No one writing today has more ideas about the history of technology or more passion for popular culture, or more willingness to spin heady theories about all of the above in densely plotted and populated novels than Neal Stephenson. Sometimes these ideas are exhilarating. Sometimes they're just dumb. But even when Stephenson resembles your crank engineer uncle on meth, he manages to do so with humor and elan. "Snow Crash" is an all-prose comic book, a novel that manages to be simultaneously apocalyptic and slight.
So far the two Neil Stevenson books I have listened to, Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, have proved to be very entertaining and thought provoking. The techknolodgy he creates as part of the setting and times is both imaginative and maybe even wildly plausable. I think for me , what sets him apart is his sense of humour. The combination makes for a very enjoyable read.
Compulsive reader, compulsive listener.
Snow Crash is probably one of the best all-time science fiction books ever written. Genre-savvy enough to poke fun at itself, but packed with erudition as well. (Well, what do you expect from Neal Stephenson). The characters are interesting and engaging, and the plot appropriately-paced. As a computer professional and a language wonk, myself, it's one I always come back to.
Johnathan Davis' performance is surprisingly good. He manages to make each character's voice memorable, and has a decent facility with a range of accents.
This is great SF -- intelligent, interesting, well told, very well written, involving, and in this case hillarious. The audio book also has excellent narration. Of all books I've listened to from Audible, this is my top pick.
I get that this book was groundbreaking and has been massively influential on our culture, both literary and otherwise. However, I could not make myself finish this thing. I made it almost to the end and just stopped caring. Neither of the two main characters are particularly likable and every idea in this story has since been done better in other books. I couldn't get over how pretentious the whole thing feels--I could hear the smug satisfaction in Neal Stephenson's words. He frequently spends entire chapters explaining details that aren't relevant, or going on about history lessons that the reader's already figured out. The world he's created doesn't always make sense, either. Why would there be a company for the United States Government, if there's no United States? I made it well past the 75% mark and I still didn't understand half the motivations for the growing cast of characters. Doesn't help that the sound quality flickers back and forth--I found numerous examples where entire sentences just got washed out in bizarre distortion effects, and there's a large chunk later in the story where they just forget to mention what chapter they're on. It's not a terrible story, but it's got almost no merit now that all of its ideas have been done better since its release.
The reader was fine, though I found it a little annoying he kept pronouncing "Katana" as "Kuh-TAN-uh" instead of "Kuh-TAHN-uh."
It seems that a lot of the characters interaction seemed forced and/or unrealistic. Items and ideas just seemed to be inserted and accepted without a lot of thought, which seemed out of place. Plot devices like the conspiracy, the big virus, the librarian and other things that just appear in the story seemed more like deus-ex-machina than anything else. I thought it was pretty clumsy attempts to move the story forward for the most part. What made this worse is that it was inconsistently bad. There were liberal sprinkles of interesting dialog, action, and plot. But truth be told it just made the bad parts stick out more. In all I got the impression that this book needed a good editor to make it shine. It has all of the elements, it just seemed rough around the edges, often, and that kept throwing me out of the story.
No, and I might try reading the author's books again too. Just going to be a bit more cautious about it.
he made the characters and the worldview concepts interesting and the dialog smooth. If it were anyone else I would not have finished the book at all.
I really liked the concept of the world and the way the different characters existed in it. The virtual world and how people worked with it was fascinating as The descriptions of the corporations and syndicates and how they existed in the world was also very neat to hear.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
This book is full of some extremely clever ideas, and I really want to like it more than I do.
It seemed to me like the story never settled on a tone. It was never funny enough to be a comedy, and never serious enough to be straight sci-fi. You're left with something that is stuck halfway in between, in world you don't care about with characters that you don't feel anything for, because they aren't charming enough to be likable, and their peril never feels real enough that you can sympathize with them.
The book leaves you with a number of interesting ideas to chew on, all of which probably could have been used to greater effect in a better story.
My biggest complaint about the book is that it ended before the story did.
I average three books a week, but as I cannot afford to purchase that many books I frequently re-read those I already have. If you are here looking for reviews, I typically only review those books I feel particularly strongly about or have some insight that hasn't yet been posted in a review.
I'd give this one a 5 except for two things: 1) The babel-chant that is used to bridge each transition and chapter (gets EXTREMELY annoying by the end of the book). 2) The story isn't quite up to the standards of Sci-Fi I'm used to, though I think my familiarity with virtually every topic covered in the plot exacerbates this somewhat (hard to suspend disbelief when you know too much to the contrary) - "Speculative Fiction" really is a better classification for this story, or even "Science Fantasy" (as in, it would be cool if things worked that way).
Some other things that might detract from your enjoyment of this book include: Long monologues/dialogs in which vast amounts of plot-info is simply presented to you (this may comprise as much as 25% of the novel, but any other delivery method would have resulted in the book being twice as long). There is also cursing, sexual references, theological references (just about every major religion), drug use, etc.
On the positive side, this book can be extremely funny (listen to the free preview - best pizza delivery ever, though not terribly relevant to the plot). The characters are great and the narrator does an excellent job. The story itself is entertaining and the world is fairly original. You'll get a decent intro into ancient history and mythology that I guarantee will be more interesting than any class on the subject (though obviously fictionalized to advance the plot). I think this book is unique in that I've never read a book set in the future that's plot was so dependent on the distant past (that didn't involve time-travel to said past).
i've been avoiding Snow Crash for ages, despite the high recommendations of my friends. in this case, i'm glad i went for the audiobook, because the reader they chose really made the listening a huge pleasure. the story is fast-paced, very entertaining, and rather amazing for how closely it parallels some of what is happening today. highly recommended.
I haven't been a reader (or listener) of science fiction for years -- since I was a teenager -- but I bought "Snow Crash" because I recognized the author's name as a major s.f. writer who had won awards (and I was attempting to understand why my teenage son was so enthralled with s.f.). I'm glad I did -- this book was great fun to listen to. The reader was good, the plot imaginative. Maybe not Great Literature, but definitely great escapism.