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.
This is one of my first audiobooks selections and I chose it for it's length (value) and my interests in computers, technology, and future predictions. I listened to the sample and it sounded a little too "off the wall" for me, but I decided to give it a go anyway.
At first I was distracted by the verbal landscape but soon I was drawn in and the characters began to become likable and someone that I could relate to.
Concepts that I really liked:
1. A cyber universe where one could almost live, die, and play in... an Internet on steroids?
2. A virus that could gap the digital world to the physical world.
3. An ancient language that was, and is, common to all people
The characters are inventive, interesting, and quite unusual. The plot takes all kinds of twists and kept me anxiously wanting to go back to listening. The reader does a great job and does not detract from the story.
Bottom line, I found this a strange, yet compelling, story that I enjoyed very much.
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.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
On a long drive from Colorado through Texas to Tennessee alone I was thoroughly entertained and enlightened. A thousand miles passed immersed in a new future imagined and realized. A fascinating future described in intimate detail. Alternate lives as avatars in a strange new land unfold in a captivating story filled with philosophy and technology. There is so much going on here and so many of those who reviewed this book must have missed it.
At 64 I doubt I am part of the target audience but I opened my mind and let this book flow through me like the broken yellow line on the unfolding ribbon of asphalt through the windshield of my Vibe GT. What a thrill ride! Like a skateboard messenger hooked to a speeding pizza delivery guy working for the Mafia I surfed the future and wound up richer for the experience of this long strange trip. dig it
I love the fact that the reviews of "Snow Crash" are so mixed -- if someone doesn't give it a 4 or 5, they give it a 1 (and probably only because they can't give it a zero). It's probably very much a function of your personality: if you're the right type, it'll grab you and you'll love it. Otherwise, it'll seem stupid, boring, and pointless. I'm in the former group: I love it!
Either way, you won't have anything to complain about in the narration, in my opinion. Jonathan Davis does an excellent job.
This book reminds me of two things. First, I read a book a long time ago (the exact book escapes my memory) that put forth the idea that what kick started mankinds evolution was a virus that attatched itself to the brain stem and allowed higher levels of thinking. The second thing is, I recently read about the study of memes, memology. It sounds a little hokey, but the idea is that human thoughts are viruses. Once we speak them out loud, they are repeated and spread from one person to another like a virus.
So, about this book. It started out ok, then quickly lost me as the writer went on a tangent. It wasn't that it was uninteresting. On the contrary, I was very interested, but I wished that it had been a little easier to follow. There were characters that would show up out of no where with little to no introduction. Then without explaining anything or establishing trust, one of the main characters would go off with this random person when any normal human being would have said, "Wait. Who are you again? And where are you taking me?" People died violently without ever being properly developed and it left me caring very little that they were gone.
On the other hand, there were some things that I very much enjoyed about this book. The ideas Neal Stephanson discusses are absolutely mind blowing. The idea that religion is a virus is amazing. I disagree with some of the other reviews that said the lengthy dialogs about history and religion were boring. Those are the parts I enjoyed the most. I found the action parts to be confusing. It felt rushed and contrived. As if it were only an idea in the author's mind, but not a clearly visualized idea. Toward the middle of the book I really started to like the main characters and care about what happened to them. And near the end I even liked Raven, the bad guy and hoped that he didn't die in the end.
It did end abruptly, though. I was hoping for some closure about certain relationships, and to find out what happened to all the refugees that got left in the ocean. I know the is a follow up book, but I doubt I'll read it. This book was ok/good, but I don't think I could make it through another one.
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.
Avid in Car listener who commutes about 3 hours per day. Audible keeps me sane in LA traffic.
My second Neil Stevenson book that leaves me wishing there were more to hear. Excellent use of multiple story lines that merge into a final climax. Though the ending is slightly weaker than that of Snow Crash it is a good thrilling ending. Lot of subtile and not so subtile action and great technology thread through the story. A excellent book.