No, that was Contact. That movie was annoying as hell.
I can't say the alien situation in this book was all that much better.
There is a lot that's enjoyable about Kline's writing. Even with sucky first person and all. He may be headed into overkill with the pop culture references but they are still fun references. And Wil Wheaton's narration is just plain great. He's not the best with accents, unfortunately, but he brings a lot to the characters and sound effects, etc.
There is a lot of preamble before the story actually gets going. It takes place over two days and a lot happens so some of hat beginning could have been cut to get into the action quicker and give more time to areas that need it.
The biggest problem with this book is plausibility. Obviously it's SF/F so you have to suspend disbelief. That's not the problem because everything you question about the alien backstory our protagonist, Zach, questions as well. Still, lampshading something that doesn't make sense without resolution doesn't make it better. It's like when Supernatural admitted to jumping the shark with Papa Winchester's third son in the title of the episode. That doesn't make it okay!!
At the end when
we're told that this whole thing was a test, created by an AI created by a conglomerate of peaceful alien civilizations it's like a giant bullshitometer goes off. What peaceful civilizations would provoke a war with another as a test and kill over 30 million innocents as part of it? Peaceful my ass. Zach questions some of this and it ends with him wanting to keep an eye on them because he doesn't buy into everything they said.
Well, okay, good. But that still leaves the reader in a state of WTF!? at the end. I also had a problem with Zach being allowed to make a choice for everyone.
Also, of course, I really hated what went down with
Zach's father. Pretty much everything about that part of the story I called beforehand, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with what happened. You mean he couldn't have come up with a better plan than a Kamikaze end-run as a distraction? With all the genius help they had? They could have set up another distraction. Just seems like a really dick move to reveal you're alive to your family after 17 years and kill yourself in the same damn day. Even if it is to save the world.
Not to mention them being forced to fake their deaths and stay solitary for so long was pretty damn dumb, too.
And can someone please explain to me why the Admiral was allowed to speak at Xavier's memorial a year later? The Admiral is the entire reason he's dead!! There is no way in anyone's hell I'd let the man responsible for my father's death speak at his memorial! WTF?!
Sorry this review isn't as helpful to you if you don't want to read spoilers. It's just one of those times it's impossible to talk around what happens.
There are definitely fun aspects to the story but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did Ready Player One.