Snow Crash

Amazon ASIN: 
Part Number:

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson - 4 out of 5.

I'd not read any Neal Stephenson before & was lulled into a false sense of what I'd be getting by a preposterous (if strangely compelling) Pizza Delivery opening scene. Set in an alternative present day, our main man is one Hiro Protagonist, a samurai sword wielding computer geek.

There is some great technology depicted throughout the book, The Metaverse itself, the RatThings, Reason (a big gun) and some stuff that pre-dates things we all now use, such as wireless broadband & even Google Earth. The depiction of the “Metaverse” reminded me of the way the internet works in Fururama, with people downloading Avatars of themselves directly into an advert strewn street, along which many rooms & buildings lead off to areas of business or pleasure (& loads of advertising).

The first third of the book was great fun, setting up the locations & characters, but I felt that the book dipped a little in the middle once the main plot really got going. It got a little to bogged down with the Librarian info-dumping all the stuff about Sumerian Myths, Religion, viruses & ancient languages. But once all that's out the way & the action gets under way it really picks up again, especially once the main “Protagonists” are heading out to The Raft. Oh & there's a classic “Tron-like” motorbike chase towards the end too.

Aside from that central lull the novel moves along at a great pace & by the end you can hardly believe it all started off with that Pizza delivery. The ending itself is satisfying if rather abrupt. Watch out for a few Americanisms throughout, such as "Pavement" when he really means "Road".

One of my favourite funny bits was an aside set in the Fedland offices, where an email is sent round regarding the amount of toilet-paper being used in the office. The time workers spend reading this email is monitored & their attitude towards their job is judged according to the time spent. Regardless of which bracket you fall into, you are in the wrong – rather reminds me of a job I used to have some years back.