Snow Crash

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1st edition US hard cover.

Snow Crash is a techno-thriller by Neal Stephenson. It's a humorous, yet action-packed romp through a not-too-distant future cyberspace. The world is no longer controlled by governments, it's now controlled by corporations. Even the Central Intelligence Agency has turned into the Central Intelligence Corporation. Hired security is more powerful than most armies and new currencies are created by individual companies. Instead of just looking at the old 2D Internet, you fully immerse yourself into the highly evolved 3D world of the Metaverse.

Ride along with Hiro Protanganest (a pizza delivery man for the Mafia) as he searches for intel about a new computer virus called Snow Crash that has the ability not only to infect your computer, but your mind as well! Then there's Y.T., a fifteen year-old Kourier who gets tangled up with the Mafia, cults, and cops, but who's mother works for the FBI. You'll also meet Raven, a bad-ass who carries knives that can cut through bulletproof Kevlar and has his brain hard wired to an atomic bomb.

This book is very clever, highly witty, and full of interesting computer and mythology metaphors. You'll learn about futuristic possibilities as well as the world's most ancient mythology. This is a must read for anyone who thinks they might be a hacker.

Status

I don't own this book, but have read it and listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • I really like the idea of being a mind-hacker with the assembly code of the brain.
  • Stephenson did a good job at appropriating ancient mythology into modern hacking terms.
  • Hiro, even though he's not nearly the most interesting character, is a perfect lead.
  • YT is hilarious, and not too ridiculous to be unbelievable.
  • Raven is a wonderful villain, a true bad-ass.
  • I would certainly listen to Reason.

Bad

  • I don't like it when authors jump around in their time line like in this book. I guess they do it to make their writing seem edgy, or keep the right pace, but I find it unnecessary and confusing.
  • "Snow crash" is a highly antiquated term, and not something that hackers past the 70s would be familiar with, let alone future hackers.
  • The future is way too soon. Most of the technology necessary for the Metaverse is still many years away despite taking place around 2010.
  • The book goes into so much detail with ancient mythology that I started to get bored, and I found there to be too many analogies for the ancient terms.
  • A lot of time is spent talking about the US government, but it never amounts to anything.
  • Like many authors who have described an online virtual reality, the rules don't seem like they'd work. The metaverse seems far too constrictive in some ways (avatars have to be the same height at their owners, they can't teleport, etc.), and too liberal in others (a hacker can adjust their size to zero, a single programmer controls all the graveyard demons, etc.)

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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