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Snow crash by Neal Stephenson
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Snow crash (original 1992; edition 1992)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,822223152 (4.16)476
Member:timspalding
Title:Snow crash
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:New York: Bantam Books, 1992.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:science fiction, meh

Work details

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

Recently added byKDKat5, zephyrsky, xuancris, cfink, CristinaLogg, zojjz, grandlarseny, private library
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 202
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (moonstormer)
  2. 110
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (davesmind, jbgryphon)
    davesmind: Although Snow Crash is a classic of cyberpunk, I think Ready Player One has a more captivating story - especially if you played video games in the 80's
    jbgryphon: RPO's OASIS owes it's existence as much to Neil Stephenson's Metaverse as to the miriad of geek universes that are included in it.
  3. 70
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  4. 61
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  5. 50
    Count Zero by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  6. 41
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (thehoodedone)
  7. 30
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  8. 20
    The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson (atrautz)
  9. 20
    Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1 by Diane Duane (pammab)
    pammab: To explore the possibilities of virtual reality in the near future. Duane's is much more traditional and pro-corporate fantasy; Stephenson's is more humor-based anti-corporate cyberpunk.
  10. 10
    The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod (Noisy)
    Noisy: Anarchy viewed from both sides of the fence. 'Snow Crash' offers the capitalist view and 'The Star Fraction' offers the socialist counterpart.
  11. 10
    The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  12. 22
    Virtual Light by William Gibson (Moehrendorf)
  13. 11
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (romula)
  14. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)
  15. 26
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (Torikton)
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» See also 476 mentions

English (218)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for the mafia. Oh, and he's also a hacker and a katana-wielding swordsman as well. Set in a futuristic world where technology has taken the world by storm, Hiro is soon embroiled in a game where reality and virtual worlds collide - and death is imminent in all directions. There is a virus running around the world and it looks like there's a mystery to be solved, with the help of a girl with an attitude Y.T.

I liked this book a lot because it had many strong points: characters, backdrop scenario, world building, dialogue. Unfortunately it fell flat in a lot of moments that were mostly information-dumps.

The characters were lovely. I really liked each character, especially the two leading characters. Even the name Hiro Protagonist is such a tongue in cheek name that I couldn't help but laugh as I read that in the start. Y.T. is a clever girl that backs up her attitude with action. And I love their interactions as partners - just enough wit and sass to go around to make things interesting.

The world building was done really well - everything was familiar in a skewed way, as if this futuristic world is actually possible. It's imaginable, believable, and just a different perspective of how things could turn out in the future. The slang made everything more realistic. It just set the reader in the middle of the world. It made the strangeness of the world more acceptable, as if yeah even the language changes in this future, no problem.

Okay. Now. I didn't actually like the plot. While the premise was really interesting, with the idea of the Metaworld and Black Sun and hacking as an important aspect of this new world, the actual progression of the plot wasn't exactly reader-friendly. There was just too much unnecessary information given to the reader in an information dump under the guise of Hiro learning that information. While yeah it's true investigations do go like that, it isn't particularly engaging for me to read. It's too passive of a way to learn that significant amount of background knowledge that's necessary for the next step in the plot.
But now that I think about it, perhaps this is simply his writing style (seeing as Diamond Age was fairly similar in terms of information transmission style).

-mild spoilers?-
Similarly, while I can see how the whole ideology of binary and hackers could arise from history.... excuse me. It's just not believable. It's like a conspiracy theory book almost, which makes me laugh a little and roll my eyes a bit. Yeah, I should suspend my disbelief for fiction, but a lot of the connecting points to say how humanity arose from a program was too big of a stretch. Perhaps it's just because when I read bullshit science, I call bs and then tend to scrutinize more (which isn't helpful for a fiction book). So that whole explanation and resolving plot point at the end just didn't cut it for me. I loved learning about the world and characters and seeing what would be introduced next, but figuring out the mystery and how to save the world was not what kept me reading.

In the end, I'd probably give it two and half stars, rounded up to three. It was somewhere in between I liked it and it was okay. Not the most amazing book I've read, but interesting enough that I think it's worth someone's time. I won't reread it though.
Recommended for people who like action books and/or futuristic books with a tech twist.
( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for the mafia. Oh, and he's also a hacker and a katana-wielding swordsman as well. Set in a futuristic world where technology has taken the world by storm, Hiro is soon embroiled in a game where reality and virtual worlds collide - and death is imminent in all directions. There is a virus running around the world and it looks like there's a mystery to be solved, with the help of a girl with an attitude Y.T.

I liked this book a lot because it had many strong points: characters, backdrop scenario, world building, dialogue. Unfortunately it fell flat in a lot of moments that were mostly information-dumps.

The characters were lovely. I really liked each character, especially the two leading characters. Even the name Hiro Protagonist is such a tongue in cheek name that I couldn't help but laugh as I read that in the start. Y.T. is a clever girl that backs up her attitude with action. And I love their interactions as partners - just enough wit and sass to go around to make things interesting.

The world building was done really well - everything was familiar in a skewed way, as if this futuristic world is actually possible. It's imaginable, believable, and just a different perspective of how things could turn out in the future. The slang made everything more realistic. It just set the reader in the middle of the world. It made the strangeness of the world more acceptable, as if yeah even the language changes in this future, no problem.

Okay. Now. I didn't actually like the plot. While the premise was really interesting, with the idea of the Metaworld and Black Sun and hacking as an important aspect of this new world, the actual progression of the plot wasn't exactly reader-friendly. There was just too much unnecessary information given to the reader in an information dump under the guise of Hiro learning that information. While yeah it's true investigations do go like that, it isn't particularly engaging for me to read. It's too passive of a way to learn that significant amount of background knowledge that's necessary for the next step in the plot.
But now that I think about it, perhaps this is simply his writing style (seeing as Diamond Age was fairly similar in terms of information transmission style).

-mild spoilers?-
Similarly, while I can see how the whole ideology of binary and hackers could arise from history.... excuse me. It's just not believable. It's like a conspiracy theory book almost, which makes me laugh a little and roll my eyes a bit. Yeah, I should suspend my disbelief for fiction, but a lot of the connecting points to say how humanity arose from a program was too big of a stretch. Perhaps it's just because when I read bullshit science, I call bs and then tend to scrutinize more (which isn't helpful for a fiction book). So that whole explanation and resolving plot point at the end just didn't cut it for me. I loved learning about the world and characters and seeing what would be introduced next, but figuring out the mystery and how to save the world was not what kept me reading.

In the end, I'd probably give it two and half stars, rounded up to three. It was somewhere in between I liked it and it was okay. Not the most amazing book I've read, but interesting enough that I think it's worth someone's time. I won't reread it though.
Recommended for people who like action books and/or futuristic books with a tech twist.
( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I really wish I could give half-stars here, this would get 3.5 (up from my previous rating of 2 stars). I'm glad I finally made another attempt at this book and finally read it to completion. I still feel like it's far from Stephenson's best writing and it has a lot of ideas and pieces that feel unfleshed out and not fully developed. Worse, it has a number of aspects that just seem, well, juvenile, really (I'm only putting it in those terms because I know how smart he really is, and it felt like a bit of a let down to encounter that kind of writing in this book). That said, it's a thoroughly enjoyable story that left me wanting more. This is the sort of scifi that would make a really great movie, if anyone could pull it off with the proper care. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
I loved this story although I think it fell short as an audio book and I must come back to this and read it as a novel. I missed too much by listening to and the voice was very dull and lifeless. This book had everything I love about a good story though and held my interest until the very end. I loved listening to the technology that reminded me of my teens and how far we've come since the book was published. What was once science fiction back then is now a reality. I love when Authors are knowledgeable enough to include accurate depictions of what our future will be like based on the technology out, Stephenson does this so well. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
(Disclaimer: I have not yet read the Baroque Cycle. I know, I know--I'm a bad geek.)

That said, I love Neal Stephenson. I love the way he plays with language, and writes action scenes that make you race through the first time, then go back and read them again for the rush. I like his characters; they're smart (but occasionally dumb), funny (except when they're being serious), and strong (unless they're being vulnerable). In short, they're human (except for a touch of the Mary Sue/Gary Stu here and there).

This is the nearish-future story of Hiro Protagonist, who delivers pizzas for the Mafia in what used to be the Los Angeles area. Hiro also is a serious hacker, however, and was one of the forbears of the virtual-reality universe that everyone escapes to to avoid the real world: the Metaverse, where all is possible.

One fine day, Hiro notices that something is amiss in the Metaverse and in real life: people appear to be becoming infected with a virus, Snow Crash, that turns them into compliant "zombies," if their brains aren't outright destroyed. With the help of a motley crew of allies, including an awesome female skateboarding Kourier(TM) named Y.T., Hiro races to stop the spread of the virus and to destroy it at its source. Along the rollicking way, there are discussions of the literal power of language, religious history, and martial arts, all set in a background of amazing technology.

This is one of the foundational books, people. It's where we got the terms "avatar" (meaning cypher for a person) and "Metaverse" from. The fact that it's engrossing and fun is just a bonus. Read it. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
Hiro Protagonist (who has chosen his own name, of course) turns out to be entertaining company, and Mr. Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow that is as farcical as it is horrific.
 
Stephenson has not stepped, he has vaulted onto the literary stage with this novel.
added by GYKM | editLos Angeles Reader
 
A cross between Neuromancer and Thomas Pynchon's Vineland. This is no mere hyperbole.
added by GYKM | editSan Francisco Bay Guardian
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neal Stephensonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
snow n. . . . 2.a. Anything resembling snow. b. The white specks on a television screen resulting from weak reception.

crash v....--intr. . . . 5. To fail suddenly, as a business or an economy.
---The American Heritage Dictionary

virus. . . . [L. virus slimy liquid, poison, offensive odor or taste.] 1. Venom, such as is emitted by a poisonous animal. 2. Path a. A morbid principle or poisonous substance produced in the body as the result of some disease, esp. one capable of being introduced into other persons or animals by inoculations or otherwise and of developing the same disease in them. . . . 3. fig. A moral or intellectual poison, or poisonous influence.
--The Oxford English Dictionary
Dedication
First words
The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He's got esprit up to here.
Quotations
HIRO PROTAGONIST
Last of the freelance hackers
Greatest sword fighter in the world
Stringer, Central Intelligence Corporation
Specializing in software-related intel
(music, movies & microcode)
When you are wrestling for possession of a sword, the man with the handle always wins.
"Did you win your sword fight?"
"Of course I won the fucking sword fight," Hiro says. "I'm the greatest sword fighter in the world."
"And you wrote the software."
"Yeah. That, too," Hiro says.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553380958, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:18 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In the future the only relief from the sea of logos is the computer-generated universe of virtual reality? But now a strange computer virus, called Snow Crash, is striking down hackers, leaving an unlikely young man as humankind's last hope.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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