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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FIrst Stephenson read won't be the last
This was my first plunge into the world of Stephenson (I have Cryptonomicon sitting ominously on my shelf), and now I know why people make such a big fuss over him. This book is funny, wildly inventive, action-packed, futuristic, dystopian, philsophical, historical, etc... I was totally sucked into the world and loved the descriptions of the franchised universe in which...
Published on Sept. 30 2009 by J. Tobin Garrett

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone
What Neuromancer started, Snow Crash maximizes. If Cyber-Punk is your thing, you'll love this. I didn't. If you're a young white male video-game fantatic, this is where it's at. I'm none of the above.
For everyone else, those of us who know what a story is, what characterization is, what point of view is, this is a huge disappointment after the build-up. As a...
Published on May 31 2004 by Alec Graham


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FIrst Stephenson read won't be the last, Sept. 30 2009
By 
J. Tobin Garrett (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
This was my first plunge into the world of Stephenson (I have Cryptonomicon sitting ominously on my shelf), and now I know why people make such a big fuss over him. This book is funny, wildly inventive, action-packed, futuristic, dystopian, philsophical, historical, etc... I was totally sucked into the world and loved the descriptions of the franchised universe in which the characters live, consume, and die in. It was interesting even further when the full mystery began to unravel and Stephenson injected the book with mythology and religious history, which was fascinating and unexpected.

I've been told this is a 'cyberpunk' novel, and I can see why, as the name seems to fit the tone of the book. Punk music, skateboarding, violence, and swords all combined with technology, cars, virtual reality, and computer viruses. Makes for quite an interesting mash of topics.

There were a few times when the characters fell flat for me. I didn't really buy into or care about the romance between Hiro and Juanita; it seemed as though it was thrown in there to make the characters more dynamic, the story more involving, but didn't work for me. Stephenson is a great writer and could be so much better if he created characters that were as three dimensional as his worlds.

What really sold me on the novel was Stephenson's narrative voice: it was so casual and conversational that it was difficult to remember that the novel was written in third person at all. The narrator had such a presence in the book, which was really cool. It was kind of like how David Foster Wallace has his own presence in his books as a narrator, just lurking in the background but constantly there, popping in every once in a while with asides and footnoted information.

I look forward to reading more of Neil Stephenson's work. His futuristic writings, but also his historical writing in the Baroque Trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining and ahead of its time, June 14 2004
By 
Dan Donlin (The People's Republic of Royal Oak) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
Readers of this book need to take into account that it was written between '89 and '91, published in '92. Why? Because so many of his predictions and observations are pretty accurate or close to how things are now. If you didn't realize this, then it would seem cliched and unoriginal. In addition, the book is damn funny, it zips along at a quick pace and the dialogue is sharp and witty. Pick it up at your first opportunity and as soon as you start reading, you'll be hooked....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why you should read Snow Crash, June 18 2004
By 
C. Myers "leanleaper" (Simi Valley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
You should read this novel if you
1. enjoy a dark vision of the future presented as comedy;
2. appreciate masterful word play;
3. like plots of epic scope and complexity;
4. can live with characters who, while interesting, are not steeped in psychological complexity;
5. are looking for a masterpiece of speculative satire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snow Crash, Jan. 11 2013
This is one of Neil Stephenson's best as far as I'm concerned, which is saying a lot since he is f%*#ing amazing in general. The layered story line mixed with the scientific perspective then crossed with historical references. Exquisite. I think he may be a genius but what do I know, I only know what I like. AWESOMENESS.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cool and smart!, Aug. 25 2012
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
Given all the rave reviews Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash has received over the years, it's a wonder that the book has been sitting there on my shelf for well over a decade now. I was getting more and more concerned with each passing year, for this work kept receiving such accolades that it raised my expectations to what I felt was an impossible level. I mean, a science fiction novel being selected as one of the 100 books to read in English by Time Magazine? It reached the point where Snow Crash had to be one of the very best books I had ever read, if not the very best, if it had any chance of meeting those lofty expectations.

Understandably, although it is an ambitious, intelligent, and entertaining novel, Snow Crash couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. It is a fun and thrilling read, no question. And yet, as much as I enjoyed it, I don't feel that it's the sort of literary work that lingers within your mind long after you have finished it.

Here's the blurb:

One of Time magazine's 100 all-time best English-language novels.

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.

The worldbuilding is simply awesome. In a not-so-distant future, the USA has become a fragmented ensembles of smaller Burbclaves and city-states. As is usually the author's wont, the witty narrative is full of satiric social and political commentary. What's even more brilliant is the fact that Snow Crash was written between 1988 and 1991. To realize just how on the money Stephenson turned out to be regarding the information age and virtual reality, it's simply astonishing. The same thing goes for the technology now in use, both in terms of software and hardware. Truly, Neal Stephenson was a visionary.

The characterization is well-done, especially considering that having teenagers as your principal protagonists can sometimes be quite tricky. Yet both Hiro Protagonist, the Deliverator and katana-wielding hacker, and Y.T., a pesky Kourier, are well-defined characters you just have to root for. When Hiro is involved in an accident and is about to be late delivering a pizza, Y.T. delivers the pie on time, thus earning a favor from the Mafia and joining her fate to Hiro's, though none of them are quite aware of that fact just yet. Although the narrative follows the POVs of these two protagonists for the better part of the book, they are joined by a colorful cast of secondary characters that give Snow Crash its unforgettable flavor. Chief among those include Uncle Enzo, the Librarian, and Raven.

The pace is fluid and the chapters relatively short, making this novel a real page-turner. Indeed, there is never a dull moment. The early portions about the Sumerian myths and their importance are a bit more nebulous and hard to understand, but everything is explained later on in the book. Hence, for a while at least, you are sort of left in the dark as to what this new computer virus is all about. Be that as it may, you just need to buckle up and enjoy the ride. From beginning to end, Snow Crash remains a dense and surreal work of fiction full of humor that will make you think as much as it makes you laugh.

As I mentioned, what is even more impressive is the fact that this novel was initially published two decades ago. Discovering just how right Stephenson was concerning everything that has to do with the information age and virtual reality will have you shaking your head in bewilderment.

Snow Crash is a smart, cool, funny, witty, and action-packed adventure featuring a pair of unlikely heroes who must save the world from infocalypse. If you enjoy roller-coaster rides, Snow Crash is definitely for you! You will never again look at toilet paper quite the same way afterwards. . .

If, like me, you haven't read it yet, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash could be perfect vacation reading material for you.

Check out Pat's Fantasy Hotlist!
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5.0 out of 5 stars 20 years later and still cool, May 3 2012
By 
Ryan G (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
This was my first time to read a novel by Stephenson. It actually surpassed my expectations. Some of the ideas in this book are original and highly imaginative, and especially the combining of historical myth with future concepts. I also found this book to be at times hilarious. The interesting thing about Snow Crash is I didn't find it outdated at all 20 years after its release. I can't understand how any of the people who reviewed this book would give it 1 star? I am a fan of SF and cyberpunk and I found this better than anything by Gibson in the last 10 years. I'm already looking forward the Diamond Age and and Cryptonomicon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone to love...and to hate..., March 10 2006
By 
Ken Breadner "Pageflipper" (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
By turns frustratingly brilliant and wildly disappointing, this book seems to taunt its readers. It can't make up its mind what it is. The first chapter is possibly the most madcap action scene I've ever read. After that the novel just veers off in all directions at once. The hell of it is, many of these directions are interesting. You just get to wishing Stephenson would spend more time somewhere, anywhere. And then, wonder of wonders, everything gets tied up together in the end.
I'm a small minority on here, it appears: I REALLY liked the historical lectures. They actually made a good deal of sense to me and made me think of the world in a new way.
I'm more than intrigued enough to read some more of this author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be sure you stop to breathe, June 26 2004
By 
J. Levene (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
Reading this book is like watching an Imax film of Calvin and Hobbes riding their sled. Stephenson manages to combine something old, sonething new, lots of things borrowed, and a few blue, in an intelligent and well-thought-out book that does not discard all the old literary virtues, even as it is uproariously original. And, it's so nice to see ancient cultures, computer programming, and swordsmanship all treated with intelligence and respect and some regard for the facts.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Everyone, May 31 2004
By 
Alec Graham (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Snow Crash (Audio Cassette)
What Neuromancer started, Snow Crash maximizes. If Cyber-Punk is your thing, you'll love this. I didn't. If you're a young white male video-game fantatic, this is where it's at. I'm none of the above.
For everyone else, those of us who know what a story is, what characterization is, what point of view is, this is a huge disappointment after the build-up. As a writer, I am not impressed. As a friend said, Stephenson has something to say; however, he's taken way too many creative writing classes and they get in the way of whatever that is. It's surprisingly easy to write this stuff -- no in-depth character thinking, non-stop action instead of what McKee calls the ebb and flow of pace and action, no rhythm, just top-volume jive all the way, way-too-long sentences using five-dollar words where a nickel one will do. And no real point of view. It's written in first person, present tense to up the immediacy, which may suit the fast-paced feel but doesn't allow for thought. At no time did I get any real concept of how the character(s) felt about what they were involved in. Just mindless go-go-go. Too much.
Fast-paced, in-your-face, California fast-jive; wise-cracking, pissy-assed, slam-bam action-packed non-stop creative-writing razzle-dazzle word-mongering; no-pain, no-gain, no-fault law-ignoring fast-driving cyber-punk and boring.
On an academic level, I understand the appeal. I can't read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Depends on how you like your SF......, Aug. 26 2001
By 
Eric J. Kristoff (Chicago) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
Snow Crash is full of fun and often inventive SF gadgets and ideas. How much you will enjoy this novel will depend upon how heavily you are 'into' science fiction and how plausible you like your stories. I found the characters somewhat lacking in complexity, and some of the plot devices contrived. Snow Crash felt to me a little like a comic book, without the illustrations. If you like your science fiction with an extra fantastical flare, Snow Crash is for you. If you're into hard-science SF and plausible story lines, there are many better options available.
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Snow Crash
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (Paperback - May 2 2000)
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