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"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snow Crash

Whaaaat a crazy book. I've been telling people (basically anyone who will listen) that this is probably the most fun I've had reading a novel. Hiro Protagonist is a pizza delivery man for the Mafia but that's only a side-gig for him. His real job is a hacker/stringer for the futuristic equivalent of the CIA. He delves around the internet - known as the Metaverse - as a katana-carrying vigilante...scouring the internet for obscure information. One day, he comes across a virus that's destroying not only the metaverse counterparts of his friends, but their physical, animate psyches as well. In other words, their brains "crash" and they fall into irreversible comas. Hiro sets off to discover the root of this virus and is surprised to be immersed in history dating back to the Sumerian ages. His "partner," a spunky 15-year-old, skateboarding courier (her name is Y.T. - short for Yours Truly) aids and abets Hiro in his quest to topple the magnates responsible for this virus.

I loved this book. I've read NS's Quicksilver series as well as Cryptonomicon, and Snow Crash is by far, his best work. It's truly remarkable to me that he wrote this novel in 1992. His vision of the near-future and of the various workings of the internet is spookily on-target. In particular, I loved the idea of cities being divided into "franchulates" or areas cordoned off and run by large corporations. The way things are going right now, that could very well be our reality within the next century.

NS's concept of religion being a sort of verbal virus is an extremely controversial thought. I'm personally surprised this book hasn't been banned, but perhaps they are in certain religious schools. It's a fascinating idea as well as a revelatory one. Clearly, it's not true but it sure helps to explain religious fanaticism and zeal.
"This Snow Crash thing - is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?"
"What's the difference?"

All in all, a fantastic read and I recommend that everyone read this book.

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