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438 pages, Paperback
First published June 1, 1992
¹Remember 'Friends' episode where Rachel tries to make English trifle for Thanksgiving desert, but because of a couple pages unfortunately sticking together ends up making half English trifle and half the shepherd's pie? Joey was baffled that the rest of the gang found the dish unpalatable:
'I mean, what's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!'
“We are all susceptible to the pull of viral ideas. Like mass hysteria. Or a tune that gets into your head that you keep humming all day until you spread it to someone else. Jokes. Urban legends. Crackpot religions. Marxism. No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information.”Here's a glimpse of the plot, as much as I can listlessly muster. Hiro Protagonist, our hero and protagonist (cleverly annoying or annoyingly clever, I'm not quite sure) is a hacker in a future completely corporatized and fractured by consumerism America. He delivers pizza for the Mafia franchise by day and in his spare time hangs around Metaverse, a computer-based simulated reality where he is a sword-fighting badass with a juicy piece of expensive (virtual) real estate and important friends. To those having trouble picturing this, think of ‘The Matrix’ as compared to the gloomy existence outside of it. Y. T. is his sidekick, a Kourier with a healthy dose of vital spunk and kindness to animals that just may result in the most spectacular payback at the most crucial moment. Uncle Enzo is the head of the Mafia franchise, and does not like late pizza deliveries - he has his reasons.
“This Snow Crash thing--is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?”
Juanita shrugs. “What's the difference?”
² Y.T., while being far from an excellent character, was at least a ray of (grumpy) sunshine in the otherwise grey landscape of this novel. She has spunk and heart and confidence that is engaging and does not strike fakes notes that often. She made me almost care, and for this I appreciate her character. If only the rest if the book had the same spirit...Maybe it was the inability to interweave the plot threads into a coherent storyline, to create a bigger whole out of separate parts. The ideas are there, the concepts are there; what's missing is cohesiveness able to pull them together, untangle them and weave a net captivating the readers' brains and imagination. Without this cohesiveness, even the wildest and most daring ideas - like Stephenson's unconventional approach to viruses, for instance - remain disjointed, underdeveloped, unfinished, unpolished, like the refugee Raft in his novel, made of heaps of refuse clumped together trying to make a whole but failing at it.
“Hiro is so bright and creative but needs to work harder on his cooperation skills.”The gear in this futuristic world is really half the fun. Hiro (aka The Deliverator ) has a uniform made of an “arachnofiber weave” that would put the tactical turtleneck to shame any day. Even the relatively lame Metacops get to have night vision goggles.