Sunday, September 8, 2013

snow crash

I got the heads-up on Snow Crash after visiting Christopher Moore's web site. I went looking for Moore's web site after reading his Sacré Bleu. I wanted to send him an email telling him how much I liked it--that is the first and only time I've contacted an author after reading a book--and Moore was kind enough to write back. Moore has Snow Crash listed on his "Chris's Picks 1" page, along with a little blurb about it. I read that and decided I had to read Snow Crash; I've read a few of Neal Stephenson's books, and they were good so what more did I need?

Stephenson seems like a deep thinker to me. He really puts the time into both research and thinking through how his characters react to the world around them. This grounds his plots in reality and gives them weight, which is especially important in SF, where suspension of disbelieve is so critical. I've said this about Neal Stephenson before: he can really work a complex storyline into a manageable read that doesn't get bogged down and really pushes the story along. But the ideas are BIG!

Snow Crash has a definite cyberpunk twang to it, but all of the action doesn't take place in cyberspace, or the Metaverse, as Stephenson calls it. The action happens in the real world and is supplemented by action in the Metaverse. The main protagonist is a katana toting hacker who helped to write the code for the Metaverse, and his sidekick ends up being a skateboard riding courier who takes her chances flying through traffic grappled to moving vehicles.

What's it about? Computer viruses, biological viruses, dissolution of American society, franchise economy, the birth of a super-library, the birth of organized religion, the birth of human language, nuclear testing on aboriginal peoples, the pizza-delivering mafia, and, you know, how all of those things tie together.

Sound crazy? Yes. It is one of my favorite recent reads.

Read this book. Push someone out of the way if you have to.

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