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Snow Crash

Snow Crash

Paperback

By (author) Neal Stephenson

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 110mm x 180mm x 30mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 1 November 1996
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140232923
  • ISBN 13: 9780140232929
  • Sales rank: 29,417

Product description

The only relief from the sea of logos is within the well-guarded borders of the Burbclaves. Is it any wonder that most sane folks have forsaken the real world and chosen to live in the computer-generated universe of virtual reality? In a major city, the size of a dozen Manhattans, is a domain of pleasures limited only by the imagination. But now a strange new computer virus called Snow Crash is striking down hackers everywhere, leaving an unlikely young man as humankind's last best hope.

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Author information

Neal Stephenson has published four novels: The Big U, Zodiac, Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. For the last of these he won a 1996 Hugo Award. He also writes (with J. Frederick George) as 'Stephen Bury'. Their books are Interface and Cobweb. Most of his books are published in Penguin. He lives in Seattle, where he is at work on other novels.

Editorial reviews

After terminally cute campus high-jinks (The Big U) and a smug but attention-grabbing eco-thriller (Zodiac), Stephenson leaps into near-future Gibsonian cyberpunk - with predictably mixed results. The familiar-sounding backdrop: The US government has been sold off; businesses are divided up into autonomous franchises ("franchulates") visited by kids from the heavily protected independent "Burbclaves"; a computer-generated "metaverse" is populated by hackers and roving commercials. Hiro Protagonist, freelance computer hacker, world's greatest swordsman, and stringer for the privatized CIA, delivers pizzas for the Mafia - until his mentor Da5id is blasted by Snow Crash, a curious new drug capable of crashing both computers and hackers. Hiro joins forces with freelance skateboard courier Y.T. to investigate. It emerges that Snow Crash is both a drug and a virus: it destroyed ancient Sumeria by randomizing their language to create Babel; its modern victims speak in tongues, lose their critical faculties, and are easily brainwashed. Eventually the usual conspiracy to take over the world emerges; it's led by media mogul L. Bob Rife, the Rev. Waync's Pearly Gates religious franchulate, and vengeful nuclear terrorist Raven. The cultural-linguistic material has intrinsic interest, but its connections with cyberpunk and computer-reality seem more than a little forced. The flashy, snappy delivery fails to compensate for the uninhabited blandness of the characters. And despite the many clever embellishments, none of the above is as original as Stephenson seems to think. An entertaining entry that would have benefitted from a more rigorous attention to the basics. (Kirkus Reviews)