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Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book) by Neal…

Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book) (original 1992; edition 2000)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,939293192 (4.13)579
Title:Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:Spectra (2000), Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

  1. 232
    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. 51
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (thehoodedone)
  7. 40
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  8. 62
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 32
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  12. 10
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (ecureuil)
  13. 10
    The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  14. 00
    Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Cyberpunk
  15. 11
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (romula)
  16. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)

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» See also 579 mentions

English (287)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (292)
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
The best thing about Snow Crash is that it paints a convincingly eerie picture of a potential future society (or perhaps alternative reality), where laws don't exist anymore and the entire planet is ruled by corporations. Everything is incorporated now, including the Mafia, the churches, the police and the military (you can choose between General Bob's Private Army or Admiral Jim's Navy), all the highways are run by two competing corporations and the President of the United States of America is so unimportant most people don't even know his name.

A major component of this cyberpunkish universe is a virtual reality world, called the Metaverse, reminiscent of our Second Life (or even World of Warcraft) online communities. Our main character, Hiro Protagonist (heh) is a skilled hacker who knows his way around the Metaverse and uses that to his advantage when thrown into a frenzy of events. These events mostly have to do with programmers being infected with some sort of virus, apparently transmitted both physically and, even more strangely, virtually (that is online through the Metaverse). Along the way, he encounters help from some interesting characters, most notably a bratty 15-year old skater courier called YT.

In order to establish the origins of the virus Hiro has has these long, drawn out conversations with the Multiverse librarian daemon. This is my biggest gripe. These conversations are a mishmash of Sumerian mythology, biblical and Kabbalistic references and who knows what else. I found them to be suspense-killing and simply not too interesting. Perhaps people who are into Sumerian mythology could find these more interesting, but at times I thought it sounded just like some random mythical and mystical references being tied together in order to produce a reason for the virus' existence.

The ending was slightly disappointing as well, as I thought the whole thing came to a rather abrupt halt, especially when compared to how detailedly the mythical virus background was explained. In the end, though, I would still recommend Snow Crash to sci-fi/cyberpunk fans, as the world Stephenson creates is enthralling enough to spend these few hours there.

( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
I am always interested in reading the seminal texts of a genre. So, while this was a bit outside my normal purview, I was excited to take it on.

On the whole, I quite enjoyed it. However, I must say I'm at a bit of a lose as to why it is such an iconic tome. From what I understand, the virtual reality type world of the "Metaverse" is what most people find so fascinating. I suppose I understand that. This in some way sets the tone for Ready Player One and even some of what we are seeing the real world these days.

However, the characters never really drew me in. They felt stilted and a bit unbelievable. But, this wasn't a character driven book.

The biggest problem for me was really the main conflict and how language played into it. I was quite surprised by the religious implications that were so prevalent later in the book. Having my B.A. in Religion made all of it feel as farfetched as any standard Robert Ludlum novel. I found myself just rolling my eyes for large portions.

To sum up, it is well worth the read, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to many folks. It reads like a thriller with some interesting thought experiments. The "Metaverse" in particular stands up as an interesting vision of the future. (The nature of governance by franchise was also quite compelling and interesting.) But, the characters and main conflict all felt quite far-fetched. ( )
  bas615 | Jan 4, 2019 |
I generally don’t read much science-fiction (or even just fiction, for that matter). Last year I read “The Cryptonomicon” and loved it. I heard that “Seveneves” covers a long time period, which I don’t like, and thought maybe I’d give “Snow Crash” a try.

Published in 1992, “Snow Crash” seems to be set in the early 2000s (although both the technological advances and societal collapse have been severe). There’s a fair amount of talk of WWII and Vietnam, which seems out of place in a book set in the 21st century (yet also seemingly a theme in Stephenson).

My first reception is that the book is a lot of fun. It’s nicely cyber-punk, with virtual worlds, and unbridled capitalism—a blend of dystopian and utopian trends.

My second reception feels a little uneasy with the racism and sexism in the book. One of the “bad guys,” Raven, is indigenous. Why couldn’t he have been some kind of white nationalist? That would be much more realistic, and much less racist. Additionally, the primary female figure in the book is fifteen years old, and is given much sexual attention, including rape. This also feels inappropriate. I have read some Margaret Atwood, where such digressions are clearly dystopian critiques of patriarchy, but it is uncomfortably blurry in this book.

The core premise of the book is built on a machine-conception of the human brain. This analogy has been proven false in many scientific studies, but also has significant staying power. One of the core ideas in the book centers around a virus which can both affect computers and humans. This is a dangerous misunderstanding of humans. We are fundamentally different than machines—and it’s a good thing too (as this plot line points out).

Although this book is entertaining, twenty-six years on, it comes across as objectionable, and espousing unsound philosophy. ( )
3 vote willszal | Oct 31, 2018 |
It’s incredible that Stephenson wrote this book in 1992. Snow Crash is ahead of its time in so many ways - virtual reality, the prevalence of franchise systems, strong libertarian and commercial systems, and extreme privatization. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |

With a title like that you think I'm some kind of religious nut job, but I really don't think I am. Take a look my other reviews and decide for yourself. But I state it as a warning, this fictional work has some very dark very untruths about the Christian faith, and if you do not have a deep footing in found Catholic theology it's story may lead you in a direction away from Christ. I find it much more threatening than the Da Vinci Code.

But that isn't why I gave this only 1 star. The story it self is bad. Usually I love old science fiction, and we are at a point that 1992 now counts as old. I normally love the idea of seeing what they got right and what they are way off. This one is set in the not-too-distant future (there are still a number of Vietnam Vets around) but somehow the whole liberal society we live was replaced by an ulta-racist ultra-corporate society where the government practically doesn't exist, but for some reason still has employees that work long hours and have super secret securtiy clearance. As usual, they are way off on what the Internet is, a super expensive network that only the world's elite can afford where you basically are like living in a 3-D virtual reality of the Facebook comment section, gross.

Also the first few chapter appear to be for almost no reason. The workings of their pizza delivery based economy are not only unfathomable, but not even important to the story of a computer virus that may take over the world through the Pentecostal movement of the Trinity of Elvis, Jesus, and JKF.

The Audiobook was bad in and off itself. Most CD audibooks tracks every 3-4 minutes for easy book marking. This had track links vering for 0:15 to over 16:00. And its not just chapter either. the chapters may change in mid track. And each track starts with the same non-nonsensical speaking in tongues (thought it wasn't clear that was what it was until at least half=way through the story). Worst book I have actually finished since I started doing this.

Oh, and to show how uncreative this guy is, our main character, or hero, our protagonist: Hiro Protagonist ( )
  fulner | Oct 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (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 (7 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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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
First words
The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He's got esprit up to here.
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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