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Snow Crash Paperback – 29 Aug 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (29 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140232923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140232929
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.8 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.

Born in Fort Meade, Maryland (home of the NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum) Stephenson came from a family comprising engineers and hard scientists he dubs "propeller heads". His father is a professor of electrical engineering whose father was a physics professor; his mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, while her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson's family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1960 and then to Ames, Iowa in 1966 where he graduated from Ames High School in 1977. Stephenson furthered his studies at Boston University. He first specialized in physics, then switched to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe. He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.

Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic "The Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Product Description

Amazon Review

From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse--looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible. --Acton Lane


Stephenson excels in marrying geekspeak with riotous action (Guardian)

A cross between Neuromancer and Thomas Pynchon's Vineland. This is no mere hyperbole (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

Brilliantly realized. Stephenson [is] an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow (The New York Times)

A fantastic, slam-bang-overdrive, supersurrealistic, comic-spooky whirl through a tomorrow that is already happening. Stephenson is intelligent, perceptive, hip (Timothy Leary)

Like a Pynchon novel with the brakes removed (Washington Post) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Ferrious on 22 Oct. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Lets get this out of the way: I adore this book. It's cyberpunk with all the fun put back in, and there are scenes that are literally worth reading the entire book for.

However, the Kindle Edition lets the book down significantly. OCR errors abound in another Kindle Edition that has obviously been hurriedly thrown together without much care. There's no attempt to make the formatting Kindle-friendly either. Now these errors don't ruin the book, it's still a great yarn, but they drag you out of the story rather harshly when they line up several times in a single paragraph.

Bottom line: Read this book, but if you can do it in paper form. While I love my Kindle to bits, I simply can't recommend getting this particular book as an ebook.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon-Kunde on 15 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
"Wait a minute, Juanita. Make up your mind. This Snow Crash thing--is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?"
Juanita shrugs. "What's the difference?"

Snow Crash has one of the most effective opening hooks in science fiction, a loving description of a high-tech armored driver and car. A man with a mission. A man with wonderful high-tech toys and samurai swords, who works for the Mafia doing one of the few things that the United States still does better than any other country in the world.
High-speed pizza delivery.

It's a beautiful setup, even if the pizza delivery job doesn't last far beyond the opening pages. It introduces the reader to Hiro Protagonist ("Stupid name." "But you'll never forget it."), the skateboard courier Y.T., and some of the major players and political structure of Stephenson's future Los Angeles. Even better, it effectively introduces Stephenson's off-beat world, in which things like Mafia-owned pizza chains and franchised private countries guarded by dogs with nuclear power packs not only prompt an amazed chuckle, they start to make a bizarre amount of sense.

Then there is the Metaverse, the cyberpunk on-line shared world that pretty much everyone spends some time in.It has the standard mix of avatars, private offices, elaborate shared spaces, constant advertising, dangerous computer viruses, elite hackers, and guarded corporate havens. It emerges that Snow Crash is both a drug and a virus: it destroyed ancient Sumeria by randomizing their language to create Babel; its modern victims speak in tongues, lose their critical faculties, and are easily brainwashed.

Cyberpunk's next generation pretty much began here.Snow Crash is to Books as The Matrix is to movies, It was written in 1991.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By SiD on 4 Sept. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I own the paperback version of Snow Crash so wouldn't hesitate in rating it five stars, but it would seem that for the Kindle edition the publishers lazily OCR-ed a paper copy without proofreading it.

Many words are misspelt (e.g. corner becomes comer, run becomes rum), punctuation is missing and the occasional word (mostly abbreviations) is replaced with blank spaces. There is at least one mistake every three or four pages (though often several on one page) which really rips you out of a very enjoyable read.

Definitely one to buy as a paperback.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
A book with brilliant ideas and plenty of substance, but even more style. Every cariacature and cliche is here, but taken to the slickest, coolest, and baddest end.
It's not a complex plot, but it's a complicated one. With multiple story threads, that means that when the time for a re-read rolls around, you'll feel like you're reading a different story. I'd like to believe this was intentional on his part (the Diamond Age has a similar feel to it)
The scope of this book ranges from the bizarre to the absurd, from the civilised to the savage. The future Stephenson shares with us is hopefully not prophetic, but is realistic enough to come true, and is still near enough to the real world to see trends in society making it come true.
Inspiring, frightening, exciting and amusing all at once, I don't think I've read any book more times than Snow Crash.
Read 'The Diamond Age' (same author), 'Interface' by Stephen Bury (pseudonym). Also excellent books.
As another reviewer mentioned. For a similar style of read, read the also excellent 'Only Forward' by Michael Marshall-Smith.
Buy it, now.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Oct. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK, first up, this is a great book which every SF fan should read, but for heaven's sake buy the paperback!

The Kindle edition is the most atrocious piece of typesetting I've ever had the misfortune to read. It has clearly not even been spellchecked, let alone proofread. At one point chunks of words from one line were being randomly inserted into words in the line above, rendering the paragraph into complete gibberish. The first introduction of the crucial Babel/Infocalypse term is completely mispelled, despite it being in bold and a triple sized font.

I'm astonished that Amazon has the barefaced cheek to charge nearly five quid for this shoddy garbage, and I've half a mind to demand my money back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Killie on 15 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Reading "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson was my first ever venture into the Science-Fiction sub-genre of Cyberpunk. I actually read it as part of a Sci-Fi Reader Challenge which has already helped introduce me to other types of Science Fiction novel. What I found was a book full of cyber-noir locations, eccentric but rather stereotypical personalities and a complex, roller coaster ride of a plot that brings together elements of science, technology and religious thought.

The story itself revolves around two main characters, a hacker known as Hiro Protagonist and a 15 year old skateboarding courier known as Y.T. The novel initially focuses on the accidental meeting between Hiro and Y.T. and uses this to highlight the dystopian United States, where everything has been privatised and communities are organised into their various franchised mini nations. However, the plot line soon develops into a mad cap and rather comic adventure as Hiro and Y.T. get pulled into fighting against a group conspiring to control humanity though a virus in both the real world and cyber world.

The first few chapters in the story really are quite superb, as they take the reader on an action packed, high octane narrative of a Pizza Deliverator who must deliver the pizza on time or he faces unknown punishment from the company that he works for which is owned by the Mafia. Stephenson did a great job with this early section of the novel as the quick pace and enjoyable thrills ensured that I was hooked right from the beginning.

Of course the pace doesn't stay that fast for ever but the plot itself continues to provide many enjoyable and varied elements that have probably helped to give the novel such a high place in geek culture.
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