“No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful.”

This is one of Wade's OASIS login prompts; it is also a line from the song "Don't Let's Start" by the band They Might Be Giants. These words highlight the hopelessness experienced by millions of disaffected citizens in Wade's dystopian world. In terms of reality, Wade understands that his immersion rig is an "elaborate contraption" for deceiving his senses, and that his real life is far from everything he yearns for. Essentially, the phrase represents Wade's philosophy about life and his attempt to accept the brutal realities of his existence.

"You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada."

This is Wade's original OASIS login prompt. The phrase references a 1984 movie called The Last Starfighter, where Alex Rogan (the male teenage protagonist) is recruited by the alien Centauri to defend planet Rylos from the Ko-Dan Empire. The troops of Ko-Dan are led by Xur. Similar to Wade, Alex lives in a trailer-park community and finds himself battling evil forces in a bid to preserve individual freedoms.

“That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because...

(The entire section is 757 words.)