Monday, October 15, 2018

Snow Crash - A Review

Hiro Protagonist, a name you won't forget.

Neal Stephenson’s SNOW CRASH is one of those seminal books that, if you’ve read any other cyberpunk or watched any of the subsequent movies, hasn’t aged all that well.  If you can put the book into context as one of the first of its kind, then you see all the amazing things that Stephenson is doing.  Without that, it feels like all the main characters are a Mary Su or Marty Stu, even if that wasn’t the case at the time.

Meet Hiro Protagonist—a name crafted so that you won’t forget it—expert hacker, marketing genius, and the world’s greatest swordsman (yeah, I’m not making that up). He’s also a rebel without much of a cause, floating through life, rejecting job offers that would make him quite wealthy because he doesn’t want to “sell out”.  Hiro is reduced to delivering pizza in a world that hasn’t just gone corporate government, but has legitimized crime syndicates, so long as they can deliver on the goods—including pizza.

Now meet Y.T. (not Whitey), a skater-courier, and underage hottie, who doesn’t know when she should be scared, and enjoyed her courier-skateboarding life almost as much for the thrill of nearly dying, as for the money she makes doing it.

Down boys! She's only 16!
When Hiro’s best friend, and fellow hacker, Da5id, looks at a new bitmap “drug” in the virtual world called Snow Crash, he’s immediately put into a comma.  Hiro’s ex, equally brilliant and equally hot hacker, Juanita shows up just in time to start Hiro down an obscure and interesting path that starts all the way back at the beginnings of human history, and trickles down to the stories near-future. Hiro enlists Y.T. to act as an intelligence gathering agent, and the two set off on a cyber adventure with real life consequences.

Overall, science fiction and cyberpunk fans will find much and more offered by Stephenson in SNOW CRASH.  The core plot is one that easily remains interesting and unique, even if the characters now seem to be more fantasy and computer game generated. In a world of Altered Carbon, it’s hard to not laugh at the vast skill set Hiro and Y.T. reveal as they go through their motions. The story is not bad, not at all, and certainly it’s a fun and interesting read.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing a movie made from this, updating the plot, and giving a bit more depth to the world and the characters.

What book, or series, would you like to see made for television? Tell me in the comments below!

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