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.
"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)
It's been several years since I read this book, so thought it'd be fun to give the audiobook a listen. I do have to say that I think it's one of those books that is better read than listened to via audio. That said, I think the narrator did a good job capturing the book and it is a fun story. First released in 1992, the same year "www" was coined, it's interesting to see how many of his "predictions" have come true and how much sounds dated. Stephenson is someone who explains tech in detail - all of his books are that way - which I find fascinating. But, if in-depth explanations bore you, he's not the author for you.
This book has a lot going for it. For starters the plot is great. A lot of twists and turns and you're never quite sure what's going to happen (or even what's going on). The characters are wonderfully crafted and the dialog is well written and entertaining. A wonderfully dry humor is mixed in well with the action. Also, major kudos to the narrator. He does such a great job that the audio book may very well be better then paper edition.
Part of the plot revolves around the study of biblical era documents, including the bible itself. I did sometimes find this part of the plot somewhat frustrating. But that's probably due to the fact that I know something about biblical exegesis, and the conclusions drawn by the characters in the book are wildly inaccurate. I suppose this frustration would be similar to the frustration felt by a physicist as he watched Star Trek. Or by a military tactician as he watched a Rambo film. It can just be frustrating to have a subject that you know about used as a plot device. Let's just say that you'll learn about as much about biblical study after reading Snow Crash as you'd learn about physics by watching Captain Picard use "and inverted tachyon beam to scan the wormhole."
Don't get this book if you'll be offended by the use of Christian and biblical events as a plot device. Also be aware that there is some profanity. It's not gratuitous, but it is fairly frequent.
But all of that aside, this is a really good book. If you're a sci-fi fan, you'll probably like it. If you're a cyber-punk fan, this is required reading. But even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you could very well enjoy this book. Just keep an open mind and buckle your seat belt. It's quite a ride.
I found that the techno jargon/slang was initially fairly shallow and repetitive. The story could have done with a much shorter setup of the characters and period, with a bit less attempt at a clever approach. This almost felt like word filling to make a minimum.
However, once the story got going, it developed into a very engaging and well through out tale. The characters and interactions kept me listening until the very end, where I found it to be nicely all wrapped up.
Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I listen to audiobooks quite frequently and I can honestly say this is my favorite. A reasonably intelligent use of sound effects and excellent vocalizing make this a joy to listen to. I had originally read this in paperback and was quite suprised to find myself identifying MORE with the characters through the audiobook than I had in my original reading.
While this IS considered sci-fi and/or cyberpunk, don't let those terms scare you off. The envisioned future is pretty realistic and just 'gritty' enough to give you a good feel for it. Most of the technology is pretty conceivable and easy to understand - and very little of it is thrown in just because the author's supposed to be writing 'sci-fi'.
The audio version does bog down a bit in one or two spots. Some of the religious lingo/jargon/names was a bit easier to absorb in hardcopy. It's a lot easier to look back a page or two - or know you read that name just a minute ago and glance back over a paragraph or three - than it is to zap your MP3 player back 6 or 7 minutes. You might want to bookmark the beginning of such sections if you're either a die-hard fan or a theology major... Otherwise, listen through it and absorb what you can. You'll get a good idea where things are heading in short order.
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.
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.
Snow Crash is not only very entertaining, it has a series of clever twists and a strong back story that set it aside from many science fiction stories.
Comedy and drama are well entwined throughout, neither detracting from the overall mood and pace of the book and the protagonists are well drawn.
I can highly recommend the excellent audio recording, which is a great format for this novel.
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 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.
This is one of the coolest books I have ever read / listened to and my introduction to Cyberpunk.
Also a perfect choice of narrator. I could not stop listening and was completely delighted with his performance.
If you are interested in computers and technology and languages....this is the book for you !
"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.
"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!
"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!
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.
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.
I like Neal Stephenson's books but this I could not come to grips with, it just didn't hang together for me.
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.
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.
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.
"A CP Classic which aged a little better"
Pretty good, but not a patch on Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle. You can see the embryo of those greater works, and the story is pacy and entertaining enough. As with a lot of cyberpunk stuff, there is are inevitably so many "near future" predictions that seem a little laughable in light of the real development in technology.
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