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Snow Crash Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 1,298 customer reviews

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About the Author

Neal Stephenson issues from a clan of rootless, itinerant hardscience and engineering professors (mostly Pac-10, Big 10, and Big 8 with the occasional wild strain of Ivy). He began his higher education as a physics major, then switched to geography when it appeared that this would enable him to scam more free time on his university’s mainframe computer. When he graduated and discovered, to his perplexity, that there were no jobs for inexperienced physicist-geographers, he began to look into alternative pursuits such as working on cars, unimaginably stupid agricultural labor, and writing novels. His first novel, The Big U, was published in 1984 and vanished without a trace. His second novel, Zodiac: An Eco-Thriller, came out in 1988 and quickly developed a cult following among water-pollution-control engineers. It was also enjoyed, though rarely bought, by many radical environmentalists. Snow Crash was written in the years 1988 through 1991 as the author listened to a great deal of loud, relentless, depressing music.

Mr. Stephenson now resides in a comfortable home in the western hemisphere and spends all of his time trying to retrofit an office into its generally dark, unlevel, and asbestos-laden basement so that he can attempt to write more novels. Despite the tremendous amounts of time he devotes to writing, playing with computers, listening to speed metal, Rollerblading, and pounding nails, he is a flawless husband, parent, neighbor, and all-around human being.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A cross between Neuromancer and Thomas Pynchon's Vineland. This is no mere hyperbole." -- San Francisco Bay Guardian.

"Fast-forwarded free-style mall mythology for the 21st Century." -- William Gibson.

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison -- a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cyber-sensibility to bring us the gigantic thriller of the information age. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Inc., but it 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.

"Brilliantly realized... Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow." -- The New York Times Book Review.

"Snow Crash takes on a whole slew of nasty contemporary trends and extrapolates them hilariously into a pessimistic and unlikely newar future... this is one book to chill out with this summer." -- Mondo 2000.

"Stylish noir extrapolation becomes gloriously witty social satire... savor Stephenson's delicious prose and cheerfully impudent wit. Cyberpunk isn't dead -- it has just (belatedly) developed a sense of humor." --Locus.

"A fantastic, slam-bang-overdrive, supersurrealistic, comic-spooky whirl through a tomorrow that is already happening. Neal Stephenson is intelligent, perceptive, hip and will become a major force in American writing." -- Timothy Leary.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553562614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553562613
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I give the book 5 stars, as I love the style & the humour. What I give 1 star is the Kindle edition compared to the printed book. Did this book not exist as an electronic file prior to the Kindle version? I find that hard to belive, but nevertheless, Amazon must have thought so because the Kindle edition has very obviously been scanned & OCR'd from the printed page, and the OCR software they used must have come from the same year when Stephenson wrote the book longhand on paper, apparently.

There are many, many OCR errors in the text, particularly misinterpretation of rn as m, which often makes non-words, or, worse, makes actual words which make no sense, or, even worse, makes actual words that change the meaning of a sentence and bring your reading to a grinding halt.

Amazon; if you must OCR books to Kindle, spare a few hours to proof-read them. This is my first bad Kindle experience. Very amateur electronic publishing job.
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Format: Paperback
...of someone who took a previous reviewer's advice to have another buy the book, then lend it and be forced to buy another copy when it doesn't return!
From the opening description of Hiro Protagonist (the main character--couldn't you tell?), I was caught by the irony, sarcasm, wit, and sheer fun with the English language that Neal Stephenson has in his repertoire. Snow Crash is gutsy, innovative, witty, and fun. It rewards anyone who churn out code for a living. Anyone who wonders what happens to our brains with all the advertising thrown at us. Anyone who is tired of the same old science fiction. Anyone who has wondered if the Tower of Babel story, combined with Sumerian mythos, would make a good computer-age read... the answer is yes.
It's almost impossible to review a cyberpunk book without comparing it to uberauthor William Gibson's works. I find Gibson to be cooly intellectual, reserved, methodical--a great read for a day when I'm ready to think hard. Stephenson is white-hot, down and dirty, in the trenches, while not losing touch with the thoughtfulness and underlying structure that makes Gibson satisfying.
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Format: Paperback
I came to _Snow Crash_ on the recommendation of a few people who had read it (they called it "great!" and "hilarious!," and knowing that Neal Stephenson is sometimes listed as a "cyberpunk" writer along with William Gibson et al.
I had liked William Gibson's books, so I gave _Snow Crash_ a try.
_Snow Crash_ is primarily about Hiro, a young man who delivers pizzas and collects information for the Central Intelligence Corporation (freelance), for a living. He lives in a storage unit with a cult-hero rockstar named Vitaly Chernobyl. He owns a futon, two awesome Japanese swords, and a laptop computer, where he stays "jacked in" to the "Metaverse" a lot of the time, where he is the world's greatest swordfighter.
Hiro witnesses a crime while interacting with others in the Metaverse. One of his friends is deliberately exposed to a dangerous block of text, which fries his brain (in the real world), and renders him a vegetable. Hiro and his friend Y.T. (15-year old skateboarding female, and knee-slappingly funny smartaleck) set off to find out why, and save the world in the process.
From the getgo this is a funny book. Sure, the vision of the near-future is dark, a little alarming, and at times depressing (there are NO general laws in _Snow Crash_, for example, and private corporations run everything, even the police, just as an example). That's what cyberpunk is like. But the HUMOR is one thing that sets Neal Stephenson aside. Hiro Protagonist? Come on, that's FUNNY, PEOPLE! One reviewer called it an 'odd' name. Yes, it's odd, and it's absurd, and it's funny! Did this author mean it is an unusual choice for a character name? I don't know. I hope not.
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Format: Paperback
To the extent that a book can be described as original, "Snow Crash", by Neal Stephenson is deserving of the moniker. About the only common ground that his work shares with others is that ink is applied to paper using the same letters, and then pages are bound to create a book. Much beyond that and you are in the midst of this Author's view of a given world he has modified and created. He is not only incredibly unique; his wit passes the cutting edge to the bleeding edge of razor sharp sarcasm, and irony. And when he uses words he assembles them in arrangements you have never listened to before. An important aspect that sets his work apart in this genre is that while delivering enormous amounts of information, he keeps the reader informed, he does not lose you, he ensures you stay with his wickedly fast pace by keeping you educated. Other Authors of Science Fiction are weak on this point, and it weakens their books.
One date to remember when reading this work is that it was first released in June of 1992 after three years in the making. This is critical, as so much of what was absolute fiction then, may now be found within the pages of Wired Magazine. There are even words he originated that are common to most people who use a computer, especially if you have ever tried what he calls the Metaverse, touring it as an Avatar.
One of the reasons his work is so authentic and exceptionally good is that he knows his material. If he talks about code he's qualified, as he has written it. When he is speaking of Sumerian Mythology an Author who spent years researching his material is again relating it. And when he just lets go with dialogue or descriptive prose it is mind binding for being clever, unique, and hilarious. He also has raised sardonic prose to an art form.
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