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

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,044297192 (4.13)586
Member:selfnoise
Title:Snow crash
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:New York: Bantam Books, 1992.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:sf, cyberpunk, essential

Work details

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

  1. 233
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (moonstormer)
  2. 130
    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. 90
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  4. 50
    Count Zero by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  5. 50
    The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (atrautz)
  6. 40
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  7. 51
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (thehoodedone)
  8. 62
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  9. 20
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (ecureuil)
  10. 20
    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. 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.
  12. 10
    The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  13. 32
    Virtual Light by William Gibson (Moehrendorf)
  14. 00
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (electronicmemory)
  15. 00
    Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Cyberpunk
  16. 11
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (romula)
  17. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)
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» See also 586 mentions

English (292)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (297)
Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
I tried hard to read this purely as a work of fiction without reference to when it was first published or the context it was written within. On that basis alone I think a 3* review is fair. It has a number of fairly clunky didactic sections with the somewhat convenient "librarian" character and some chewy expository dialogue towards the denouement. The central premise is interesting but not fantastically well delivered. Jokey technothriller isn't really a genre and in places this book shows why that is the case. It suffers from some of the same problems as Reamde's later stages with excessive multithreaded trotting around, but does successfully build a degree of tension.

After looking back to see when it was written it is quite remarkable how early it was published and how many references are effectively becoming a reality in some form now. If I had had to guess when it was written I would have thought about 8-10 years later. A rating of the book by how impressive or significant it is would certainly be higher. ( )
1 vote Sam.Prince | May 7, 2019 |
A fun and inventive read, although it felt like there was a little too much explaining going on (and on and on and on). Hiro Protagonist occasionally started sounding like a textbook or a computer manual. Maybe it was necessary in those pre-Matrix days. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
A friend recommended Neal Stephenson to me with the caveat that I would want to start with one book and, if not avoid, treat the other without the rose-tinted lenses of hype that color it. The books he named were the two most popular on Goodreads: Snow Crash and Crytonomicon.

Flash forward to a used bookstore two weeks later. Both books staring at me from the sf/fantasy shelves. I didn't have my phone and I wanted something genre to read today. I couldn't remember which one I was supposed to check out first. Turns out I picked right.

Snow Crash is set in a near-future where an exhausted Federal government has ceded much of its land to private corporations and other interests. Housing developments - roads - prisons - government agencies and military - the mafia - you name it, all act as separate political entities and much of business carries on through the Metaverse. The Metaverse is the three-dimensional internet with a whole coded world separate from reality. Its beginning to have real-life impact. Hiro Protagonist and Y.T. have stumbled onto a conspiracy that threatens the stability of what's left in America (and, why not, the world) whose means have roots stretching back to the Babylonians and Sumer.

Many of the aspects of this novel have become well-worn tropes and scads and scads of pages are devoted to articulating the dense historical evidence and theory behind the Snow Crash virus. It all felt fresh, it was like the lingering taste of those adolescent Shadowrun and Mercedes Lackey crossovers had finally washed out of my mouth. I loved it and wanted there to be more. The characters, Hiro especially, don't hold up to reader scrutiny, but the plot was so good I can't fault the book for the drones that moved it forward. The problem I had was the ending of the book precisely at the moment when there could have been some payoff for following the characters. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Very different from other things I've read. Surreal, and awesome. ( )
  brokensandals | Feb 7, 2019 |
Snow Crash is a Cyberpunk story published in the 90’s. It’s set in the not-too-distant future of our world where the mafia are in charge of pizza delivery, the Metaverse offers a virtual reality where people gather to socialize, and a new virus called Snow Crash is being distributed like a drug.

There are two main POV characters: Hiro Protagonist (yes, really) and Y. T. (which stands for “Yours Truly”). Hiro is a hacker both in terms of computer hacking and, when necessary, hacking people with swords, but delivering pizza is his main job when the book starts. Y. T. is a teenager with a job as a “Kourier”, delivering packages via skateboard.

The author uses similes, metaphors, and analogies like a clown uses face paint. In other words, he uses them often and sometimes strangely. Although they were often funny, I also found them distracting in their frequency. The story did hold my interest, and it had a lot of cool ideas, but I never felt very invested in it. Likewise, I liked the main characters but never felt terribly invested in them either. The ending wrapped up the main story, but it left some stuff hanging or at least ambiguous in terms of some of the secondary characters. For example, Raven and Uncle Enzo.

So I did like this, and I don’t have any major complaints about it, but I also don’t feel very enthusiastic about it. I had considered following this up right away with The Diamond Age, and I do still intend to read that, but I think I’m going to move on to another author for now and cycle back to him in a year or so. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Feb 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 292 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podevin, Jean-FrançoisCover 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:09 -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 9 descriptions

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