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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
13,744220152 (4.16)474
Title:Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:Spectra (2000), Paperback, 440 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Your library
Tags:American, computers, cyberpunk, cyberspace, dystopia, fantasy, fiction, future, hackers, humor, internet, linguistics, metaverse, Neal Stephenson, near future, science fiction, sf, speculative fiction, technology, virtual reality

Work details

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

  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. 60
    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
    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.
  9. 10
    The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  10. 10
    The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson (atrautz)
  11. 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.
  12. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)
  13. 11
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (romula)
  14. 12
    Virtual Light by William Gibson (Moehrendorf)
  15. 26
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (Torikton)

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» See also 474 mentions

English (215)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (220)
Showing 1-5 of 215 (next | show all)
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 |
So this is cyberpunk. Huh. Guess I'm just not as geeky as I thought I was. Maybe this was good in its time, I don't know, but I'm not quite 2/3 through this and I am giving up. I am astounded by how bad this book is, given the recommendations I received from fellow geeks. I mean, not just not good, but really really bad. To the extent that I think maybe it is *supposed* to be bad and I just don't get it. Not sure. I Might be willing to give Stephenson another chance -- but I will definitely be fast-forwarding to his post-cyberpunk phase. ( )
  scott.bradley | Jul 24, 2014 |
The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He’s got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A Bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.

Thus begins the story of Hiro Protagonist, pizza delivery driver for the Mafia, freelance hacker, and “greatest swordfighter in the world”. Somewhat by accident, Hiro discovers a dangerous virus contained in a new drug called Snow Crash – a virus which targets the central nervous system of those who use it. Teaming up with skateboard courier YT, Hiro finds himself embroiled in an international war for the souls of all humanity. So, you know, a modest storyline for a modest novel.

Snow Crash was a lot of fun to read. From the hilarious opening scene right through until the last page, it was fast, funny, and exciting. I wouldn’t call it Stephenson’s best - The Baroque Cycle is far more intellectually demanding, while Cryptonomicon is really where he hones his sarcastic humor to its utmost perfection. But while I wouldn’t recommend Snow Crash as the first Stephenson book a reader picks up, I think readers familiar with his writing will both recognize his humor and appreciate a significantly lighter trip through his imagination. I’ve never been let down by one of his books, and this was no exception. Fun, if lighter than his usual fare. ( )
  philosojerk | Jul 16, 2014 |
Neal Stephenson writes science fiction that requires a certain level of attention and concentration to follow and stay on top of. You can’t lay a Stephenson novel down for a few days and hope to come back and take up where you left off. This is not pulp science fiction.

In this audacious novel, Stephenson crafts a dystopian Earth near the end of the 20th century. Most civilization has broken down and even in the United States, society has devolved into semi-sovereign “franchulates” (franchise consulates) and “burbclaves” (suburban enclaves). A rampant form of pure capitalism reigns, with private ownership of roads and police protection. Existing alongside this “free for all” is a Metaverse, an on-line world governed largely by hackers. Now, dystopia coupled with virtual reality is nothing new, however Stephenson takes it up a notch, weaving Sumerian and Old Testament mythology throughout the story.

Some may find elements of Stephenson’s world silly, and some of it is pretty far out there, but much of it comes across as biting satire and I found it enormously entertaining. The “heroes” of the story are Hiro Protagonist, a freelance stringer for Central Intelligence Corporation (a privatized successor to the Library of Congress), a computer software designer and the greatest sword fighter in the world (in the Metaverse) and Y.T., a souped up skateboard riding 15 year old courier.

With the help of the Mafia (Cosa Nostra, Inc.) and assorted other supremely interesting characters, Hiro and Y.T. discover a new designer drug, Snow Crash, whose purpose is to inject a virus into the deepest level of the brain, acting much the same as a computer virus. Seeking to prevent spread of the virus, Hiro and Y.T. cross swords with Bob Rife, the richest man on the planet, who seeks to use Snow Crash to exert total control over the world's population. Elements of economic theory, religion, virtual reality, Sumerian mythology and linguistics take this story out of the realm of anything you’ve ever experienced. Four and a half stars, rounded up to five simply on the basis of its originality, scope and audacity. ( )
1 vote santhony | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 215 (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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snow n. . . . 2.a. Anything resembling snow. b The white specks on a television screen resulting from weak reception.

crash --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
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Japanese Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original language

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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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