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Snow Crash Paperback – May 2, 2000
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From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse--looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman, and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In California of the near future, when the U.S. is only a "Burbclave" (city-state), the Mafia is just another franchise chain (CosaNostrastet Pizza, Incorporated) and there are no laws to speak of, Hiro Protagonist follows clues from the Bible, ancient Sumer and high technology to help thwart an attempt to take control of civilization--such as it is. When he logs on to Metaverse, an imaginary place entered via computer, Hiro encounters Juanita Marquez, a "radical" Catholic and computer whiz. She warns him off Snow Crash (a street drug named for computer failure) and gives him a file labeled Babel (as in Tower of Babel). Another friend, sp ok/pk Da5id, who ignores Juanita's warning, computer crashes out of Metaverse into the real world, where he physically collapses. Hiro, Juanita, Y.T. (a freewheeling, skateboard-riding courier) and sundry other Burbclave and franchise power figures see some action on the way to finding out who is behind this bizarre "drug" with ancient roots. Although Stephenson ( Zodiac ) provides more Sumerian culture than the story strictly needs (alternating intense activity with scholarship breaks), his imaginative juxtaposition of ancient and futuristic detail could make this a cult favorite.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, occasionally thin and transparent plot devices slightly undermine the ambitious concepts. This is not to say that the plot isn't compelling. It is. The dystopian physical world portrayed in the book seems to be more or less our present day, as imagined twenty-five years ago, and is wildly imaginative. And the key characters moving through it are interesting, if almost Manichaean superhero/villain treatments.
All the above notwithstanding, Stephenson's book is quite good. Rather than being major handicaps, the occasional hiccups in the plot were really only justification for my giving the book 4 stars rather than 5.
With those two books as my previous experience I was a little hesitant to dive into one of Neal's massive tomes with endless paragraphs of info dump and esoteric scientific explanations.
I was PLEASENTLY surprised to find none of that. Yes, there are large chunks of Stephenson's verbose prose. But while action packed and with an amazing world that only Stephenson can build this was still "light" compared to those novels.
A semi-dystopian future where the US is chopped into different enclaves and the mafia are the good guys this story blends real world action with VR/Matrix/Ready Player One simulated drama.
The main characters are a 30 year-old man, who is apparently the best samurai swordsman in the world, one of the best hackers or software programmers (Stephenson uses the words more or less interchangeably; one must keep in mind that this book was written in 1992), and also a Deliverator, which is a fancy name for a pizza delivery man working for the Mafia, and a 15 year-old girl (very full of “attitude”) that works as a “Kourier” (messengers that deliver packages riding some super high-tech skates). The Mafia apparently controls all the Domino-like pizza-to-go business in the country. The whole setup of the novel should make smile even to the most cantankerous readers.
The biggest downfall of me was that this book was so incredibly dense. On the one hand, Stephenson created a fictional world based on the real world where I live (Los Angeles) and described it with immense detail. (And I can totally see the city/country heading this way, btw.) But on the other hand, there was so much description to slog through that I found myself re-reading some things over and over trying to absorb it and not always quite getting it. Definitely a gripping story overall, but was left many times confused as to what was going on.
Plus In the end, there were many questions left unanswered, but it is what it is. Would still recommend it for anyone who likes Futuristic Sci Fi.