Review: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is a flawed yet quite entertaining cyberpunk novel that has viruses on the brain (pardon the pun). A mysterious new computer virus, Snow Crash, seems to be able to infect a hacker's brain, and a drug of the same name is gaining popularity. From there, it's just a short step to the End of the World As We Know It, unless a freelance (read: unemployed) hacker, a skateboarding delivery girl, the Mafia, and a few others can stop Snow Crash's spread.

Snow Crash is undeniably clever, often quite amusingly so. It is also very impressed with its own cleverness (why else name a main character Hiro Protagonist?), sometimes too much so for my taste. The pacing of the book is problematic, as well: a terrific opening, filled with energy and wit, slides into a middle section consisting mostly of characters explaining Sumerian language and myth to each other for pages on end. The book ends by apparently running headlong into a brick wall, simply stopping in its tracks. Nevertheless, Snow Crash is on balance a fun, fairly light though long read.

%T   Snow Crash
%A   Stephenson, Neal
%C   New York
%I   Bantam
%D   1992
%G   0-553-56261-4
%P   470pp
%O   paperback

Copyright July 28, 1999 by Kate Nepveu. Originally posted to rec.arts.sf.written.

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