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First published in 1992, Snow Crash is considered one of the seminal cyber punk novels I wasn t even sure what that meant when I picked it up I plucked it from the stacks at the used bookstore with the vague feeling this was one of those classics I m supposed to have read For once, the inside voice was right this was a book I didn t want to miss.The opening scene of a mad cap pizza delivery quickly draws the reader in Hiro Protagonist cringe , thirty year old hacker, chronically unsuited fo First published in 1992, Snow Crash is considered one of the seminal cyber punk novels I wasn t even sure what that meant when I picked it up I plucked it from the stacks at the used bookstore with the vague feeling this was one of those classics I m supposed to have read For once, the inside voice was right this was a book I didn t want to miss.The opening scene of a mad cap pizza delivery quickly draws the reader in Hiro Protagonist cringe , thirty year old hacker, chronically unsuited for the career track, has now found his longest term employment delivering pizzas for the Mafia, who now run pizza chains along withdubious enterprises He s racing against the clock, trying to get the pizza delivered so Uncle Enzo, spokesman and Don, doesn t have to apologize and give up a whole wad of cash His delivery credentials get him through most of the gated suburbs, but a short cut lands him in deep water Thankfully, a skateboarder who was hitching a lift using a special skater harpoon takes pity on him and completes the delivery with seconds to spare Her actions bring her to the attention of Uncle Enzo Hiro s actions, unfortunately cost him his job, but it isn t long before his genius ex girlfriend recruits him to find a virus that s wiping computers clean and hackers minds.That s just the first few pages It goes on to involve a shared computer simulation, religious evangelicals, an ear destroying rock concert, a sociopath on a motorcycle, a fusion powered attack dog and a floating raft like armada.Three and a half static y stars Unfortunately, my windy and critical review will have to be continued someplace permanent, where it won t be deleted.Find it at It had great world building, great concepts, and great satire, but story wise the last 20% completely falls apart I was a little disappointed by the ending Also, I had a hard time with the active voice used throughout this book Reading it felt like a friend pitching a movie to me.The language as programming concept was terrific though, even though I think that Max Barry obviously influenced by this book wrote a muchcompelling story using the same high concepts when he wrote Lexicon. 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 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 thefun 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 The review is updated on 28.02.2017I usually give a very brief description of the plot in the beginning of my reviews In this case I found it to be very difficult to do as it will have to be very vague or contain huge spoilers Think of this book as a grandfather of The Matrix movie The near future is a libertarian paradise the government intervention is practically non existent the law enforcement agencies are private and competing with each other Enter Hiro Protagonist yes, this is his r The review is updated on 28.02.2017I usually give a very brief description of the plot in the beginning of my reviews In this case I found it to be very difficult to do as it will have to be very vague or contain huge spoilers Think of this book as a grandfather of The Matrix movie The near future is a libertarian paradise the government intervention is practically non existent the law enforcement agencies are private and competing with each other Enter Hiro Protagonist yes, this is his real name In the beginning of the book he almost failed at pizza delivery this is a very serious business in the future handled entirely by the Mafia Fortunately a skateboarding courier Y.T shows up to save the day I need to mention her skateboard makes famous hoverboard from Back to the Future look like a children bike with training wheels From this fairly crazy beginning the plot dives headlong into giant conspiracy there has to be one in that kind of the story , Hiro s sword fights in real life and cyberspace virtual reality called Metaverse, new mind altering drugs, discussion of languages, religion, Shumer civilization, and so on You want a mutant Aleut who is deadly with his spear against a squad of hit men armed with guns You can have it here Atomic powered Gatling handgun Cool, here you are Computer hackers building Metaverse and then bending its rules to suit their needs Come this way, please.The book was written in 1992 Since then there were a lot of books movies TV shows which borrowed some ideas from it, but almost all of them failed to borrow its lightheartedness the book does not take itself seriously I was only able to understand this after I was half done with it The reason for this being exposed to the mostly crappy things I mentioned above which did take themselves seriously Finally in the second half of the book I got a clue when things went WAY over the top There were some things which bothered me, some I hated, and some I found annoying The biggest one the book is written in present tense If somebody gave me a reason for this, I would be really grateful What is wrong with past tense which was used since the dawn of times to tell a tale Present tense makes for clumsy read sometimes The ending was practically non existent the story just stopped The computer industry moves at a very fast rate even these days As a result some info in the book is hopelessly out of date this cannot be helped with any book of this genre cyberpunk On the related note some of the explanations of the computer related technology were too long and boring and some were not entirely accurate, but I work for IT industry so it might be just me I can only imagine what doctors and lawyers think about countless TV shows about their professions The final rating for the book is 3.5 stars Initially I rounded it up for the sheer fun factor and the way the book caught me unprepared with its over the top plot However my conscience began bothering my after some time on my own scale the novel does not deserve such a high rating It has too many outdated and slow spots Finally I realized I really need to update the rating so here it is 3 stars Did you ever have a kid at school who tried to appear smart and as the font of all knowledge by catching on to the tail ends of things while listening to adults, absorbing some of it, and then spouting forth in front of an assembly of kids, his or her, let s be fair here own regurgitation of what he had heard in the adult quarter, which would often make most of the other kids hang on to his her every word simply because they themselves didn t have a clue what he was talking about Well, with Did you ever have a kid at school who tried to appear smart and as the font of all knowledge by catching on to the tail ends of things while listening to adults, absorbing some of it, and then spouting forth in front of an assembly of kids, his or her, let s be fair here own regurgitation of what he had heard in the adult quarter, which would often make most of the other kids hang on to his her every word simply because they themselves didn t have a clue what he was talking about Well, with Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson is that kid grown up Stephenson latches on to all kinds of ideas and then regurgitates his reductionist, lopsided version of them in novel form The effect it had on this reader, is similar to what the screeching of chalk on a board does to most people it set my teeth on edge.There are so many lopsided, half developed ideas with huge holes in logic in them, in this novel, that I cannot mention them all and remain as brief as I am sure that you, dear reader, would prefer me to be Most of them pertain to Stephenson s lopsided extrapolation of how a virtual reality world would work, and his to me loopy ideas on neurolinguistics, ancient history and religions I was ambivalent about his snarky depiction of capitalism taken to the extreme In the Snow Crash world, everything is privatised to the point that civil services such as police and prisons are privatised, and burbclaves small city states have their own laws and services to the point that America doesn t have federal law any yet there are still Feds The latter institution is highly satirised by Stephenson, with regard to the typical bureaucratic yards of red tape and the tech and intel gathering overkill and so on I admit that I found these bits humorous I reckon Stephenson is, by their inclusion into a state that has no laws, and where the federal government seems merely a token from days gone by, saying that the FBI was superfluous to start with in any case, hah But the overall effect of the Snow Crash background setting is that of an almost schizophrenic collage of bits and pieces stuck together to create a highly disjunctive world.I enjoyed the action sequences and I very much enjoyed his two female protagonists slightly less so the male one In this early novel, Stephenson shows faint glimmerings of promise His clumsy explanations of the tech aspects of the world is jarring and often nonsensical, so the main little points of light lie with the action sequences and the characterization, the latter which I found not too bad since many of his stereotypes were slightlyrounded than actually stereotypical and many of the characters were relatively believable and even likeable in spite of the clumsiness The hero Hiro, or shall I say, Hiro Protagonist, the protagonist did feel paper thin however, like just a another piece of deus ex machina So, four stars for the fact that the novel passes the Bechdel test, and for having created the eminently likeable character Y.T But minus a star for the jarring racism and lack of cultural and ethnic sensitivity, and minus another star for setting my teeth on edge with his loopy ideas and his lopsided, cartoony projections into a future consisting of what feels like a world constructed of cardboard cutouts And minus a virtual star for positing that patriarchal religions arerational than matriarchal ones Oh, and pretty important to me is to mention the subtraction of another virtual star for the sex with a fifteen year old girl, and her relationship with a mass murdererthan twice her age.Add half a star back for the humor.Many people credit Stephenson with being the first person to think of a cyberverse in which humans could participate represented by avatars, but by his own admission, Lucasfilm with Habitat was there before him In fact, it might not be an overstatement to say that Stephenson had pretty much gypped his idea off of developers Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar Please be my guest and Google them In his book The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier, Howard Rheingold writes in Chapter Six In Austin, Texas, in 1990, at the First Conference on Cyberspace, I met the two programmers who created the first large scale, multi user, commercial virtual playground.In their address to the conference, and the paper they later published, The Lessons of Lucasfilm s Habitat, Chip Morningstar and F Randall Farmer recounted their experience as the designers and managers of a virtual community that used computer graphics as well as words to support an online society of tens of thousands Much of that conference in Austin was devoted to discussions of virtual reality environments in which people wear special goggles and gloves to experience the illusion of sensory immersion in the virtual world via three dimensional computer graphics Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar stood out in that high tech crowd because the cyberspace they had created used a very inexpensive home computer, often called a toy computer, and a cartoonlike two dimensional representation to create their kind of virtual world Farmer and Morningstar had one kind of experience that the 3 D graphics enthusiasts did not have, however the system they had designed, Habitat, had been used by tens of thousands of people Source presented by Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar fascinating thoughts on the internet as a marketplace PS I relented and added a half star for making YT female and such a fun character and subtracted a quarter star for making her blonde, then added back a quarter star for the way in which NS made fun of the FBI bureaucracy I have a little SAT analogy to help you understand how awesome this book is Snow Crash is to Books as The Matrix is to movies with only the absolute BEST parts of Tron and Da Vinci Code thrown in I m not talking about all the commercialized Matrix saga and the weird hype I m talking about the first time you sat in the movie theater and saw that chick in the Matrix spin around in suspended animation and kick the crap out of a bunch of cops and thought, What the % COOL That s prett I have a little SAT analogy to help you understand how awesome this book is Snow Crash is to Books as The Matrix is to movies with only the absolute BEST parts of Tron and Da Vinci Code thrown in I m not talking about all the commercialized Matrix saga and the weird hype I m talking about the first time you sat in the movie theater and saw that chick in the Matrix spin around in suspended animation and kick the crap out of a bunch of cops and thought, What the % COOL That s pretty much how this entire book reads I actually had to add it to my favorites list Can t believe I d never heard of it before my thanks for suggesting it, Erich I guarantee there is not a sentient male breathing who won t count this among their top 20 at least As for you fellow females, if you enjoy a great action romp like I do and I don t mean the stupid, dime a dozen shoot em ups, we re talking Die Hard I Aliens Terminator 2 and aforementioned Matrix caliber here then you ll love it, too It has everything Mafia pizza delivery tycoons, robot dogs, samurai fights, brainwashing hackers, ancient Sumerian gods, hydrogen bombs, hallucinogenic drugs, punk skateboarders SWEET, as J.T would say.My favorite parts Stephenson s out of this world unique writing style, the analogy of hacking into a persons brain using language in the same way people hack into computers using code, the amazing action sequences, use of the second person you we to directly connect to the reader, the sections written from the robot dog s perspective, the use of binary code type language in terms like hacker and harpooning for example, the hero can both hack into a computer AND hack your body to pieces with a katana BRILLIANT A couple tiny complaints There wasn t nearly enough of Raven, the villain He ranks right under Hannibal Lector and that guy from the movie Serenity to me everything a villain should be a sexy, terrifying brute of a nuclear mutant who rips people to pieces with glass knives Also, Hiro Protagonist wasn t much of a well, hero protagonist He did a little too much research and not quite enough slashing people with his katana for my taste Raven s foil, Y.T., stole the show TOTALLY Not like I minded I m all for a 15 year old skater chick saving the world SWEET Rated R for an isolated sex scene, medium violence, and consistent swearing FAVORITE QUOTES Until a man is twenty five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest mother in the world If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven In a way, this is liberating He no longer had to worry about trying to be the baddest mother in the world The position is taken.He turns off the techno in his goggles All it does is confuse him he stands there reading statistics about his own death even as it s happening to him Very post modern.BMW drivers take evasive action at the drop of a hat, emulating the drivers in the BMW advertisements this is how they convince themselves they didn t get ripped off.Interesting things happen along borders transitions not in the middle where everything is the same We ve got millions of those Young Mafia types All destined to wear blazers and shuffle papers in suburbia You don t respect those people very much, Y.T., because you re young and arrogant But I don t respect them much either, because I m old and wise.The world is full of power and energy and a person can go far by just skimming off a tiny bit of it Juvenile nerd power fantasy in a nutshellI m a big fanboy of the cyberpunk genre I should have liked this book Instead, I can honestly say that hate this book and I also feel bad saying that about someone s work, because it s almost like saying you hate someone s baby Maybe it was all the hype I was exposed to before reading it,but I just could not shake a deep feeling of annoyance throughout 90% of this book I found myself rolling my eyes a lot And when I wasn t doing that, I was asking Juvenile nerd power fantasy in a nutshellI m a big fanboy of the cyberpunk genre I should have liked this book Instead, I can honestly say that hate this book and I also feel bad saying that about someone s work, because it s almost like saying you hate someone s baby Maybe it was all the hype I was exposed to before reading it,but I just could not shake a deep feeling of annoyance throughout 90% of this book I found myself rolling my eyes a lot And when I wasn t doing that, I was asking myself things like Do people really think this is the Cyberpunk cream of the crop How many pages to go The first obvious problem was the prose Apparently some people s funny bones get tickled by similes comparing military bases to boils on someone s ass, metaphors about valleys and geological cunnilingus, and clever wordplay like calling refugees Refus Refuse, har har har, get it To an elitist douchebag like me it just sounds juvenile and unimaginative Combine all that with clunky, corny writing, and it s just downright lame I could have also done without the Unix In A Nutshell like explanations of EVERYTHING that drag down the flow of the book evenThe other big problem was that I did not care about any of the characters Hiro was annoying as hell because it s obvious that he s just a nerd s fantasy of what he wishes he could do Y.T also got on my nerves She could have disappeared in the middle of the book and I would not have missed her There was nothing likeable or interesting about either of them Ironically, among all the cartoony, shallow characters, the only ones that had some sense of deeper humanity were Ng and Raven Another letdown was that the book s ideas were not that great, which did not help the plot I just did not buy the whole neurolinguistic hacking angle as it was used People becoming brainless zombies from watching some binary code on a screen, or listening to some Sumerian namshub That is so far removed from the fields of NeuroLinguistic Programming and memetics, that this might as well have been a Dungeons Dragons novel I get it Brains are just like computers, so they can get viruses, binary code, 0 s and 1 s, blah blah blah Seriously, I can suspend disbelief, but you can only take a metaphor so far before it starts to look stupid Finally, for a book that s supposed to be a belly busting satire, the humor in this book is rather lame and nerdy I read people talking about how this book made them howl with laughter, but almost everything fell pretty flat for me The only section that got a half assed heh from me was the government policy on the use of toilet paper, but by the second page the joke had already become stale All in all, I doubt that I will buy another book from this author Judging from what little I ve read in Cryptonomicon and Diamond Age, there is little that has changed for me to warrant another look Written in the present tense, which is awkward and unengaging, brimfuls of technological deus ex machina remove all tension from an already slow plot line The characters are interesting, hence the two stars, but even they felt lacking and emotionally disengaged from their own story, which had the futile makings of something original.The ending is atrocious, preceded by wastelands of chapter length explanation, and a fairy tale misinterpretation of Neurolinguistics that seems to have been writte Written in the present tense, which is awkward and unengaging, brimfuls of technological deus ex machina remove all tension from an already slow plot line The characters are interesting, hence the two stars, but even they felt lacking and emotionally disengaged from their own story, which had the futile makings of something original.The ending is atrocious, preceded by wastelands of chapter length explanation, and a fairy tale misinterpretation of Neurolinguistics that seems to have been written solely to remind us that not everyone is cut out to be a scientist, as some people must invariably grow up to write pop fiction.If you re looking for cyberpunk, read Altered Carbon Wow Wow, wow, wow I had thought that William Gibson s Neuromancer was the alpha male of the cyberpunk genre the template upon which all others would be drawn Turns out, Gibson was the prophet, but Stephenson was the barbarian, breaking ground with a riveting, relentless new age thriller Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is a wild trip A fun conglomerate of Hunter S Thompson, Philip K Dick, Anthony Burgess and John Brunner, written 8 years after Neuromancer and 19 years before Ready Player On Wow Wow, wow, wow I had thought that William Gibson s Neuromancer was the alpha male of the cyberpunk genre the template upon which all others would be drawn Turns out, Gibson was the prophet, but Stephenson was the barbarian, breaking ground with a riveting, relentless new age thriller Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is a wild trip A fun conglomerate of Hunter S Thompson, Philip K Dick, Anthony Burgess and John Brunner, written 8 years after Neuromancer and 19 years before Ready Player One this is a bright light on the cyberpunk literary landscape Set in a near alternative future, Stephenson introduces a world where governments have collapsed and societies are held loosely together by anarcho capitalism The book was nominated for a Prometheus Award but what could be a libertarian dream may also be seen as a laissez faire nightmare This is a blitzkrieg of ideas, a cacophony of sci fi, techno socio economic observations, a kaleidoscope of theological and philosophical concepts thrown together in a Mark Twainian fantasy hopped up on Red Bull and amphetamines Above all this is an intelligent, modern adventure that expertly weaves in elements of pre history and archeological thrill seeking If Bladerunner led to The Matrix, then this is what s next And, if Stephenson had not boiled it all together enough into a steaming cup of Have At You , then he also has the best name for a lead character of all time Hiro Protagonist A very, very Goodread, five stars, two snaps and a bag of chips 2018 addendum it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think As great a hero as Hiro is, the scenes between Raven and YT are those that I recall the most and Raven is a character about whomcould be written The casting of Ravinoff by Jason Momoa would be a good one ^DOWNLOAD EPUB ↞ Snow Crash ↡ In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo s CosoNostra Pizza Inc but in the Metaverse he s a warrior prince Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon lit streets on a search and destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse Snow Crash is a mind altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous you ll recognize it immediately