Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

GOLLUM

Moderator
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
9,035
Location
Australia
I've recently bought that book along with his wonderful Baroque cycle. Stephenson is nothing short of awesome, take it from me...:)
 

kythe

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
797
Location
Arizona
"Snow Crash" was the first cyberpunk novel I ever read, and remains my favorite. I think it is easier to follow than William Gibson's "Neuromancer" (technically the book that started the cyberpunk movement).
It is also a bit more lighthearted than other cyberpunk works, while still telling a meaningful story.

I'm reading "Diamond Age" now, also by Neal Stephensen. I found it a bit difficult to get into at first, but its also quite good.
 

lin robinson

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
483
THe virtual world "Second Life" seems very highly based on the concepts in "Snow Crash"... I think that calling forum icons "avatars" might have originated from it as well.

The companion book to this, I would say, is "Neuromancer"... two different takes on cyberspace.
 

Allegra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2006
Messages
2,694
THe virtual world "Second Life" seems very highly based on the concepts in "Snow Crash"... I think that calling forum icons "avatars" might have originated from it as well.
...at least it got popular because of the book. The virtual-reality term Metaverse comes from Snow Crash.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
Im reading Snow Crash and its very interesting. It was hard was getting into at the start since there were so many new things to get use to.

But after you get to know alittle about Hiro it starts getting better and better.

Not a bad choice for my first Cyberpunk.

Hiro is almost impossible to dislike.
 

lin robinson

Science fiction fantasy
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
483
Reading it after Gibson, and being given as "the same sort of thing", set up a resistance in me from the first page. I thought it was a joke they'd told me this writing and characterization was in the league with Gibson.

But I warmed up to it pretty quick. One thing it definitely has over Gibson is FUN!!! The little skater and the kayak baddie are tremendous characters. Some of his inventions like the raft are as good as anything around. And his "matrix" is turning out to be closer to reality than Gibson's has, no?

A great scifi read, and a barrel of monkeys all the way.
 

Lith

Not Drawing
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
717
Location
USA
I just finished this book. It was AWESOME. I loved all the vivid detail, the zaniness, the sharp sense of irony in the narrative. It dipped a bit in the middle with the solid dump of Sumerian mythology, (and I have some quibbles with his interpretation of religion, but it's nice to see religion handled seriously) and the ending was rather abrupt, but it's definitely exciting right up to the end.

It was about halfway through the book that I realized Hiro's name wasn't "high-ro" but "Hee-ro", making the pun all the better. The Deliverator- LOL (I love that he kept his samurai swords in his delivery car:D). It's surprising how little has changed in fifteen years, or else how accurate a projection of the future it is- I can totally see a hacker/delivery man living with a Russian thrash-metal rocker that throws concerts under the freeways attended by Japanese rappers.

It's a breath of fresh air, so modern, light-hearted yet serious- I'm actually glad I didn't read it years ago, so my vision of his vision is modern. Neuromancer is on my to-read list, but I wonder if I'll enjoy it much, now. In my experience not many authors can mix seriousness and comedy well.
 

Connavar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
8,411
The dip in the middle made me not finish it. Not that it was bad, but it was slow in the middle and i returned the book with others cause i forgot to finish it :p
 

Anthony G Williams

Greybeard
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
1,225
Location
UK
I have to say I was less impressed. My views (from my SFF blog):

I tried reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson over the past week or two. This was first published in 1992 and was well regarded, being nominated for two British SF awards, but I hadn't come across it before. It was very cutting edge in its subject matter, featuring a dystopian future in which democratic control in the USA has mainly been replaced by a patchwork of territories controlled by organised gangs linked to big business franchises. People spend a lot of time in the Metaverse, a virtual world in which interaction is by user-chosen avatars, and the two settings run in parallel in the novel. The title comes from a new computer virus which is causing havoc in the Metaverse.

The story is very clever and packed with good ideas, but I found it heavy going and each time I picked up the book found I had to flip back some pages to refresh my memory as to what had happened or who characters were - always a bad sign. I eventually made it past halfway, but then asked myself the three crucial questions: Am I really keen to find out what happens next? Do I really care what happens to the characters? Do I want to spend another week or so on this book? The answer to all three was "No", so I stopped reading. What put me off the book? I think it was the lack of both a coherent, gripping story and sympathetic characters. The author seems to have been so busy developing his ideas of life in his future world that he forgot the essential point of a novel in any genre: it should tell a story, one which seizes the imagination of readers and keeps them turning the pages to discover what happens next, while really caring about what happens to the characters.
 

viZion

Arrogant Bastard
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
730
This is one of my favorite books. I've read it and The Diamond Age at least five times. I love the surreal style and the book's vision of the future. I think I'm due for another re-read!
 

Mirannan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2013
Messages
1,791
I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to mention that he has a really good satirical look at the modern obsession with heavy weapons, too.

Everyone listens to reason!
 

Mischov

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
39
I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to mention that he has a really good satirical look at the modern obsession with heavy weapons, too.

Everyone listens to reason!
Snowcrash takes a good satirical look at quite a few things, as did Zodiac and The Big U before it. Satire is definitely one of Stephenson's strengths.
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
19,973
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
Snowcrash takes a good satirical look at quite a few things, as did Zodiac and The Big U before it. Satire is definitely one of Stephenson's strengths.
Snow Crash is one of my favourite books, but I'm glad you mentioned Zodiac as I also rate it highly and I think it is overlooked. I think Reamde is a return to his Zodiac style of writing. Not that I dislike the Baroque Cycle and Anathma, but they are quite different. I haven't read the Big U. It was discontinued, but he had it republished when he found so many people were buying second hand copies. Is it any good?
 

Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Aug 7, 2007
Messages
22,047
Location
England
Somebody lent me this book in the early to mid-90s. I vaguely recall a few things - the virtual reality with avatars and mystical over- (or is it under-) tones, the carrier/raft, the intimate syringe, avatars, the cyberdogs - including that I mostly enjoyed reading it. I can't recall the plot, though, which is always useful for a reread.

Somebody near the top of the thread mentioned how cinematic it was. I got the same impression; and, oddly enough, the use of the various locations put me in mind of the Bond films, of all things. Whether it would still do this on a second reading, I don't know.

.
 
Last edited:

Mischov

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
39
I haven't read the Big U. It was discontinued, but he had it republished when he found so many people were buying second hand copies. Is it any good?
No. It's awful. Well, the first half is pretty funny... but the second half kinda spins out of control. It is pretty straight up satire with some fledgling attempts at telling a good story (so basically the opposite of Snow Crash, which is a good story with some satire).

That said, I read it once and I'll read it again at least one more time. It is a pretty hilarious satire, and worth a read.

Zodiac is significantly better, but then again Zodiac is a damn entertaining book.
 

Ray Pullar

Licensed operator
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
148
Somebody near the top of the thread mentioned how cinematic it was. I got the same impression; and, oddly enough, the use of the various locations put me in mind of the Bond films, of all things. Whether it would still do this on a second reading, I don't know.

.
Stephenson originally planned to release the story as a graphic novel which probably explains the cinematic aspect of the scenes within it.
 

FuegoHelado

New Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
4
I found this book in a library and I start to read de first pages. The First description is awesome! I had to get it! I recommend this book to everyone.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
24,503
Location
Highlands
Call me daft, but from the title I'd always presumed the book had something to do with winter sports. :rolleyes:

I hadn't realised that it was cyberpunk, until very recently...
 
Top