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Snow Crash | [Neal Stephenson]

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson is a blazing new force on the sci-fi scene. With the groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he has "vaulted onto the literary stage." It weaves virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility - in short, it is the gigathriller of the information age.
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Publisher's Summary

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison - a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.


In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately.

©1992 Neal Stephenson; (P)2001 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Brilliantly realized...Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Fast-forward free-style mall mythology for the 21st century." (William Gibson)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (7045 )
5 star
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4.1 (4264 )
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4.2 (4201 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Corey Glenview, IL, USA 04-03-03
    Corey Glenview, IL, USA 04-03-03 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    14
    5
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    "Get it! Read it! Hear it... then repeat"

    This was one of those books that hooks you in from the first word to the last. There's too much to tell in such a small summary. The only downside (if you want to call it a downside) is that the book comes to an abrupt halt. It basically ends at the last "page", but can basically be attributed to Stephenson's brute-force, no-nonsense writing style.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MR AJ Moore Magaliessig, Gauteng South Africa 09-30-08
    MR AJ Moore Magaliessig, Gauteng South Africa 09-30-08 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sadly Dated"

    I felt that the story which rests very heavily on what it calls the Metaverse, but what we would today consider to be an instance of 'Second Life', is now rather badly dated. Problems with rendering, spatial interactions etc in this realm now seem ludicrous. I also took exception to the author's heavily descriptive style which robbed the narrative of any tension or pace. It was as if a postmodern rush of strangely juxtapositioned descriptive terms were thought more important than what later emerged as a really good story.

    7 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Falls Church, VA, USA 08-30-04
    Judith Falls Church, VA, USA 08-30-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book is incredible"

    This book is incredible. It is incredibly well produced and read, but it is incredibly boring. I thought it would never end. It is a series of disjointed vignettes that are impossible to visualize as they streak across the pages, flashing through one comic strip character after another. The humor passed me by. Reality merges with the world of the computer avatars. If I were a virtual reality game player, a young skateboard aficionado, or a follower of contemporary fantasy fiction, maybe this would have some appeal. There is NO character development, there is no plot to speak of until the last few chapters, and the most appealing character (YT) is as flakey and impulsive as a 15 year old on meth. If you love flashy, weird, fantasy stuff, that goes on and on, get this book; you'll love it.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harris Syosset, NY, USA 04-30-03
    Harris Syosset, NY, USA 04-30-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Metaverse Techno Babel"

    I'll readily admit that there is a generation gap that must be bridged in order to even begin to comprehend what this story is all about. It's not that I'm technically illiterate. I owned the first Apple computer and the first IBM PC. I've even done a bit of programming. This novel leaves me stumped. I have no idea what the author is talking about. He mixes programming jargon with religious mumbo-jumbo. He jumps from one incongruous bloody scene to another. His concept of a new world order run by franchises (be it food, hotels, or religious institutions) is interesting but he never fully explores it or brings it to a conclusion. I'm an obvious dissenter in this review and I'm willing to admit that it may be that I'm no longer a teenager. However, I've always believed that a well written book should appeal to every age group.

    6 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Klein bothell, WA, United States 09-19-11
    Klein bothell, WA, United States 09-19-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "So annoyed that I listened to this book."

    This book was scattered and incoherent. I'll admit the premise of the plot was interesting. The writing however was awful. The events of the book were as if someone made a list of events that might be cool to write about, threw them in the air, and then decided to make a book about them. There was no realistic tie from one event to another. You were often left wondering why something was happening and how a character made a colossal leap to some obscure reaction or action. The ending was complete nonsense and a total letdown. There are too many places that exude poor story telling to mention.

    Bottom line: Don’t bother.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandy 08-04-11
    Sandy 08-04-11

    Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Doubt I will listen a second time to find out."

    The idea of the story was topical and interesting. The blending of the realities was well constructed. As I listened it seemed to me to be a verbal cartoon or comic book. Even at the end I did not know what the mafia boss was doing in the story and I wondered why it seemed to be the good hacker triumphed. As an audio book, this failed to hold my attention for periods of listening. May be better read. The low rating is my personal enjoyment rating.Even as whacky humour it missed the mark.I did like the good doggie though and was sad he blew up.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renato West Linn, OR, USA 08-13-08
    Renato West Linn, OR, USA 08-13-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Intriguing ideas. Lazy writing."

    Everytime I picked it back up I had a hard time remebering what had happened before. There is a tremendous amout of words devoted to the gadgets and there workings and descriptions of the metaverse all very interestin and original. If you like that sort of thing this may be the book for you. There were some action packed moments and plenty of fight scenes, but a lot of exposition as well. A fair amount of the dialoge seems very contrived to give voice to the authors ideas and plot history to the point that it was sometimes hard to get a picture of what was going on. Maybe I missed something not having read the first book? This one was a near miss with potential for me.

    6 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Bay Village, OH, USA 03-27-03
    Robert Bay Village, OH, USA 03-27-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Snow Crash"

    One of the worst sci-fi books I have ever read. The writing alternates between purple prose and deadening exposition interspersed with some all-too-few descriptions of place. The plot reveals the author's superficial understanding of biological and linguistic evolution, ancient civilizations, and religion. The main character is African-American/Chinese, yet this comes off as a shallow attempt at PC, especially considering the utter lack of a discussion of Eastern religions in the excruciatingly long passages on religion-as-virus. The characters are almost all, with the exception of YT perhaps, little more than expositors. Reads like a tech manuel: a souless and brain-numbing execution of some interesting ideas. Consequently, this book represents 16 hours of wasted time and left me with the question: Do book editors actually edit the books they publish? This would have been much better if someone had imposed a little discipline on the author.

    12 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Fairfax, VA, USA 08-25-09
    Lee Fairfax, VA, USA 08-25-09 Member Since 2013
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    2
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    "Wonderful!"

    Great story! I found that I pushed the rewind button a lot just to listen to scenes over again.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sal BROOKLYN, NY, USA 03-29-05
    Sal BROOKLYN, NY, USA 03-29-05 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BORING self-indulgent drivel"

    Whatever fun and interesting sci-fi creations are present are rendered utterly worthless by the underlying religious mumbo-jumbo PLOT devices. I loved the first hour, but the PLOT--that is the middle four-fifths of the story and the driving power of the story-- was BORING self-indulgent drivel created out of whole cloth in a free-association style that killed my enjoyment for some of the clever sci-fi devices.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • John
    Liverpool, United Kingdom
    1/19/10
    Overall
    "A Manga mini-whirlwind"

    No plot spoilers here. My book club recently agreed this as a 7.5/10. As an audiobook it's well read, and, when I bought it, extremely good value. The storyline has minor flaws and the characterisation is argueably two-dimensional..but the author does an excellent job of telling an entertaining yarn with thoughtful and witty situations and asides in an overall entertaining package. This would obviously make a great Manga comic, and that is, I'm told, exactly what the author intended. In that sense the lack of depth of characterisation is understandable....in cartoon form this would be easier to allow the reader to infer. You get a lot for your money here...with some of the details and asides that flesh out this concievable (slightly sardonic) dystopia being enough to constitute a novella on their own. In the end, it doesn't necessarily deliver more than it promises, but it certainly doesn't deliver less.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • R
    Brighton, United Kingdom
    9/23/10
    Overall
    "A Perfect Blend"

    One of the difficulties with audiobooks, in particular with books that you've previously read, is finding a narrator who sounds right.

    Snowcrash has been one of my favourite books for years and I was delighted to find that Jonathon Davis 'gets it'. The pacing of the story, the emphasis of the words and the voicing of the characters is pretty much spot on for me, so this audiobook gets five stars with no quibbles!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Tom
    West Wickham, United Kingdom
    12/28/10
    Overall
    "Great book but not ideal audio material"

    Neal Stephenson is a superbly imaginative writer, he shows this to great effect in 'Snow Crash'. The detail and invention of his 'Snow Crash' world is truly mind boggling.

    Although I enjoyed the book, and the narration is superb, I think I would have preferred to read this on the page, as it were; although the narrative and plot hurtle along in good style, the characters are somewhat cartoon-like and two dimensional, serving largely as vehicles to carry the story, and this means that the fantasy backdrop has to carry the listener's interest for much of the 17 hours of the book - that's a long time.

    One other point to note: you really need to have some knowledge and/or interest in computers and virtual reality to follow the plot.

    Overall four stars, but my recommendation would be to read the book rather than listen to it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jim
    London
    8/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Early Stephenson"

    A tightly constructed thriller set in the near future when nations as we now know them have be replaced by corporate franchises and life is lived between a dystopian reality and a fast developing visrtual reality. Some sort of virus seems to be able to infect users on he net and also to continue its work on them in real life. Our hero "Hero Protagonist" has to find out what's going on and put a stop to it. This is early Stephenson but it's already marked by the incredible breadth of sources he can pull into his story (ancient Sumerian history, coding, world war 2, Japanese culture), the way he plays with ideas like what would happen if nationhood were privatrized, his humour and his gift for dialogue. The dialogue is particularly good and offers a reminder of how challenging other genre fiction authors find to bring characters to life through what they say and how they say it. This only gets three stars for the story because at times he sort of gives up and let's the main character lapse into pages of exposition in order to shift the plot along but overall it's still a very enjoyable and immersive listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    London, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Great book and great narrator"

    This is one of my all time favourite books and listening to it read out loud was no disappointment.



    The depth and tone of Jonothan Davis' voice perfectly matches the tone of the book. It is now imprinted in my memory with his voice. Excellent!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Robbie
    southamptonUnited Kingdom
    10/26/08
    Overall
    "Vivid pictures"

    I enjoyed listening to snowcrash its` pace variation fitted in well with my other activities. The two 'universes' worked well although I became confused with the different city-states in the real one (but my american geography never was that good!) As usual with this narrator the pictures are so vivid it beats HD TV.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
    8/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "?"

    I like Neal Stephenson's books but this I could not come to grips with, it just didn't hang together for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sydney
    London, United Kingdom
    12/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rollicking cyberadventure"

    I go hot and cold on Stephenson- loved Diamond Age; petered out on the Baroque Cycle. Glad I tried this one out, it's zippy and fun, if oddly retro 20 years on (Second Life not being exactly the It place to be for example). I had only a vague idea what was going on half the time but the lively writing and excellent reading kept me enjoying it. Davis does a great job with all the characters, I especially enjoyed his rendition of the eye-rolling teenage skater-girl.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jyrki
    Helsinki, Finland
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Good stuff"

    As an esotericist and cyberpunk fan I really loved this.

    There is lots of info dumb about misty old religions and new technology which some times interrupted the flow of the story, but it was very interesting stuff, so I didn't mind.

    There is also kind of slight grin at the writers face all the time so the book was fun and very entertaining.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • DMAPP
    Epworth, UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Not dissapointed"

    Got into Neal Stephenson via a Stephen King book (The Cell) and have been hooked ever since. Just the right level of detail to plot ratio to keep things moving. This book was fab and well narrated too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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