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108 Reviews
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good yarn based round a vision of the future of the internet
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...
Published on 20 Dec 1999

versus
56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poor 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...
Published on 22 Oct 2010 by Ferrious


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good yarn based round a vision of the future of the internet, 20 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
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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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, poor kindle edition, 22 Oct 2010
This review is from: Snow Crash (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cyber space has been done better, 2 Dec 2000
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
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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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Kindle version!, 16 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Snow Crash (Kindle Edition)
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
This review is from: Snow Crash (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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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, poor Kindle edition, 4 Sep 2010
This review is from: Snow Crash (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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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliverator, 1 Oct 2003
By 
Matthew Wharton "electricinca" (Bath, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
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. When governments lose the power to collect taxes then they cease to be of any use and citizens will seek the services of protection and education from corporations.
If the first 25 pages don't get you hooked then put the book down, step away carefully and go numb your mind by watching television game shows.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only ever read one cyberpunk novel..., 14 Aug 2003
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
If you only ever read one cyberpunk novel, read this one. The publishing of this book in 1993 was a defining moment in the evolution of cyberpunk with the book instantly becoming the genre’s paradigm. It was the ultimate in computers, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s vision of cyberspace connected intimately with the expectations of the ‘Doom’ playing computer generation and made William Gibson’s cyberspace of raw date look as obsolete as the computers that had inspired it.
But Snow Crash is more than just a great cyberpunk story, it is a great novel. Here is a boisterous book that is endlessly inventive, with a fine cast of characters moving in lavishly described surroundings, with a plot that encompasses the world, with a great sense of humour and irony throughout. With its mix of technology and mythology, hard science and ‘X-Files’ fantasy, and humour and cynicism the novel was a great reflection of popular culture. In Neal Stephenson, cyberpunk and science fiction had found their Dickens.
However, to experience the real sensation that is Snow Crash, you shouldn’t try to read it too deeply. To do so is to risk becoming roadkill under the thundering wheels juggernaut that is this book. Instead, like it heroine, ‘poon a ride on the back of Stephenson’s speeding narrative and thrash your way through his cyber-cityscapes. It’s a trip worth taking.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Control Alt Delete Restart, 11 Nov 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
To the extent that a book can be described as original, "Snow Crash", by Neal Stephenson is deserving of the moniker. About the only common ground that his work shares with others is that ink is applied to paper using the same letters, and then pages are bound to create a book. Much beyond that and you are in the midst of this Author's view of a given world he has modified and created. He is not only incredibly unique; his wit passes the cutting edge to the bleeding edge of razor sharp sarcasm, and irony. And when he uses words he assembles them in arrangements you have never listened to before. An important aspect that sets his work apart in this genre is that while delivering enormous amounts of information, he keeps the reader informed, he does not lose you, he ensures you stay with his wickedly fast pace by keeping you educated. Other Authors of Science Fiction are weak on this point, and it weakens their books.

One date to remember when reading this work is that it was first released in June of 1992 after three years in the making. This is critical, as so much of what was absolute fiction then, may now be found within the pages of Wired Magazine. There are even words he originated that are common to most people who use a computer, especially if you have ever tried what he calls the Metaverse, touring it as an Avatar.

One of the reasons his work is so authentic and exceptionally good is that he knows his material. If he talks about code he's qualified, as he has written it. When he is speaking of Sumerian Mythology an Author who spent years researching his material is again relating it. And when he just lets go with dialogue or descriptive prose it is mind binding for being clever, unique, and hilarious. He also has raised sardonic prose to an art form. If he were any less a craftsman, a main character named Hiro Protagonist that at one point delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizzeria, would be moronic.

Technology, a version of what today's society might look like one day, viruses that share traits whether attacking a human or a silicon life form, the origins of language based on Biblical text, it just never stops. He is an extraordinary artist who chooses to express his art through words. It is a unique ride if you have yet to take it, and one that you will never forget.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From good to bad in 60 seconds., 13 Feb 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
This was my first "cyberpunk" novel. I have never read Gibson and I had nothing to compare this book to, save the movies I have watched on the subject.

I thought the book started out fabulously, with a high-paced introduction to this futuristic world, through the eyes of the pizza guy (Hiro before he got boring) and Y.T. the Kourier. But from then on it quickly deteriorated. Which is a shame. I think it could have been great, in a sort of Fight Club/come hell or high water sorta way - a wild hellbent excursion into this rather well thought out future of our civilization, where the suburbs are heavily fortified independent states and even the government is privatized.

This well thought out environment could have turned into something very entertaining, and even given the reader some food for thought as to where we are going with our culture. But instead Stephenson uses it to hang a rather uninteresting story on, which seems to spin out of the author's control and ends up with gaps so big, that elephants could walk through them side by side.

There are serious issues with the continuity of the story, the timeline and the motivations of the characters. All in all, in this book Stephenson displays a great talent for painting environments, but no talent for telling a coherent story or writing characters beyond caricatures.

(One of the single most unbelievable things in the book, is the fact that the main character and the bad guy both had parents who fought in WWII. Not just that those parents apparently knew eachother, but the fact that the book takes place in the (albeit near) future. But evenso, they'd both have to be atleast in their 50's to have parents that old. Silly.)
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