Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Can One Say About Snow Crash?

I recently finished up the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I am still not fully sure what I actually read though. That is just the kind of read Snow Crash is.

Now to try and explain Snow Crash and see if I can make any sense of it.

Snow Crash takes place in California in the near future (Well, actually an alternate present that feels near future). According to it is a cyberpunk novel, which makes sense. Yet somehow while reading it there was nothing about it that registered as being Cyberpunk in my mind.

In this world there is a government, as the Feds are still there, yet they somehow are not really running things. The rule of law seems to be that franchises are the real power. In this world your pizza delivery (and other) franchises are openly controlled by the Mafia. You are a citizen of whatever franchise you pledge your loyalty to.  The police are a pay for service organization and the prisons are all businesses, some being run out of the basement of  another business.

Our main characters are the hacker/swordsman Hiro Protagonist (Yes, that really is the character's name) and the teenage courier Y.T. While they call themselves partners, they do not spend much time interacting with each other. They share the role of Point of View Characters, switching back and forth, although their timelines are not fully synced up, often making for awkward jumps back and forth in the story.

Not going to go into the plot, as it is better read than explained. I am not sure if I could make it make any sense. There is a lot about the concept of religion being a type of virus and some really complicated ideas of the workings of the human mind that I am not sure if I buy into.

There is a virtual world where a good deal of the book takes place. By using a program that uses binary code to 'reset' a hacker's mind, our bad guys are trying to do something. I was never actually sure what the ultimate use of that was though.  There was something about getting refuges to land in California, but I wasn't sure what this was going to accomplish.

I am going to leave it at that. I am glad I read Snow Crash and I recommend it to others. Please don't ask what I thought of it though, as I am still left with an odd sensation as to what it was I read.


  1. seems to be comic this book -- ludicrous - intentional tongue in cheek parody - i have not read it but from how you describe it to me this seems to be the case
    fantasy comedy

  2. This book is #7 in this article by John Scalzi: