Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Vertigo

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I keep wondering about this one. I enjoy cyberpunk, but I've given Stephenson two attempts that I have just hated: The Mongoliad - historical fantasy and Reamde - SF. I just couldn't get on with either of them. But lots of people keep raving about him and so I keep wondering about trying him again.
 

PartialMitch

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I keep wondering about this one. I enjoy cyberpunk, but I've given Stephenson two attempts that I have just hated: The Mongoliad - historical fantasy and Reamde - SF. I just couldn't get on with either of them. But lots of people keep raving about him and so I keep wondering about trying him again.
Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon and Anathem are among my favorite novels, but I can totally see how Stephenson could be an acquired taste. I think I was four hundred pages into Anathem before getting into the book, and now I can't imagine life without it. Snow Crash has an advantage (compared to his longer works) in that it is very fast paced, so it's really easy to tear through.
 

Vertigo

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Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon and Anathem are among my favorite novels, but I can totally see how Stephenson could be an acquired taste. I think I was four hundred pages into Anathem before getting into the book, and now I can't imagine life without it. Snow Crash has an advantage (compared to his longer works) in that it is very fast paced, so it's really easy to tear through.
Yes it's always a worry that you might be rejecting an author based on his or her worst work. I think that if I get around to giving Stephenson another go it will probably be with Snow Crash.
 
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PROS: Great concepts, fantastic sense of humour
CONS: Very long history lesson in the middle, poor character development, ending too tongue in cheek and not everything wrapped up.
VERDICT: Cons massively outweigh pros; I only finished this because I hate not finishing a book.

I wasn't a big fan of this at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it towards the beginning as the concepts were laid out - the Cosa Nostra Pizza Company, the Street and virtual sword fighting, pooning, the lot. But the characters just did not have the depth to keep me involved through that very long history lesson in the middle. While other characters were suitably likeable or dislikeable, YT was the only interesting character in the whole book. I found the ending alright, but more appropriate for a short story. After heaving myself through a lot of ancient history, I was hoping for something a bit less tongue in cheek. I never could work out whether Stephenson was taking the whole thing seriously or not - the concepts, the names, the ending and the gun-ho attitude of the characters to supposedly their impending doom, all suggest a very tongue in cheek approach, but the historical element was so very very serious. I found it a bit disconcerting. Number one criticism though - what happened to Raven's big nuke we were all worried about throughout the book? Unless I missed something it just stops being an issue?!

To be fair, I'm not a fan of Sumerian history, and it seems I might just not be a cyberpunk novel fan. I found Neuromancer a bit better, but roughly the same. But I don't want to write off a whole genre on the back of two novels - any recommendations? (Perhaps something fairly short, as my attention span doesn't seem as long with cyberpunk.)
 
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VegetalCrossing

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Stephenson has a very unique style close to Gibson's. I think it's really correlated to the cyberpunk subgenre and I can understand why you can't get into it. It's noisy, anarchist and full of details that doesn't have much to do with the story whatsoever. Gibson is even worst because the story is full of blanks that you have to fulfil yourself.
There are different levels of reading : the worldbuilding and the plot. In the case of Snow Crash, both are greats ! This anarcho-capitalist world was so thrilling the first time I read it.
 

Topher

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I read this a couple of months ago. I really loved the first half, the humour and satire mixed with fun characters was great. The momentum of that just about kept me going through the second half, but it was a bit of a slog, and the ending didn't feel as gripping as I'd been built up to expect. But it was definitely v fun and don't at all begrudge the time spent with it.
 

Elckerlyc

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I agree, the first half was by far the best part of the novel.
I particularly liked the first chapter and the description of the Deliverator and, having read it more than 25 years ago, still consider it one of the best pieces of worldbuilding as introduction to a novel
 
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