Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash arrived in my life around the same time that Michael Crichton’s Micro did as part of a science-fiction course curriculum. It’s one of the best science-fiction novels that I’ve read. While Michael Crichton’s Micro falls under the scientific realism genre, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash falls more into the cyber-punk niche along side novels like William Gibson’s Neuromancer. These types of novels are the cultural precursors to movies like The Matrix (1991) and its sequels.

Well, all the information looks like noise until you break the code.

What I really enjoy about Snow Crash is its play with linguistics especially ancient languages like Sumerian. Language is theoretically like software programming for the hardware of the brain. The linguistic virus mirrors the computer virus. If I wanted to get into some real in-depth literary analysis, I’d draw parallels with Noam Chomsky’s linguistic theories. And, Snow Crash toys with the notion that it could be one and the same, enough to manipulate individuals like robots. One of the biggest Biblical parallels this novel draws upon is the story of Babel.

If you did enough traveling, you’d never feel at home anywhere.

Hiro Protagonist is the protagonist of the novel, and – naturally – he’s a hacker. He also has a very interesting side job as a delivery driver for the Mafia. He comes across the Snow Crash datafile, and the drama of his life begins to unravel. There’s some travel, some twisted eroticism, and great intrigue. Although this is a cyber punk novel, the technology is easy to grasp for the most part and, when it isn’t, readers can still get the gist of what’s happening in the plot. Overall, I would recommend this novel.

Work Cited

Stephenson, Neal. Snow Crash. New York: Bantam Spectra, 2 May 2000.


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