Store Is Closed
- ISBN: 978-0553380958
- Title: Snow Crash
- Author: Stephenson, Neal
- Publisher: Bantam Spectra, New York
- Year: 1992
- Pages: 440
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I consider Snow Crash as a formative work, with influences on my style of writing and way of thinking. It’s interdisciplinary acumen paired with rich imagery, hypercreative vision, and sugary action make for a unique and refreshing writing style.
The author, Neal Stephenson, interweaves linguistics, religion, computer programming, biology, history, anthropology, geography, music, and many other diverse area of study into a coherent, entertaining storyline that reads easy without appearing flaky.
The novel takes place in a capitalist-anarchist United States, whose government has ceded much of its power to sovereign business franchises. The military’s assets are absorbed by competing organizations, such as ‘General Jim’s Defense System,’ and ‘Admiral Bob’s Global Security.’ Policing is done by private security guards, whose jurisdiction extends within the confines of sovereign suburuban enclaves. Each enclave part of a bigger franchise with it’s own constitution, such as ‘Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong.’
The internet has evolved to the Metaverse, a virtual reality projected on the users eyes. The user controls an avatar that navigates through a 3 dimensional universe programmed with streets and buildings, developed by private entities, and regulated by the ‘Global Multimedia Protocol Group.’
The plot of Snow Crash weaves between reality and the Metaverse. The main protagonist, Hiro Protagonist, discovers a virus within the Metaverse transmitted under the guise of a cybernarcotic called ‘Snow Crash.’ To his surprise, although transmitted through the Metaverse, the virus is capable of infecting the mind in the physical world.
His investigations into the origin of the virus involve him in a greater plot, where he discovers that ‘Snow Crash’ is a neurolinguistic virus being transmitted not only through the Metaverse, but through the exchange of bodily fluids in reality. He also learns that the virus has Sumerian origins, and correlates to biblical events.
He learns of a plot to utilize this ancient virus to infect and control people, and becomes part of a coordinated effort against the virus and those who control it.
The story is well thought out and engaging, not really predictable. I recommend it to anyone looking for something colorful and complex without being overwhelmed in esoteric technobabble.