Snow Crash is a wonderful romp through a future America so familiar, one expects to see its characters chasing each other down the street. An America where money does not make the world go round. In fact, it''s too inflated to have any real meaning. The future belongs to those who have information, or at least who have access to information. Set mostly in California, with super highways delivering consumers fast food, faster shopping, and even small country franchises, like Mr. Lee’s greater Hong Kong. A very modern, ancient Sumerian virus-drug, called Snow Crash, is turning hackers and non-hackers alike into glossolalia stricken refugees. Throw in the Metaverse, Stephenson''s version of the internet. A three-dimensional audio and visual hallucination built around the mystical powers-of-two. Rent a cheap avatar for a stroll down the main street. Ride your motorcycle at 200 km/h and bounce harmlessly off of a 20-mile square building. Just don''t read the bitmap scroll held by the Bland Angel of Judgment. Further complicating matters is a slew of divergent and entertaining characters. Your guide through this journey is the unlikely Hiro Protagonist, a once and future hacker genius and now delivers pizza for the Mafia. Hiro, when he''s not delivering pizza, gathers intel. Joining him is the ever resourceful and spunky Y.T., a teenaged Kourier skateboarding her way through traffic by attaching herself to cars. Want more? How about the surprisingly boyish Uncle Enzo, head of aforementioned Mafia, or L.
Bob Rife, fantastically wealthy crank, founding founder of Rife Bible College and current owner of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. Perhaps you''d like to meet Mr. Lee, proprietor of Mr. Lee''s Greater Hong Kong Franchise, or stop to pet Rat Thing, a supersonic isotope-powered cybernetic pit bull. Pushing forward the plot is a Metaverse librarian and Raven, a one-man harpoon wielding killing machine and nuclear power. Sounds serious? Perhaps. Complicated? Enjoyably so. This is a story about dualities. There''s a reason for the ''powers of two'' lecture early on. The obvious schism is the organized technocracy of the Metaverse contrasted with the hyperinflationary franchised real world. Hiro against Raven. One reluctantly saves the world he helped create, the other seeks to destroy the world that created him. How about Uncle Enzo versus Rife? Ng and Rat Thing? YT and ... well, everybody else. In the end this book is not a morality tale. It is not a tragedy. It is not a comedy. It is merely a glimpse, though an action filled glimpse, into the lives of these characters. Wonderful, complicated, smart, and well worth the read.