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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,454305194 (4.12)602
In the future the only relief from the sea of logos is the computer-generated universe of virtual reality. Now a strange computer virus, called Snow Crash, is striking down hackers, leaving an unlikely young man as humankind's last hope.
Title:Snow Crash
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:Spectra (1993), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992)

  1. 233
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (moonstormer)
  2. 140
    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. 100
    Neuromancer by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  4. 60
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (thehoodedone)
  5. 50
    The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (atrautz)
  6. 50
    Count Zero by William Gibson (thebookpile)
  7. 40
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  8. 62
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  9. 30
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (ecureuil)
  10. 20
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (electronicmemory)
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 10
    The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  14. 32
    Virtual Light by William Gibson (Moehrendorf)
  15. 21
    City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (romula)
  16. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)
  17. 00
    Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Cyberpunk

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» See also 602 mentions

English (299)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (304)
Showing 1-5 of 299 (next | show all)
Good book, but sci-fi is not really my thing. If it was, I would give Snow Crash at least four stars. ( )
  parloteo | Dec 21, 2019 |
This was a strange book. It seemed like a weird research project about how knowledge is a virus that is spread by religion and a story was tacked on about the future/past collapse of the United States into racist city-states and the people who live in it. However, if the start about super high tech, competitive mafia pizza delivery jobs doesn't turn you off, you might like this book.

The world building is great, the characters are ok, the story is weird. ( )
  nmorse | Dec 3, 2019 |
I wish I'd run across this book years ago. ( )
  Murphy-Jacobs | Nov 26, 2019 |
I know I am late to the party reading this book. It was published in 1992 which is more than 25 years ago. (In my defence that was the period I was returning to school and entering a relationship with the man who would become my husband so I was a tad busy.) This book must have made quite an impact when it first came out but amazingly it didn't get shortlisted for either the Nebula or the Hugo awards.

Hiro Protagonist is a pizza delivery man in real-life LA but in the Metaverse (a virtual world that he helped create) he is a warrior prince, using Japanese samurai swords to dispose of the avatars of anyone who challenges him. The pizza delivery business is owned by the Mafia which is controlled by a godfather called Uncle Enzo. All the pizzas are supposed to be delivered in under 30 minutes and Hiro has a good record with an average delivery time of 15 minutes. Then he pulls into the franchise he delivers for and finds the pizza he is supposed to deliver is already 20 minutes old and it is 12 miles away. He figures he can still make it by taking a shortcut across a couple of lawns in a Burbclave (a gated community). He is driving like a madman when he realizes he has been harpooned (hit with a magnet attached to a cable operated by a skateboarder) and he can't shake the boarder. He figures when he hits the lawns he is aiming for the boarder will have to let go; instead he crashes through a fence into an empty swimming pool. His career delivering pizza is over but the boarder comes to his rescue saying she can deliver the pizza on time. She takes the pizza and his card and tells him her name is Y.T. and then she manages to deliver the pizza before the 30 minute deadline. That's just the action in the first 18 pages and the pace really doesn't let down after that. As the plot proceeds we learn about the dystopian world that the USA (it's not clear what the rest of the world is experiencing experiencing except that lots of people are fleeing Asia for the US so obviously things aren't great there) has become. The federal government has all but broken down and major criminal organizations (the Mafia, the Colombians, the Chinese triad gangs etc.) control most of the commercial activities. Many people are homeless or live in makeshift shelters. For distraction people log on to their computers and tap into the Metaverse which is a huge virtual reality. Each person in the Metaverse has a constructed representation which Stephenson called an avatar. He wasn't the first person to use this term but this book did make it a popular notion. When Hiro is no longer employed he spends quite a bit of time in the Metaverse and he discovers that there is a virus (called Snow Crash) spreading that infects hackers specifically, causing the brain to become non-functioning. At the same time there is a new drug also called Snow Crash circulating that causes those who take it to start to talk in gibberish. YT who has come to the attention of Uncle Enzo himself by virtue of her pizza delivery gets involved in a scheme to get a sample of Snow Crash for analysis. Both viruses trace back to the Sumerian culture and almost all of humanity could be infected unless an antivirus is found. Hiro is our hero for figuring all this out but he needs the help of others including YT and a former girlfriend Juanita so this is not a one man crusade.

The characters in the book are fascinating. I really liked YT who takes no guff from anyone but still wants to reassure her mom that she is a normal 15 year old teenager. Stephenson even has an aboriginal character called Raven who is an Aleut from Alaska. He is not a good guy but at the same time he has a lot of legitimate grievances about how his people have been treated.

When you think about the state of the internet in 1992 when this book was published and where it is now Stephenson seems to have been remarkably good at predicting how it would turn out.

All in all this was a great read and I'm glad I finally got to it. ( )
  gypsysmom | Oct 3, 2019 |
Another great Neal Stephenson book. A lot of the technology references are dated, but that in no way deters from the story. ( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 26, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 299 (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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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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Book description
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in 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.
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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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