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The animals were affected as well and some people invented creatures that were half animals and half robots, enhancing them. The idea transmitted through this novel is that no matter how one may try to keep humanity and the technological advancements separated, at some point they will become one. The fusion is gradual but it does exist and in a way it is inevitable. Thus, since we cannot stop the process from happening, we must learn how to control it before it becomes uncontrollable. Another theme in the novel analyzes the way the American society functions and the way it focuses on consumerism.

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The narrator points out that a person is frequently bombarded with ads promoting various products and that there is no way a normal person could escape them. Thus, the society presented in the novel is bent on becoming as rich as possible and on accumulating as much wealth as possible in a short period of time, thinking that those things will bring them happiness. While the novel is set in the future, the narrator focuses a lot on religion and on the ways religion influenced society as a whole.

Well, with Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson is that kid grown up. Stephenson latches on to all kinds of ideas and then regurgitates his reductionist, lopsided version of them in 'novel' form. The effect it had on this reader, is similar to what the screeching of chalk on a board does to most people; it set my teeth on edge. There are so many lopsided, half-developed ideas with huge holes in logic in them, in this novel, that I cannot mention them all and remain as brief as I am sure that you, dear reader, would prefer me to be. Most of them pertain to Stephenson's lopsided extrapolation of how a virtual reality world would work, and his to me loopy ideas on neurolinguistics, ancient history and religions.

Reading Progress

I was ambivalent about his snarky depiction of capitalism taken to the extreme. In the Snow Crash world, everything is privatised to the point that civil services such as police and prisons are privatised, and 'burbclaves' small city states have their own laws and services to the point that America doesn't have federal law anymore--yet there are still Feds!

The latter institution is highly satirised by Stephenson, with regard to the typical bureaucratic yards of red tape and the tech and intel gathering overkill and so on. I admit that I found these bits humorous. I reckon Stephenson is, by their inclusion into a state that has no laws, and where the federal government seems merely a token from days gone by, saying that the FBI was superfluous to start with in any case, hah. But the overall effect of the Snow Crash background setting is that of an almost schizophrenic collage of bits and pieces stuck together to create a highly disjunctive world.

I enjoyed the action sequences and I very much enjoyed his two female protagonists; slightly less so the male one. In this early novel, Stephenson shows faint glimmerings of promise. His clumsy explanations of the tech aspects of the world is jarring and often nonsensical, so the main little points of light lie with the action sequences and the characterization, the latter which I found not too bad since many of his stereotypes were slightly more rounded than actually stereotypical and many of the characters were relatively believable and even likeable in spite of the clumsiness.

The hero Hiro, or shall I say, Hiro Protagonist, the protagonist did feel paper-thin however, like just a another piece of deus ex machina. So, four stars for the fact that the novel passes the Bechdel test, and for having created the eminently likeable character Y.


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But minus a star for the jarring racism and lack of cultural and ethnic sensitivity, and minus another star for setting my teeth on edge with his loopy ideas and his lopsided, cartoony projections into a future consisting of what feels like a world constructed of cardboard cutouts. And minus a virtual star for positing that patriarchal religions are more rational than matriarchal ones.

Audiobook HD Audio Snow Crash Novel by Neal Stephenson 1/2

Oh, and pretty important to me is to mention the subtraction of another virtual star for the sex with a fifteen year old girl, and her 'relationship' with a mass murderer more than twice her age. Add half a star back for the humor. Many people credit Stephenson with being the first person to think of a cyberverse in which humans could participate represented by avatars, but by his own admission, Lucasfilm with Habitat was there before him.

Please be my guest and Google them. Randall Farmer recounted their experience as the designers and managers of a virtual community that used computer graphics as well as words to support an online society of tens of thousands. Much of that conference in Austin was devoted to discussions of virtual-reality environments in which people wear special goggles and gloves to experience the illusion of sensory immersion in the virtual world via three-dimensional computer graphics. Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar stood out in that high-tech crowd because the cyberspace they had created used a very inexpensive home computer, often called a toy computer, and a cartoonlike two-dimensional representation to create their kind of virtual world.

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Farmer and Morningstar had one kind of experience that the 3-D graphics enthusiasts did not have, however--the system they had designed, Habitat, had been used by tens of thousands of people. I relented and added a half star for making YT female and such a fun character and subtracted a quarter star for making her blonde, then added back a quarter star for the way in which NS made fun of the FBI bureaucracy.


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September 15, — Shelved as: cyberpunk. February 11, — Shelved as: sf. April 16, — Shelved as: two-and-a-half-stars.

Jan 25, AM. Jan 25, PM. No more Ms Nice Traveller. One can still excuse this novel because it's from his very early work. Traveller wrote: "Thanks! If you want to give him one more try I would suggest Diamond Age. I think Reamde might make you hurl the book. I still have yet to delve into Stephenson, but it's kinda nice to get an alternate perspective, so thanks for that!

A lot of people seem to really like this book and this author.

Hong Kong curator on how science-fiction novel Snow Crash gave him a taste of Asia

Nice review. Cryptonomicon is the only stephenson I've read and it was kind of more style than substance. It's interesting you thought the female characters were good, because it was exactly his weakness in this area that put me off him when I read Cryptonomicon …even though I quite liked some of the ideas that were in there.

I keep thinking I should try him again. Jan 26, AM. Great review! I love the idea of a book which latches into the delightful weirdness that drips down from Second Life from time to time. But shame, you tell us that all is not well in this alternative universe.


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Oh boo. It sounded a lovely framework to build upon Sorry I didn't get to read this along with your book group. I meant to. I took it off the shelf and added it to my pile. Then again, after reading your review, maybe I'm not that sorry after all. It's back on the shelf now.

Snow Crash

Callum:Thanks for mentioning Neuromancer, Callum! I've been eyeing Neuromancer for a long time, and now I have an excuse to go for it. Have you read any of the Baroque Cycle? Kyle: Yes, like I mentioned, this is one of his early works, so, because he is popular, I won't write him off yet. Let's hope I'll be third time lucky. Kaysap: Thanks! I've heard good things about Cryptonomicon; and from people who'd read both it and Snow Crash, they've declared that Cryptonomicon was the better one.

Warwick: I liked his female characters very much.