Read My Book and I’ll Give You My DeLorean

To promote the paperback release of his '80s-obsessed bestseller 'Ready Player One', author Ernest Cline is giving away his DeLorean -- if you can beat his videogame challenge.

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To promote his bestselling 2011 sci-fi novel Ready Player One, author Ernest Cline traveled from book tour event to book tour event in style: at the wheel of a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12, tricked out with a KITT-style grille light and Back to the Future flux capacitor.

Now, to promote the paperback release of the book, he’s going one better: readers who find the easter egg buried in the book and solve a series of online puzzles will get a DeLorean of their very own.

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It’s a fairly genius marketing tie-in for a book which, although it’s set in the dystopian future, is steeped in ’80s nostalgia. As Douglas Wolk wrote in TIME upon its release:

Ready Player One is immersed in the wave of video games that began with Zork and Pac-Man in 1980–even though its narrator, Wade Watts, is a teenager in the grim, gray mid-America of 2045. He lives in a trailer park where mobile homes are stacked dozens of levels high, and his dream is to inherit the late zillionaire James Halliday’s fortune by becoming the first person to conquer the ultimate video game: a puzzle whose solution demands deep knowledge of the nerd culture of Halliday’s ’80s childhood, the golden afternoon of Real Genius and the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Max Headroom.

Like Watts, readers must find a secret web address hidden somewhere in the text of the hardcover and paperback editions of Ready Player One, and then win three video game challenges of increasing difficulty. The winner won’t be getting Cline’s book tour car — as the author explains in the video announcing the contest, he is “way too attached” to that one — but a 1981 model he recently bought on eBay, with slightly less bling (although it does have its own flux capacitor). But any aspiring Marty McFlys shouldn’t expect a cakewalk: as Cline says, “I would be a boldfaced liar if I said the easter egg was easy to find,” noting that the hardback has been out for 10 months and to his knowledge, nobody has discovered its secret yet. We’re betting he ends up keeping that DeLorean himself.

MORE: Ready Player One: A Videogame Shrine to the Past
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