, science fiction.

As screenwriterEdit

In 1996, Cline wrote a fan fiction script, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, a sequel to W. D. Richter's 1984 film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and made it available on the Internet.[15]

In 1998, Cline's screenplay Fanboys generated local interest in Austin, Texas, including mention on Harry Knowles' website Ain't It Cool News. In late 2005, the Weinstein Company purchased his script for Fanboys, casting Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, and Kristen Bell as the main characters. Fanboys was released on February 6, 2009.[16]

Also in the summer of 2008, Lakeshore Entertainment announced that they would be producing Cline's screenplay, Thundercade.[17][18] Thundercade follows the story of a video game junkie in his mid-30s who learns that a young gamer has beaten a record he set when he was a teenager and who then travels with his friends to the world's largest gaming championship, Thundercade, to restore his former glory.[18]

Cline co-wrote the film adaptation of his novel, Ready Player One,[9] and has been hired to write the film version of his novel Armada.[12]

In 2016, Cline wrote an episode for the 14th season of the web show Red vs. Blue. The episode, titled "Mr. Red vs. Mr. Blue", was a parody of the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs.





  • The Importance of Being Ernest (2013)[22]

Personal lifeEdit

In 2016, he married poet/nonfiction writer Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, whom he met at the 1998 National Poetry Slam.[23]

Cline’s all-time favorite video game is Black Tiger also found in both book and movie,[24] which figures prominently into the plot of his novel Ready Player One.


  1. ^ a b c "Ernest Christy Cline (b. 1972)". Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  2. ^ John R. Alden. "Ernest Cline's smart 'Ready Player One' makes cybernerds fun", Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 22, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Hamburger, Ellis (March 11, 2014). "Ernest Cline is the luckiest geek alive". The Verge. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  4. ^ "Postscripts: Bloomin' Poets – Books". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Smith, Clay (July 13, 2001). "Postscripts". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ Wheaton, Wil (August 15, 2011). "You want to accept Anorak's Invitation. Trust me". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  7. ^ Whittaker, Richard (October 27, 2012). "Wizard World: Wil Wheaton Versus the Burrito". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  8. ^ Coll, Kevin (June 21, 2010) Cool Novel Ready Player One Gets Publishing Rights and Movie Deal.
  9. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (June 18, 2010). "Deadline Hollywood – Warner Bros and De Line Pictures Win Book Auction For Ready Player One". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  10. ^ "Ready Player One DeLorean prize awarded". Boing Boing. August 31, 2012.
  11. ^ "A Long Overdue Update". Ernie's Blog. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Universal sets sail with 'Armada'". Variety. December 6, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Busch, Anita (August 10, 2015). "'Ready Player One' Author Ernest Cline Seals Monster Deal For Next Book; All Eyes On Film Rights". Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "Ernie Cline is writing a sequel to Ready Player One". The Virge. December 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League by Ernest Cline". Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "Contact Weistein Co. To See Fanboys In Your City". Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Lakeshore picks up 'Thundercade'". April 9, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Fleming, Tatiana Siegel, Michael (April 9, 2008). "Lakeshore's game for 'Thundercade'". Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The Importance of Being Ernest' page at publisher Write Bloody Publishing's Website".
  23. ^ "VOWS: "Cristin Aptowicz, Ernest Cline"". The New York Times. June 19, 2016.
  24. ^ Bilton, Nick (August 22, 2012). "One on One: Ernest Cline, Author of 'Ready Player One'". Bits Blog. Retrieved April 4, 2018.

External linksEdit