Published in 1992 in the days of the internet's infancy, it evoked in me a wistful feeling of nostalgia (I first hopped online in 1994), and for that I am grateful. I was also appreciative and at times amazed by the sheer number of technological concepts that would prove prescient in the decades following its publication (Second Life, anyone?). Beyond that, though, once the plot began to connect ancient Sumerian texts to modern-day computer hacking, the story had become a bit too all-over-the-place for my liking, and I ultimately lost interest about halfway through. The second law of Ranganathan's five laws of library science is "every reader his/her book." Regrettably, though it appears beloved by many other readers, this was not my book.
Intricate, imaginative, and very articulate. I like this author very much. It's not what you think. Keep reading -
Diamond Age is my favorite by Stephenson, but Snow Crash is a close second.
I cannot understand -- when there are good books with hackers as the major character -- why anyone could find this interesting?
Burning Chrome -- William Gibson
Brain Jack -- Brian Falkner
Romily Bernard's books
Burning Blue -- Paul Griffin
Daemon -- Daniel Suarez
Freedom -- Daniel Suarez
Influx -- Daniel Suarez
Michelle Gagnon's books
My first Stephenson book! I really enjoyed it, and I'm anxious to dig into his other novels. It's pretty incredible to consider when this book was published (early 1990s), because many of his fictional predictions have become eerily true.
I do feel the book lost me a little near the end, almost as if Stephenson spent most of his effort building a fascinating world and interesting characters, then wasn't quite sure how to bring it all together into a resolution. Not to suggest it ended terribly--far from it! But it just felt like Stephenson hit some type of word limit and began to wind down.
Overall: extremely engaging and satisfying. I feel like I need to read it a couple more times to make full sense of everything. It's dense in the best possible way. Highly recommended.
Also, the book made me hungry for pizza. Maybe I should call the local Uncle Enzo's franchise and order myself a pepperoni pie...
This is a stark view our humankind's not so distant future. The world has been broken apart and separated into albeit smaller, more powerful forces. The United States of America's government has been reduce to several small fenced-in miles, hosting boring gray-stone official looking buildings that do an incredible amount of nothing to help govern their remaining citizen. Yet those still employed by the USA are subjected to the most rigorous, stress filled exams almost weekly, to obviously ensure that they are not giving away secrets. The only way to unwind and not succumb to complete and total insanity is to spend your every waking moment in a virtual reality known as, "The Meta Verse."
With the downfall of any real organized government, naturally the Mafia is at an all time high in ownership, however crime is no longer their number 1 import/export, ironically enough, delivering pizza in less than 30 is Uncle Enzo's top priority, and at a 99.99% customer satisfaction rating he aims to keep it that way.
Insert main character Hiro Protagonist, appropriately named. Hiro deliver's for Uncle Enzo but after having a rather strange run-in with a local courier his life and entire understanding changes drastically. After losing his Mafia pizza delivery job Hiro spends quite a bit of time surfing around the Meta Verse. Here anything goes. You can purchase actual real-estate, build houses, customize your avatar to your sad little hearts content, and as some of the most proactive hackers have recently discovered do drugs. Insert Snow Crash. This however is not a drug, it's a virus and it's slowly taking over the entire world. Below are some of my favorite quotes:
"Now I have a different perspective on it. America must look, to those poor little buggers down there, about the same as Crete looked to those poor Greek suckers. Except that there's no coercion involved. Those people down there gve up their children willingly. Send them into the labyrinth by the millions to be eaten up. The industry feeds on them and spits them back images, sends out wealth and exotics things beyond their wildest dreams, back to the people, and it gives them something to dream about, something to aspire to. And that is the function of the Raft. It's just a big old krill carrier." [Chapter 14, Page 119]
"The people of America, who live in the world's most surprising and terrible country, take comfort in that motto. Follow the loglo outward, to where the growth is enfolded into the valleys and canyons, and you find the and of the refugees" [Chapter 24, Page 191]
Hiro, along with several colorful characters, including the Courier that cost him his job, Y.T. [presumably meaning Yours Truly] set out on an insane rumpus to discover those behind Snow Crash and try to put an end to it before the world is destroyed.
Of all the long Stephenson books this is probably the fastest read. The pace is great, though as some reviewers have pointed out it does include a lot of monologues on ancient Sumeria and such. The book also includes a description of Google Earth, before Google existed, and the gargoyles described within are beginning to show themselves during protests and other major events since the invent of livestreaming.
A very stylized piece, the first few chapters read as though they were written by the characters themselves, though in third person. The writing style seems to be intentionally jarring, making for an interesting read. This is not my genre of choice, but I don't regret reading it. I have to say though, the author's note was my favorite part.
Firstly, Neal Stephenson is The Man. This, being one of his early books, is not nearly as polished and pro as Crypto, Silver, Ana....but it is damn fine and an absolute gas. It's not for everyone and his method for expounding the Sumerian info is a bit ham-handed. But give it a shot!
There is mediocre, and then there is submediocre, and Stephenson has always defined the latter category of "submediocrity"! He once wrote an excellent article on world wide cabling/communications (where he appeared to profile Cable & Wireless, but even then gave a skimpy portrayal of them). SF just isn't his bag!
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