Simeon's Reviews > Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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Oct 09, 11

bookshelves: sci-fi
Read from February 07 to 09, 2011

Written in the present tense, which is awkward and unengaging, brimfuls of technological deus ex machina remove all tension from an already slow plot-line.

The characters are interesting, hence the two stars, but even they felt lacking and emotionally disengaged from their own story, which had the futile makings of something original.

The ending is atrocious, preceded by wastelands of chapter-length explanation, and a fairy-tale misinterpretation of Neurolinguistics that seems to have been written solely to remind us that not everyone is cut out to be a scientist, as some people must invariably grow up to write pop-fiction.

If you're looking for cyberpunk, read Altered Carbon
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02/07/2011 page 320
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Jim (last edited Feb 09, 2011 07:27AM) (new) - added it

Jim Neal Stephenson usually writes a paragraph when a sentence will do fine.

MY intro to Nhis work was long but worthwhile.

In 1996 he wrote:

Mother Earth Mother Board

"The hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and wondrous meatspace of three continents, chronicling the laying of the longest wire on Earth."

Print friendly link:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4....

The "web version" with all the ads is 56 web pages:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4....

It took up, literally, 70 pages with tons of cool pictures in the news stand copy. Anyway - it was a fine bit of science writing.

He has a "short" essay - about 30,000 words:

"In the Beginning was the Command Line" - which is a fine survey of the post-PC history of computer.

Downloadable here:

http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginnin...

I can recommend Cryptonomicon, if only for content. I estimate it upwards of 300,000 words, a long novel but engaging.

His first of the "Baroque Series" had some interesting snapshots of Issac Newton, but the rest was turgid and unfocused.

So, our friend Neal's output is a mixed bag, but sometimes worthwhile, and his non-fiction approaches brilliance.


James Oden I'm extremely agreeing with your second to last paragraph.


message 3: by Simeon (last edited Mar 12, 2011 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Simeon Yeah, I don't know what all the fuss was about with this book. It's alright, except... its style is so non-fictionesque and unstylized. Particularly compared to other cyberpunk novels that actually feel groundbreaking.


message 4: by Laura (last edited Jan 04, 2012 12:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura In the beginning I think he mentions that it was meant to be a graphic novel and then switched at the last second to be a book. I felt that explained most of my misgivings about the way the story was wrote, but not why so many adore it.


Whitney I think it's probably just me, but I'm much more drawn in by Stephenson's narrative style and flow than I ever was by William Gibson's (which, I guess in the sci-fi world, is heresy.) Neuromancer's been sitting on my bookshelf for months and I've never been able to get past the first few chapters.


Alejandro Agree with you.


message 7: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo Walsh I very much agree with you. The book got off to a great, very engaging start. And at the end, I was shrugging. "Is that it?"

I also liked your comment that the book's premise was a "fairy-tale misinterpretation of Neurolinguistics that seems to have been written solely to remind us that not everyone is cut out to be a scientist." Because it is the most crazy, non-scientific "Science Fiction" premise I've ever read. Sort of Dan Brown for the computer geek crowd, with zero basis in fact...


Roman I remember enjoying this book the first time I read it about a decade ago, but (trying) to re-read Snow Crash is proving difficult as I am bored to tears and I'm only a chapter or so into it.

Agree that Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon is an awesome cyberpunk novel. The entire Takeshi Kovacs trilogy (of which AC is the first book) is great - especially AC and the final novel, Woken Furies.


message 9: by FYL (new) - rated it 4 stars

FYL How this piece of crap "review" is the top one is beyond me. I recommend anyone interested in the actual review of the book, instead of a bunch of buzzwords masquerading as one, to check the amazon page of the book, the reviews there are way better than this piece of feces.


Roman FYL wrote: "How this piece of crap "review" is the top one is beyond me. I recommend anyone interested in the actual review of the book, instead of a bunch of buzzwords masquerading as one, to check the amazon..."

You do know reviews are subjective opinions...right? Even the ones on Amazon!


message 11: by FYL (new) - rated it 4 stars

FYL Roman wrote: "FYL wrote: "How this piece of crap "review" is the top one is beyond me. I recommend anyone interested in the actual review of the book, instead of a bunch of buzzwords masquerading as one, to chec..."

The point is this individual in his review hasn't taken the trouble of actually substantiating his assertions. The ones on Amazon are much better regardless of their rating and actually say something about the book .


Jillian Boston Hey. I actually couldn't get through the book. The story was buried under all cyber-gunk and I could never quite muster a connection or a care about the characters. If I can't care about the characters I find it difficult to stick with them to the bitter end. It's good to know I'm not the only one.


Nottyboy Overhyped. Barely rises above fanfic quality.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

"It's good to know I'm not the only one."

It's good to know you're one of the few.


Tasteflavored pretentious reviewer is pretentious


Michael I wonder how many books engender such diametrically opposed reviews. Personally, I loved it, but I am curious as to why those who didn't are so vehement.


James Oden Michael wrote: "I wonder how many books engender such diametrically opposed reviews. Personally, I loved it, but I am curious as to why those who didn't are so vehement."

I am one of the negative reviewer's, but as for mixed review I get it. No matter how you look at it this was a fun book. There are going to be some that won't be distracted by whatever warts we negative reviewers see and just enjoy the ride which is valid and even admirable. There were some things about the book that for some us just couldn't be ignored and detracted from the fun ride. Neither invalidates the others opinion.


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