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Snow Crash (1992)

af Neal Stephenson

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

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20,033394222 (4.09)667
Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:The brilliantly realized (The New York Times Book Review) modern classic that coined the term metaverseone of Times 100 best English-language novels and a foundational text of the cyberpunk movement (Wired)
 
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzos CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse hes a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thats 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 . . . youll recognize it immediately.… (mere)
Nyligt tilføjet afManderNelle, lauranthalsa, jsackey, SergiT, LutherNow, privat bibliotek, thatnerd, JacobBross, SheenaLaun, liscosity
Efterladte bibliotekerTerence Kemp McKenna
  1. 273
    Cryptonomicon af Neal Stephenson (moonstormer)
  2. 190
    Ready Player One af Ernest Cline (davesmind, jbgryphon, fulner)
    davesmind: Although Snow Crash is a classic of cyberpunk, I think Ready Player One has a more captivating story - especially if you played video games in the 80's
    jbgryphon: RPO's OASIS owes it's existence as much to Neil Stephenson's Metaverse as to the miriad of geek universes that are included in it.
    fulner: Ready player one is what Snow crash should have been. A story focused primarily on the inter-personal-relationships of others "online" in a futuristic version of the internet in which we live in a 3-D world as the real world around us crashes and burns. The biggest difference is Ready Player One Doesn't Suck. Still somewhat heretical, but its heresy can be easily dismissed on that the protagonist is an atheist.… (mere)
  3. 120
    Neuromantiker : cyberpunk-roman af William Gibson (thebookpile)
  4. 70
    Daemon af Daniel Suarez (thehoodedone)
  5. 60
    The Diamond Age af Neal Stephenson (atrautz)
  6. 50
    Count Zero : cyberpunk-roman af William Gibson (thebookpile)
  7. 62
    Little Brother af Cory Doctorow (JFDR)
  8. 40
    Halting State af Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  9. 30
    Drømmer androider om elektriske får? af Philip K. Dick (ecureuil)
  10. 20
    Altered Carbon af Richard K. Morgan (electronicmemory)
  11. 20
    Omnitopia Dawn af Diane Duane (pammab)
    pammab: To explore the possibilities of virtual reality in the near future. Duane's is much more traditional and pro-corporate fantasy; Stephenson's is more humor-based anti-corporate cyberpunk.
  12. 20
    The Star Fraction af Ken MacLeod (Noisy)
    Noisy: Anarchy viewed from both sides of the fence. 'Snow Crash' offers the capitalist view and 'The Star Fraction' offers the socialist counterpart.
  13. 32
    Virtual light af William Gibson (Moehrendorf)
  14. 10
    The Stone Canal af Ken MacLeod (bsackerman)
  15. 21
    City of Golden Shadow af Tad Williams (romula)
  16. 10
    Trouble and Her Friends af Melissa Scott (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Cyberpunk
  17. 11
    This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities af Jim Rossignol (infiniteletters)
  18. 13
    Da Vinci mysteriet af Dan Brown (fulner)
    fulner: Heretical Fiction
1990s (94)
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Engelsk (385)  Fransk (3)  Italiensk (2)  Ungarsk (1)  Tysk (1)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (393)
Viser 1-5 af 393 (næste | vis alle)
I quite enjoyed this-- it's not my favorite, or even my favorite [a:Neal Stephenson|545|Neal Stephenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1192826259p2/545.jpg], but it certainly captures a lot of the things I enjoy about his writing style. Stephenson does really good near-future sci-fi because he excels at taking something from our own time and going crazy with it, but at the same time keeping it detailed and sprawling and very realistic. In the case of [b:Snow Crash|830|Snow Crash|Neal Stephenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1157396730s/830.jpg|493634], all you have to do is accept one possibly science-fictional idea in order for the rest of the story and world to fall into place with a resounding crash.

Near the end where they're author-dumping philosophy of religion... I can even agree with the line of thinking to an extent, but the part where Judaism is summoned up and just as quickly dismissed as 'a good attempt for the time, but outdated and replaced by Christianity' felt like a punch in the stomach. That's a pretty good simplification of the way it looks from the outside, but it's something Jews hear all the time, as if Judaism is made irrelevant and pointless by its eventually more popular offshoot.

Almost as a side note, I was entertained to notice the similarities of Hiro's "Earth" program to Google Earth. I wonder whether Google got their inspiration from the book, or if it's just an obvious idea. (Probably more the latter.) ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
Re-read this after a number of years, and I must say it held up much better than I expected it to, especially for something originally written so long ago. Long before there was anything like Second Life or any of the elaborate MMORPGs we have today, Stephenson conjured up a digital world for his characters to play in. This gives him the title of techno-prophet, in my book. Ultimately, though, it is the characters of Hiro Protagonist (best character name, ever) and Y.T. and Stephenson's not-entirely-dystopian-but-certainly-not-utopian future that draw me in and hold me even a second time around. ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
Meh, I am not quite sure what all of the fuss is about this book. I just read it because I had previously read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and an old room-mate of mine recommended it to me since I liked the aforementioned book quite a bit. However, this proved to be a disappointment. Maybe it served as some screenplay for The Matrix movies which speaks volume as I think the second and third of the trilogy are complete garbage. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
Meh, I am not quite sure what all of the fuss is about this book. I just read it because I had previously read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and an old room-mate of mine recommended it to me since I liked the aforementioned book quite a bit. However, this proved to be a disappointment. Maybe it served as some screenplay for The Matrix movies which speaks volume as I think the second and third of the trilogy are complete garbage. ( )
  tyk314 | Jan 22, 2024 |
I went out on a limb and selected Snow Crash as the book I will review for my book group this February. I first read it in 1999, and enjoyed reading it again recently (2012), twenty years after its publication. Among the purposes of the book group is to stretch members reading experience, and there's no doubt that Snow Crash will serve that purpose. Afterall, we are a group of middle aged women and the genre is "cyberpunk." Cyberpunk is subset of postmodern and science fiction which, as one reviewer (at http://www.cyberpunked.org/cyberpunk/) noted, focuses on "high tech and low life." This be quite a departure from books we have loved such as "The Help" and "The Devil in the White City."

Neal Stephenson titled the book after a software failure that occurred in early Macintosh computers, when they crashed and the system wrote gibberish into the bitmap that appeared as ASCII characters all over the screen. It looked a lot like "snow” on a television screen.

Snow Crash was written long before the the general public commonly used the Internet, and today's vast array of computing applications, tools, devices and resources -- and long before a “daemon” had returned a misaddressed email to any of us! In 1992, “viruses” where things that could be seen with a microscope, only a handful of researchers were talking about neural networks, and those of us who used the Internet were using such antiquated tools as Telnet, modems and of all things -- phone lines.

The story opens in 21st century Los Angeles, which is no longer part of what remains of the United States [think of a scie fi version of “Pottersville” in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”]. Most of the former U.S. territory is privately owned/controlled by private companies and organized crime. Most governmental functions have been outsourced to private companies (e.g., the “Central Intelligence Corporation.”). Companies that own the streets and roadways compete for drivers, and all mail is delivered by private courier. Hyperinflation has devalued the U.S. dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills are small change [think of the photos of Germans carting bundles of Marks to buy groceries in pre-WWII Germany. In 1922, the highest denomination was 50,000 Mark, but by 1923, due to hyperinflation, the highest denomination was the 100,000,000,000,000 Mark, and in December, the exchange rate was 4,200,000,000,000 Marks to $1 US.].

Among the privately owned territories are "burbclaves" [think of city states, e.g., the Sumerian cities of Mesopotamia and Ur, the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon, the ancient Greece cities such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth, the pre-Columbian Mayan cities such as Chichen Itza and El Mirador, etc.], that are run as franchises of big businesses such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong)."

Prominently featured in Snow Crash is the "Metaverse" which is a virtual reality based world inhabited by avatars that represent the humans that operate them. While this concept was visionary in 1992, in 2012, engineers, animators, architects, people playing video games, and many others use routinely use avatars in their work and play. "Avatar" refers generally to graphic representation of oneself, and the term was popularized by the success of Snow Crash.

The main flesh-and-blood characters are Hiro Protagonist (yes, his name says it all), whose business card reads Last of the freelance hackers and Greatest swordfighter in the World, and a street-smart 15 year old girl who goes by "Y.T." (short for her name, Yours Truly), who works as a skateboard courier. When Hiro loses his job as a pizza delivery driver for the Mafia, he and Y.T. decide to go into the business of selling data to the Central Intelligence Corporation. They learn about "Snow Crash," a dangerous new “drug” that is a computer virus capable of entering and infecting both the "brains" of computers and humans alike, which they learn has its roots in ancient Sumerian language.

In reading Snow Crash twenty years after it was published, I found that the story held up well, and particularly enjoyed noting that many of the tools and resources that the author envisioned are things we take for granted today. For example, "The Librarian" and "Earth" applications are to Hiro what Wikipedia and Google Earth are to me today. The "goggles" referred to in the book seem pretty much like the virtual reality headsets that are available for use with video games and in computer-generated animation.

Here are the questions we will cover at book group:

Snow Crash was published in 1992, and is generally described as a cyberpunk work that fuses memetics, computer viruses, Sumerian mythology and high-tech themes with a sociological extrapolation of laissez-faire capitalism and collectivism. The novel is set in the not-too-distant future. The Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States has become a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and like a super-enhanced video game the Metaverse functions as a fully functioning alternative world. Our hero, Hiro Protagonist, computer hacker, samurai swordsman, and pizza- deliverer for the Mafia becomes involved in an effort to defeat a new biological and electronic virus that is capable of crashing both hackers and computers alike, when it fries the brain of his mentor, Da5id. According to the story, the “snow crash” virus destroyed ancient Sumeria by randomizing its language to create Babel, and is being employed by “bad guys” for the purpose of brainwashing the population. Techno-savy Hiro joins forces with a young techno-savy freelance skateboard courier, Y.T., to investigate the threat and feed information to the Central Intelligence Corporation. This sets up the main story line: Will Hiro and Y.T. save the world? Will one or both of them be killed by the Mafia or by Raven, the mad Aleut harpooner who has a hydrogen bomb in his pocket?

Neal Stephenson says that he writes in order to explore ideas and themes. While on its face, the action in Snow Crash has entertained some readers in a manner similar to the way light romance novels entertain other readers, what it has in common with other acclaimed novels is that apart from being a “good story,” it gives readers reasons to ponder its themes within and beyond the scope of the story. For example, while Stephenson doesn’t explain how the US government fell, it offers the reader an opportunity to think about whether any reasons may be intuited from the novel, and consider how today’s events might shape such a future.

In keeping with Stephenson’s statement that he writes to explore ideas and themes, you're encouraged to choose one or more of the following ideas/themes [or come up with one on your own], and identify why it interested you and/or caused you to think about the idea/theme beyond the scope of the story.

1. How did the world of Snow Crash come into being?
Background: Most cyberpunk novels are set in the near-future, after the US federal government has fallen – usually as a result of its bureaucratic weight, national debt, rebellion against taxes and overregulation, or a crash in global markets due to man-made or natural disaster. However, Stephenson’s does not provide such a backdrop for the story.

Did you intuit anything from the book about the circumstances that led to the breakdown of the federal government? --- or how we might avoid them?
Might any of today’s circumstances lead to a “Snow Crash world?” [e.g., according to the Fed, in May 2011 the largest single holder of U.S. government debt was China, with 26 % of all foreign-held U.S. Treasury securities; in 2000, its holdings were just 6 percent, and in 1992, its holdings were only a percentage of a point.]

2. Back in the Days When There Were Laws
Background: Y.T. matter-of-factly refers to our current era as back in the days when there were laws. In a number of sci-fi/cyberpunk novels, there are no governmentally enforced on civil or criminal laws. although some private law enforcement is performed by machines. In some cases, machines (think traffic cams?) provide private regulation. In Snow Crash (sort of like Star Wars?), machines perform some enforcement.

What do you think about the notion of law enforcement via machine – vs. – by a human enforcer?

3. US bucks and Kong Bucks
Background: Issues of money, currency and inflation, hardly ever come up in sci-fi and cyberpunk novels; power is usually equated by control of resources rather than a large bank account. However, all of these matters, especially inflation, play significant roles in Snow Crash. In today’s world, the US federal government is funded by a combination of tax dollars and extra dollars printed by the Federal Reserve System as deemed necessary to maintaining the stability of the financial system and contain systemic risk arising in connection with national and international financial markets. The downside of printing these extra dollars is that they dilute the value of all U.S. dollars, creating inflation. Under US law, no US entity or citizen may print and use of private currency (e.g., “Kong Bucks”).

Inflation is big problem in the Snow Crash world – but since there’s no Fed how does it occur?
Do you think Stephenson is using “Kong Bucks” to make any particular point?

Personal note: When my son, John, returned from Tanzania in January, he told me that except for the lack of Internet access, it was like the world of Snow Crash. He said that although Tanzania is a nation, since it is not a powerful government, its cities, towns, roads, and entities (including hospitals), are controlled by whatever gang has staked out the area and has the biggest guns. He also noted that the only people who appeared to have much physical girth were those with the biggest guns.

4. The End of Traditional Hierarchies
Background: In Snow Crash, many of the current social, cultural, and governmental hierarchies no longer rule the day. In lieu of them, privately-run franchises, “burbclaves,” zones, and networks have emerged.

Does Snow Crash set aside the traditional hierarchy that arises from respect for age? Or not?

5. Language, Viruses, and the Mind-Computer Connection
Background: The interface of languages human and alien languages is a common element in science fiction (think: Close Encounters of the Third Kind). The use of language in brainwashing and codes is a common element in crime (e.g., Patricia Cornwall), legal (e.g., John Grisham), and techno thrillers (e.g., Tom Clancy). While these language elements are interesting, they don’t require the reader to ponder the matter of language itself. However, Stephenson gives language (electronic and human) a life of its own in positing a virus (i.e., acquired language) that is capable of crashing both computers and human minds. While some reviewers complained that he should have left all the ancient language and binary code stuff out of the novel, while others wrote that by weaving the language theme out of bits and pieces of information and theories derived from ancient languages, myths, and religions, 20th century works in the fields of cognitive and structural linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computer programing manuals, and adding a liberal sprinkling of invented facts, he gave credibility to the notion that language virus might exist and be sufficiently powerful to bring down the world.

What did you think about Stephenson’s language theme in the book? Was it at all plausible?
One of the effects of the snow crash virus is that it causes the world to share one language. What does the book suggest about that? What do you think about the pros and cons of this?
( )
1 stem maryelisa | Jan 16, 2024 |
Viser 1-5 af 393 (næste | vis alle)
Hiro Protagonist (who has chosen his own name, of course) turns out to be entertaining company, and Mr. Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow that is as farcical as it is horrific.
 
Stephenson has not stepped, he has vaulted onto the literary stage with this novel.
tilføjet af GYKM | RedigerLos Angeles Reader
 
A cross between Neuromancer and Thomas Pynchon's Vineland. This is no mere hyperbole.
tilføjet af GYKM | RedigerSan Francisco Bay Guardian
 

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snow n. . . . 2.a. Anything resembling snow. b. The white specks on a television screen resulting from weak reception.

crash v....--intr. . . . 5. To fail suddenly, as a business or an economy.
---The American Heritage Dictionary

virus. . . . [L. virus slimy liquid, poison, offensive odor or taste.] 1. Venom, such as is emitted by a poisonous animal. 2. Path a. A morbid principle or poisonous substance produced in the body as the result of some disease, esp. one capable of being introduced into other persons or animals by inoculations or otherwise and of developing the same disease in them. . . . 3. fig. A moral or intellectual poison, or poisonous influence.
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HIRO PROTAGONIST
Last of the freelance hackers
Greatest sword fighter in the world
Stringer, Central Intelligence Corporation
Specializing in software-related intel
(music, movies & microcode)
When you are wrestling for possession of a sword, the man with the handle always wins.
"Did you win your sword fight?"
"Of course I won the fucking sword fight," Hiro says. "I'm the greatest sword fighter in the world."
"And you wrote the software."
"Yeah. That, too," Hiro says.
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Fiction. Science Fiction. HTML:The brilliantly realized (The New York Times Book Review) modern classic that coined the term metaverseone of Times 100 best English-language novels and a foundational text of the cyberpunk movement (Wired)
 
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzos CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse hes a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus thats 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 . . . youll recognize it immediately.

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