Want a DeLorean? Solve sci-fi book's hidden brain-crushing puzzles

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:27 PM EST

Science fiction author Ernest Cline bought himself a sweet-ass 1982 DeLorean, customized it in true geek fashion—Back to the Future's flux capacitor, Knight Rider lights, etc—and drove it across the country to promote his book, Ready Player One. Now he's giving it away to the reader who finds an easter egg buried in the book.

Cline buried an easter egg in the pages of his futuristic-and-yet-dripping-with-1980s-nostalgia book, one that would lead to a website that, in turn, will lead to a series of videogame challenges. If you can beat the games, you'll win his DeLorean.

Sort of. As you'll see in this video, which explains everything you need to know about this contest, there are some things a geek simply won't part with.

Here's the official description of Ready Player One:

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Before you get all stricken with the coolness of this contest, it's worth remembering that the DeLorean is a notoriously troublesome car that all too often makes Worst Cars of All Time lists. Forewarned is forearmed.

(Via Time)