Snow Crash

posted in Books on Mar 9, 2007

I haven’t finished a book in nearly a month because I’ve been caught up with school and other things, but today I rocked forty pages in Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson and finished a sweet ass futuristic novel of awesomeness.

Snow Crash tells the story of Hiro Protagonist, a pizza delivery man. Not only does Hiro have the greatest name of any character ever, he is a hacker and is proficient with a katana. The world in which Hiro lives is in the nearish future, where the United States no longer has unified states and there is an enormous online world that parallels our own. Instead of states and a national law system, now there are smaller nations that are completely separate from each other and have their own laws. The policing forces in the world are mercenaries that are hired to protect these small nations, so the rules can change quickly and drastically while traveling.

The online world, the Metaverse, was jointly created by Hiro and his love interest in the book. Everyone in the Metaverse is a 3D represatation of themselves, walking and talking in a world that is created with mostly real world physics in mind. People mingle, do business deals, and in Hiro’s case, flip around and cut peoples’ heads off when necessary. Anything that can be done in real life can be done in the Metaverse, if one has the processing power. It’s really interesting because the novel was written in 1992, many years before the online realm we’re accustomed to. Having an online world where people go to pretty much do what they do in real life has recently started to become a reality with the “game” Second Life, but fifteen years ago when 16bit color was the new, huge thing, a novel that paints a very similar picture is pretty neat. The Metaverse is definitely cooler than Second Life, of course, because it can accurately depict facial expressions and emotions, and typing out thoughts is nearly non-existant, opting instead for simple speech. As you read this book, you’ll be familiar with ideas within the Metaverse that we don’t really think about now. “Avatar,” a term we know well today, made its first appearance in this novel, for example; very cool.

Along with Hiro, Y.T. joins the fray as a courier who helps Hiro in his exploits. Y.T. is a fifteen year old girl who has a mouth and wit enough not to get killed in a world that could do just that at any moment. I’m not going to get into the story much (I never do), but there’s a virus that could hurt a lot of people, and Hiro and Y.T. have to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you’re still on the fence, let’s just say Hiro’s katana isn’t just for show.

Even though it took me a freaking month to read this novel, it’s pretty rockin’. Read it if you want some hot, badass, sword action.