Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is set in the near future, where everything is a private corporation, including the mafia, the jails, and the church.  Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza, but he is also one of the best hackers around, and the best swordsman in the world.  While "goggled in" to the Metaverse, one of Hiro's friends, a fellow hacker, falls victim to a new computer virus:  Snow Crash.  This particular virus affects only hackers, and in the wrong hands, will have devastating results.  Connected to the virus is a new religious cult, rising rapidly in popularity.  Hiro's ex-girlfriend, a neurolinguist, is investigating the cult, and finds it is associated with Sumerian myth and the Tower of Babel.  Hiro gets involved in the mission to put a stop to the cult's leaders, picking up along the way a cocky young Kourier, Y.T., as sort of a sidekick, and coming face to face with Raven, a psycho out for revenge.

After reading Neuromancer, I was a little bummed out on cyberpunk, but after Snow Crash, I totally get it.  We follow both Hiro and Y.T. throughout the book, and with both of them there is almost non-stop action, both in reality and in the Metaverse.  When we're not in the middle of guns blazing or swords swinging, then we're finding out something new about the virus or the cult, which only adds to the urgency of Hiro's task.

Stephenson's world-building is fantastic, and I had to keep reminding myself that this was published back in the early '90s, because it feels like it could have been written more recently.  I'm not sure if Snow Crash is the result of pure genius, or a lot of research, or both (probably both), but the world Stephenson creates for this book includes enough realistic elements that it feels like a very plausible future, and I found it very interesting to get into.  I think one of my favorite elements was the Kourier profession, because it kind of reminded me of the character Kit in TaleSpin.  And Kit was fucking awesome.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I knew I would love it from the first chapter, because I feel like you can't go wrong with a book that starts out talking about how pizza delivery is a big fucking deal, and it's run by the mafia.  For real.  That sucked me in, and I think I craved pizza through a good portion of this book while reading (I can be very suggestible when it comes to food).  There's a lot more to the book than just pizza delivery, though, which you find out pretty quickly, since it's pretty fast-paced.  Even when there are breaks from the action, I still wouldn't exactly call it a "lull."  It took me a long time to actually finish this book, because school kind of took over my life for a while this past semester, but even after a month or two, I was able to pick this up and remembered everything that had been going on without having to flip back and refresh my memory.  Some books, you know you would have to do that, but I was too into this one to forget any of the details, and I think that is very telling of the ability Stephenson has to create a world and a story and characters that a reader can become truly invested in.



Bantam Spectra

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  1. Sounds good! I've been meaning to read one of Neal Stephenson's books for a while, and maybe Snow Crash would be a good place to start. Great review!

    And now I want pizza.

    1. I'm glad! I had heard a lot of great things about this book from friends, so I was a little worried after being disappointed with Neuromancer, but I would absolutely recommend picking up a copy of this one!

      And yeah, I definitely had to have some pizza after writing this. XD