Selena's Reviews > Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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Oct 10, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: thebest, 2009
Recommended to Selena by: Jeff
Read in January, 2009

I don’t think that reading Snow Crash has the same effect in 2009 as reading it would have in 1992, the year it was published. Stephenson creates for us a world so absurd that you can’t help but buy into it. The Mafia controlling pizza delivery, the US being a city-state and the Internet - or Metaverse - being your very own Sims game - all seemingly very plausible.

The story follows Hiro Protagonist - jack of all trades. He is the world’s greatest swordsman (though in the Metaverse), a pizza-delivery guy, an information-collector for the Central Intelligence Corporation and of course, a renowned hacker. In fact, he helped create the Metaverse with his friend Da5id. He resides in a storage unit at the U-Stor-It with his friend Vitaly Chernobyl, a very famous rock star. I should also mention that Hiro organizes Vitaly’s concerts. Like I said, jack of all trades. Apart from the storage unit, all Hiro has to his name is a laptop and some Japanese swords. One would think that a man with that much talent would have a penthouse or a club in the Metaverse, at least.

The story begins when his cocky friend Da5id tries this new drug called Snow Crash - which Da5id’s ex-wife and Hiro’s ex-girlfriend (same person, may I add) warned him against. Hiro, his ex-girlfriend Juanita and his 15-year old friend Y.T. - a modern-day skaterboarding courier - are left to figure out why Da5id has physically collapsed because of a bitmap on a screen.

The story goes beyond the typical action sword-fighting stuff. The tale dips into the history of Christianity, the story of Babel and Sumerian culture. Without bringing in these ancient elements, I don’t know if the story would have been as appealing and enjoyable for me. The juxtaposition of past and future worked in his favor to create a plausible story.

I only read this book on the very persistent recommendation of my boyfriend. And I’m so glad that he kept at it. I’m not typically a fan of cyberpunk but I feel this book goes beyond that. I’m good with computers and technology in general but I can’t code much at all. This didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the book at all because even though Stephenson himself is incredibly tech savvy - he doesn’t shove it in your face. I sincerely appreciated that the book did not make me feel stupid and instead let me figure out the story at about the same time as the characters did.

This is yet another book where I have to say that you should not let the cyberpunk label get to you. The ties to linguistics and former, nearly forgotten religions pushed the book past just being cyberpunk or science fiction.

And with a name as witty as Hiro Protagonist, how can you resist giving Neil Stephenson a chance?
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Reading Progress

01/06/2009 page 100
21.28% 1 comment
01/08/2009 page 300
63.83% "I kind of want to name my child Hiro Protagonist."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Jean-marcel I enjoyed this book, and yeah, the stuff about religion and languages and mythologies was interesting; felt like I was in Umberto Eco territory for a while there! What did you think of the ending? I thought the bottom fell out of the book in a major way; the end left me with this "ok, so that's it then?" feeling. I've almost never felt this kind of polarity with another book; the beginning, on the other hand, with Hero trying to get his pizza to a house as fast as possible and crashing into the pool, was one of the most arresting and awesome and funny novel openings I can recall reading. Shame he couldn't hold onto that, I think.


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