Andrea's Reviews > Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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Jun 18, 2007

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bookshelves: speculative-fiction
Read in April, 2005

While cliches like "fast-paced techno-thriller" might apply to this book, unlike most books with phrases like that on the cover, this book deserves it (and in a good way). The technology is both believeable and creative, and the characters, while not exactly loveable, are definitely interesting. I can't help but compare this book to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, in that they both deal with ancient and modern codes and hidden messages in religion, art, and science. Both are actually pretty far-fetched in some places, but in contrast to Da Vinci Code, Snow Crash is far more sophisticated and far-reaching in the effects of its hypotheses. In addition, Stephenson just knows so much more about technology, so while Brown often sounds silly writing about computers (as in Digital Fortress, where mainframe computers can catch viruses just by looking at data), Stephenson sounds sophisticated and cool.

It seemed to me, however, the book was trying a little too hard to be "edgy" -- characters use rougher language than I would have pictured, and in some cases seem almost too heartless. Granted, it does take place in a sort of look-out-for-number-one post-nuclear America, but I had a hard time believing that it would be that bad.

In addition to the technological realisticness of the book, my favorite part is Stephenson's style. He has some of the best metaphors (something was described as looking as out of place as broken nails in JELLO), a vivid style, and a lot of humor, too.

If you like reading Slashdot, and the idea of a hacker who is also an expert with the katana/wakizashi sounds super-cool to you, you will probably like this book. Otherwise, you probably won't.
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message 1: by Eric (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Eric To be clear, the reason "Snow Crash" seems like a cliche "fast-paced techno-thriller" is because it largely invented the genre, along with William Gibson's Neuromancer. Snow Crash was published in 1992, before the dot com bubble, before Second Life, before AOL rose and fell, before most civilized people knew anything about the internet. While today some of its ideas might seem quaint, it's because the book essentially gave birth to those ideas (i.e., massive multiplayer online games).

Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash for an idea of its influence.


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