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review 2015-12-16 13:24
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

Neuromancer was the first cyberpunk novel I read, but my favourite is Snow Crash.  It takes a humourous twist on a cpunk story that I found refreshing, right down to the main character of the story, Hiro Protagonist.  Creative and whimsical, this is not a dark tale like most.  He also creates some unusual characters.  A great story for anyone to read.

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review 2015-07-20 00:00
Snow Crash
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson I can see why people love this book and why it's a genre classic, because it had some truly interesting ideas about culture, language, science, and religion, but ultimately the execution failed to compel me. I was frequently bored by the many infodumps and flat, dull characters. It also didn't age very well, and feels dated now in the age of smartphones and tablet computers with its clunky 'future' technology references. Y.T. and Fido were the only things I really cared about by the end.
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review 2015-06-20 08:04
Snow crash Neal Stephenson review
Snow Crash - Jonathan Davis,Neal Stephenson

A classic of science fiction and cyber punk, this is the first Neal Stepenson I've read. It had some impressively prescient ideas for when it was published in the early 90s, but I'm not sure when this book was mean to be set. Someone reading this in 1995 would have found this even more fantastical than I did. The most interesting ideas were about virtual reality, the shrinking of the microchip and it's computing power exponentially increasing. I also liked dangerous concept of Library of Congress merging with intelligence arm of the government and turning into a warehouse of digital information. In New Zealand, our national library recently became a subsidiary of the Internal Affairs department, so this could happen to us eventually! The huge social and societal changes were less understandable, but maybe because I'm not an American this was harder to undersand. I didn't really understand any of the characters, and this seemed more like a bunch of cool ideas than one coherent novel. One of the least palatable aspects is the 15 year old character's explicit and detailed sex scene. I may eventually read some other Stephenson but if this was a good place to start I have my doubts

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review 2015-02-01 15:01
Snow Crash
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson's characters and I seem to share quite a few interests (some of which are, admittedly, not for everybody). Though Snow Crash seems to be Stephenson's most popular book, I wouldn't give it the kind of universal recommendation status merited by the likes of Zodiac. However, I think it would appeal to a broader audience than say, Cryptonomicon, or Reamde (only in part due to the fact that those two each clock in at over 1,000 pages).

 

So, let's get that snow crashing! Ok, so it's not an avalanche survival story, but what do I really have to contribute to the body of Snow Crash commentary out there if not vaguely related Archer clips?

Archer Avalanche

 

Our protagonist, appropriately named Hiro Protagonist, is a freelance hacker, and pizza delivery guy (which, as a mafia-run industry that takes its promise of delivery in 30 minutes or less very seriously, is not an occupation without risk). Hiro's imaginary report card would read:

“Hiro is so bright and creative but needs to work harder on his cooperation skills.”

The gear in this futuristic world is really half the fun. Hiro (aka The Deliverator) has a uniform made of an “arachnofiber weave” that would put the tactical turtleneck to shame any day. Even the relatively lame Metacops get to have night vision goggles.

Archer Night Vision Goggles

 

Hiro's cooperation skills are put to the test when our other lead character, 15-year-old courier YT (it's supposed to stand for Yours Truly, but Michael Jackson's PYT kept getting stuck in my head), saves his skin by bailing him out of a near-miss pizza delivery. Couriers, of course, travel by skateboard, “pooning” passing cars to speed about the city. 

Archer Car Surf OC

 

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Hiro (as noted on his business card) is also the Greatest Swordfighter in the World.

Archer Katana Fight

 

I don't even know where to begin with the whole cyborg situation (a certain world's greatest secret agent would be decidedly uncomfortable in this Stephenson verse). I'll just say that there are some, and not all of them are good (duh). I mean, can you really even kill those things?

Bionic Barry dead or alive

 

Science or Fiction?

As in the other Stephenson books I've read, the sheer power of his intellect is on display in this one. After complaints from the reading public that Stephenson failed to cite sources with respect to Riemann Zeta function cryptography, Stephenson sent an email to “real life” mathematician/cryptography expert Michael Anshel in which he noted “that many readers of fiction underestimate just how much of a novel's content is simply made up.”

 

But, guess what Stephenson? There's a reason “that many readers seem to have [difficulty] in identifying the boundary between fact and fiction” in your books. And, for my money, that's not necessarily a bad thing! Sure, I should probably go and check out some of the bits about Sumerian etymology before I go tossing them around as fact, but at least now I'm interested enough to do so! 

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review 2014-09-07 06:49
Snowcrash
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

I first read Snowcrash years ago, as an ebook straight from a laptop screen. I generally don't like to read books from my laptop, but Snowcrash was an absolute joy at the time, and remains that way the second time around.

Our character of choice is one Hiro Protagonist (yeah you get the joke, but still this book makes up for it), a hacker (in Snowcrash a term which is interchangeable with programmer oddly enough) in a dystopian America which exists mostly as loosely connected citystates known as franculates or burbclaves. The US government still exists, but struggles desperately to hold on to whatever it can and has eschewed laws and regulations in favor of going hog wild. Laws, for the most part, no longer exist, each citystate enforcing its own laws and regulations independent of each other, and sometimes their own punishments as well. National defense, religion, and other cultural and federal authorities have been privatized and commercialized. Admiral Bob's Navy, and General Jim's Defense System for example. Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates, features a triumvirate of Jesus, Holy Ghost and Elvis.

America still manages to do four things better than anyone else...

Movies
Music
Software and....
Pizza delivery

Yes pizza delivery. This is a book where people go to university level schools for 4 years to learn how to deliver za's. For the mafia no less (apparently pizza delivery is really SERIOUS BUSINESS in the future. The book goes to great lengths to make this apparent). The book starts with an a adrenaline packed shotgun blast of a chapter or two, but slows down. It took awhile to get going after that, but eventually expands into a wild and incredibly creative (and also complicated) plotline involving a neurolinguistic metavirus from ancient Sumeria, an Aleut harpoon thrower with a thing for glass knives, and babbling crazy people living on thousands of boats, large and small, lashed together into an ocean drifting monstrosity known as 'The Raft'.

This book is one wild ride once it gets down to it, and its plotline is one of the most creative I've seen yet. Highly recommend.

For a generally being awesome I give it a 5, and on an epic scale I'm going to err on the high with a 4.5 (a 4 being as low as I would go with that).

 

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