Mark Bao's Reviews > Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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's review
May 14, 2014

really liked it

4.5 stars. Mike Godwin is right on target when he describes this book as the "manic apotheosis of cyberpunk science fiction," at least the manic part. What I both loved and disliked about this book was its deep interconnectedness of technology and reality, man and machine, and all the ridiculous Sumerian mythology. The idea that these "me"s of what are basically ideas spread subconsciously throughout people just like a virus, and that this nam-shub anti-virus thing can disrupt this, and how that connected with the story at hand, and what that means for ideas, computers, and virtual reality — I mean, awesome. But I wished that stuff would have taken less of a "side explaining story" that is expounded upon at length in certain parts but is then forgotten.

That seems to be a pretty recurring theme in this book: that it goes pretty deeply on something, and then there's a big question mark on the follow through. Many holes of "why didn't x?" or "but what happened to y?" persist past the end of the story, which is frustrating. Similarly frustrating are the all-too-convenient aspects of the plot that crop up near the end.

But, the mostly fast-paced plot, crazy but, yes, recognizable dystopian setting, and the ideas of the meta-virus as a sort of agent of change à la Darwinian evolution or the root of consciousness or something like that, all that make this an insanely complex and engrossing story. The ideas of "me"s and nam-shubs as neurolinguistic tools of programming the mind are pretty wild, and the use of the Metaverse alongside reality was a fantastic blend that may tell us what we might expect from the combination of virtual reality and actual reality when it comes.

Flawed but compelling all the same.
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Reading Progress

May 14, 2014 – Shelved
May 14, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
May 18, 2015 – Started Reading
May 18, 2015 –
page 43
9.15% "First fiction in a while, and fun so far"
May 20, 2015 –
page 271
57.66% "Can't… put… it… down…"
May 21, 2015 – Finished Reading

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