korty's Reviews > Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Oct 31, 2007

really liked it
Read in January, 1992

Cyberpunk’s next generation pretty much began here. Written by someone who -unlike William Gibson- actually knows computers, this anime in novel form is one of those rare SF books that is read by many non-SF readers.

On a personal note, this is probably the only book I’ll ever read whose main character is half black and half Japanese, just like me! When I first read it, I was working at a pizza place, just like the protagonist, and I actually got fired around the same time I got to the point of him losing his job as well. Also, my first name is Hiroshi and he goes by Hiro. Cool, huh? OK, aside from those neat little coincidences, we are not at all alike. It just made reading it all the more fun for me. Plus I hated that job.

Admittedly, there are certain aspects of this book that are a tad dated now (it was written in 1991), and he can’t quite get past certain stereotypes of Japanese people that many Westerners harbor. Still, there is some fun bit of social commentary and parody on just about every other page, and Stephenson satirizes globalization years before most people even knew what globalization is.

There is also some really fascinating stuff involving the concept of memetic viruses, which he ties to Sumerian mythology and the Tower of Babel. I know that a lot of people find this part of the book to be boring, but I was fully engrossed. The kind of thing I live for when I read SF.
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02/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Ren the Unclean I read the stereotyping stuff in the book (it applies to more than just the Japanese people) as part of the humor and went along with the franchising of most of America that he describes. I can see your point though.

Good review.

James Man, don't call it anime in novel form. The book is great but I can't stand anime.

korty You know, saying you don't like anime is like saying you don't like books written in English; too broad. Anime isn't a genre. It is just a word used to describe animated films and television shows that come from Japan. That includes, horror science fiction, fantasy, comedy, drama, romance, etcetera, plus the various and numerous genre hybrids. So unless it is just the from Japan part that you “can’t stand” you might want to reconsider making sweeping generalizations.

I do, however, understand how a person might come to an anti-anime state of mind considering the amount of crap anime there is out there. I personally only like about 20 percent of the anime I have encountered. But that 20 percent has been freaking brilliant (or at least sufficiently entertaining). Of course, that percentage also applies to most other media products across the board. For instance, I love a good horror film, but a lot of them suck. Like anything, if you tread past the crap, you’ll eventually find the good stuff.

I suppose in my description I could have said the book is a GOOD anime in book form, but that seems a little obvious.

message 4: by Consumer (new) - added it

Consumer I find it blatantly pointless that you even mention that it's even like an anime to begin with if you turn around and demean the implications from which you and James referred to in your posts. If anime is so completely broad, then you're only using the example to emphasize the animated aspect or the Japanese aspect.

By your analogy, it would be like saying it's an English story in book form. So perhaps you shouldn't be a complete elitist turning unnecessarily racially defensive just because you're half Japanese.

And frankly, I feel anime is terrible. Even with fluent Japanese, I can only stand watching dubbed versions with good English-speaking voice actors because Japanese anime voice acting is generally so terrible and unnatural. The art style is off-putting and I find myself having to work to overlook distasteful aspects of anime just to enjoy its, hopefully, good story.

korty Thanks for sharing

Andy I enjoyed the Sumerian/Babel angle as well. Probably my favorite part of the book.

Micah Stafford Don't hate on William Gibson!

message 8: by James (last edited Apr 22, 2014 09:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

James I don't even remember writing that comment, but 5 years later (mostly spent in Tokyo, I might add, translating patents at a Japanese law firm), and I still don't like anime. I've seen a lot, too. I remember thinking I wouldn't mind reading Serial Experiments Lain if it were a book, but that's as close as I've ever gotten to liking anime.

korty Oh, I am not hating on Gibson. He and Bruce Sterling are the reasons I got into the whole cyberpunk thing. I said that only because Gibson himself has stated that he knew nothing about computers when he came up with the idea for his first books and short stories.

Micah Stafford Oh cool

korty James wrote: "I don't even remember writing that comment, but 5 years later (mostly spent in Tokyo, I might add, translating patents at a Japanese law firm), and I still don't like anime. I've seen a lot, too. I..."

That's cool. I am a firm believer in variety. If everyone liked the same things, the world would be a boring place. I responded to you the way I did, just because your post seemed kind of negative and broad, without really adding anything to the conversation. I don't in any way think you are a bad person for not liking things that I like.

On a side note, that's cool you have been able to spend so much time in Japan. Are you hapa as well? I got to spend a good 6.5 weeks there in the early 2000's and loved it. Got to spend time with my dad's side of the family and went to a lot of alternative/punk rock shows at small clubs.

Micah Stafford What do you mean by anime novel form

message 13: by nutri (new) - added it

nutri anime in novel form - very well said!

Kevin Gibson's Neuromancer was written in 1984 so it is more or less logic he didn't knew about computers (i am referring to personal computers who started appearing late 70ies). By 1992, computers had already taken a big leap forward. Even the commercial internet was already available by that time.

Leighanne Hoskey I thought he was half black and half Korean.

message 16: by Koba (new) - added it

Koba I also thought he's half black and half Korean, but I guess he identifies more with Japan than Korea. his Korean mom was in Japan and all he really knows is American and Japan. anyway, I actually really loved the "anime in novel form" comment. I don't know why but it's so true - and it's very entertaining read

Taylor Allred Regardless it was a good book!

Caleb I think it's implied in the Black Sun scenes that he even understands Japanese.

Rajai I'm enjoying my goggles aka PSVR, feeling like we are much in the future now. Of course, the main problem is the nausea

message 20: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz "Snow Crash" takes place basically now, or ten years ago. It's no longer a book set in the future, it's a book set in a parallel universe. And we may have just found Hiro Protagonist's counterpart here!

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