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4.2 out of 5 stars
Snow Crash
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on August 15, 2015
This book will grab you within the first 10 pages. This is now my favorite cyberpunk novel, ahead of Neuromancer even. The world Neal Stephenson creates is very well fleshed, and the plot is fast paced. Character development is the one weakness of this book, but I for one didn't really feel the lack. The mixture of the intricate world with Stephenson's excellent and descriptive prose is more than enough. If you are wondering whether you will enjoy this book, stop wondering and read it. Read it now!!
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Probably my favourite book of all time. My introduction to Neal Stephenson and a book that should be in every sci-fi/cyberpunk lovers collection.
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on January 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 The layered story line mixed with the scientific perspective then crossed with historical references.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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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
Disclaimer: Bad english

After playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution and rewatching the Matrix Trilogy, I've desperately been looking for some gritty/noire cyberpunk content that would leave my mind thinking and dreaming. I've never liked reading when I was young; most of it was force fed by school teachers. Still, having grown up some, I decided to give a shot to novels again. After reading some reviews and synopsis online, you've guessed it, I purchased Snow Crash @ 17$ CAD.

It's absolutely incredible how overrated this book is. Since I hate leaving things unfinished, I forced myself through reading a quarter of it. I then decided to stop when reading more than 10 pages became a chore. Stopped about when the author describes the actions of a mechanical dog in a *dog thinking* way.

e.g:
-Dog usually like people
-But dog doesn't like this guy
-Dog decide to run really fast at bad guy
(WTF??)

For a book that was written in the 90s, the author was a visionary. However, for our current time, the book is boring.
Also, not only is it poorly written, the timeline makes no sense at all and there are wayyyyyy too many pitiful attempts at humor. Should have known better after seeing that the main character was named Hiro Protagonist (LOL!).

I'll leave the actual review to the more word-talented individuals. Just read the 1 stars reviews, they share most of my opinion in a better written way.

Thanks
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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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on May 3, 2012
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 17, 2011
Hiro Protagonist is the hero of future twisted world created by Neal Stephenson. Hiro is also the protagonist.

Hiro is a pizza delivery person working for CosaNostra Pizza. When he pulls up one night to CosaNostra Piza #3569 to pick up a pizza to deliver the place is on fire and when he finaly gets the distributor to give him a pizza to deliver it already has 20 minutes on the box. This is a problem as all pizzas must be delivered within 30 minutes or all you know what happens.

Shouldn't be a problem as he has 10 minutes to cover 12 miles. At least it's not a problem until he drives into an empty pool short of his delivery spot.

Y.T. who is a Kourier who was pooning (short version of harpoon which is explained in the book) his vehicle prior to the crash comes to the rescue and delivers his pizza on time thus setting up a relationship of both people running into each other at opportune times to help each other out.

Hiro is also a computer hacker and according to himself the "Greatest Sword Fighter in the World".

The adventure soon starts when an unknown enemy releases a virus called Snow Crash that incapacitates hackers like Hiro and turns regular people into babbling slaves.

This all ties into the millennium old Sumerian Race and Religion having to do with everyone's base memory (core memory in computer circles).

There is a metaverse where anyone with a computer can be anybody they want to be through their created avatar. In this environment Hiro lives in a posh house versus his real world digs which is a 20 by 30 storage unit he shares with a buddy.

Both Hiro and Y.T. are on a collision course with the bad guys which includes Raven (maniac with a nuclear bomb attached to his motorcycle), Lagos (fellow hacker and miscreant) and L. Bob Rife (fantastically rich psycho).

Our hero Hiro prevails in the end. I rally enjoyed this book which was the first I have read of Neal Stephenson
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2009
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2006
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 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2005
This was the most painful book I have ever read! It is so disjointed, the reader has little or no idea what world the characters are in at any given time.You simply do not care about any of the players in the story at all.Live or die, it's all the same.It has no plot and has more loose ends than I have ever read or tried to read.The dialogue is childish and the author literally makes up his own words to describe things with no explanation whatsoever.If I can save one person from wasting his/her time reading this book, I can sleep better at night!
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