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Snow Crash [Paperback]

Neal Stephenson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Aug 2002
The only relief from the sea of logos is within the well-guarded borders of the Burbclaves. Is it any wonder that most sane folks have forsaken the real world and chosen to live in the computer-generated universe of virtual reality? In a major city, the size of a dozen Manhattans, is a domain of pleasures limited only by the imagination. But now a strange new computer virus called Snow Crash is striking down hackers everywhere, leaving an unlikely young man as humankind's last best hope.

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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 (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,531 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poor kindle edition 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Not one I'd recommend for its complex, intricate plot with a clever twist at the end - because it doesn't have either - but the setting of the novel, where the Metaverse [cyberspace] exists alongside reality, is described in such detail, and sounds so plausible, that it is well worth a read. For a vision of the future of the internet, and one which could be here in a very few years, it's the best I've seen.
The novel is also about the rampant progress, if progress is the right word, of consumerism, and is rather more chilling if that aspect of it is to be taken as a vision of the future we're heading for. However, this element of the story seems to me to be something for the much more distant future at least.
In its description of the society of the future at least, "Snow Crash" is reminiscent of Michael Marshall Smith's "Only Forward" - another five-star candidate in my book.
Buy them both today.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Kindle version! 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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Style over Substance 3 Feb 2000
By A Customer
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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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, poor Kindle edition 4 Sep 2010
By SiD
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cyber space has been done better 2 Dec 2000
Despite a funny opening that was suggesting parody, this soon grew a little dull. Long, long desciptions and recaps left me wanting to fall asleep. And parody though it may have been, I didn't feel he could sustain it well enough for it not to seem like he was basically copying Gibson. Some of his ideas are interesting however, and it is definitely a good book to read if you want to get to grips with postmodernism and technology. Otherwise, get Virtual Light and see how cyberpunk can really be done.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliverator 1 Oct 2003
Snow Crash was Neal Stephenson's breakthrough novel and is the one that saw him being labelled inaccurately as a cyberpunk novelist. Snow Crash is a brilliant witty science fiction adventure.
In the near future the nation state of America has broken down and people live in corporate owned mini city-states. The Mafia control pizza delivery and Hiro Protagonist a samurai sword wielding deadbeat hacker is a Deliverator of pizzas. Hiro is drawn into a complex plot to enslave people's minds when a computer virus/drug called Snow Crash is released onto the Metaverse. Trying to stop Hiro in his quest to save the world is Raven an Aleutian psychopath with razor thin glass knives and a Nuclear Weapon strapped to his motorcycle.
This book is responsible for bringing into public consciousness many cyberspace concepts that are now becoming commonplace. The concept of the Metaverse and Avatars is now mainstream in MMORPGs such as Everquest and The Sims Online. Also the idea that the human brain is programmable and is capable of crashing has become accepted by neuroscientists and can be seen in the science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Stephenson demonstrates an ability here to dump a lot of information into your brain without you noticing, and although there are a few missteps along the way generally his science is sound unlike many SF writers.
The one failing of the book is that the over-arching threat posed by L. Bob Rife and his plan to take over the world never seems threatening enough and dwindles in comparison to the actual physical threat of Raven.
The world conceived of in the book is both a brilliant backdrop to the plot and a credible possible future that we may be facing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a slow burner but then couldn't put it down
It took a while for me to get into this but when I did I could put it down - great Stephenson style and a wonderful mix of virtual reality and mix of classic debates
Published 11 days ago by N. Hazzard
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatly enjoyed. The polymath capabilities of Stephenson are humbling
Greatly enjoyed. The polymath capabilities of Stephenson are humbling. The plot of this novel is highly complex & engaging. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Neil Joughin
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me laugh out loud
Lots of great stuff in this book - really insightful and imaginative. It has elements of Carl Hiaasen in it - but better.
Published 29 days ago by RG
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid
Shame I won't get a refund. It's so rare I won't finish a book but 60 per cent in and I can't face this dull read anymore this is not cyberpunk it's an old persons rehash of 90s... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Me
2.0 out of 5 stars car crash
There are some really interesting ideas in this book and a whole bunch of allegedly innovative thinking about virtual reality but there are no interesting characters and the plot... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nikhil Shah
3.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and in depth story. Writing is lacking in some areas.
I felt the story and concept were solid and refreshing, very interesting book to read. However I felt as though that description was lacking in most areas, and a lot of the time I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Henry
3.0 out of 5 stars Cool Ninja Skateboarding
A thrilling story with an odd combination of ninja Mafia pizza delivery and most excellent boarding.
I wouldn't want to live in that world.
Published 3 months ago by M. Lovell
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scifi Classic
Hiro has resigned from his job as a pizza delivery guy, and is going back to his first career as a tech scavenger. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cyberpunk adventure
This is a fun cyberpunk adventure which I enjoyed reading a lot. The story takes place in two worlds, the first is the physical world which has changed considerably from the one we... Read more
Published 6 months ago by M. Brookes
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing Style alone
I bought this book for one reason, Neal Stephenson wrote it. Many people are a little upset about the story, charecters and even use of his wrtting style, and they are all... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. M. C. Russon
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