Snow Crash Soars But Ultimately… Crashes

My GoodReads review of the novel I just finished:
 
Snow Crash Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Great characters, awesome concept. Lots of fun and interesting stuff.

Unfortunately, it’s all held together by a philosophical premise (language as a virus that can re-write the software of the human brain) that I can’t bring myself to accept, at least not as Stephenson paints it. Therefore, the whole plot ends up feeling like really cool characters having some really cool moments within a cool milieu, but ultimately, for no good purpose.

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11 Comments

  1. Yeah, that’s definitely a “didn’t accept premise, therefore the book can’t hit as strong as it could” sort of thing. I had no problem with the proposition, and it remains probably my favorite Stephenson book (though Zodiac is worth a look too, and I actually was quite happy with The Diamond Age).

  2. I just realized I accidentally deleted a comment from Matt Caron while attempting to delete a spam comment. But thanks to my Gmail archive, I can paste what Matt wrote back into this thread:

    Matthew Caron (mattcaron)

    Actually, the base premise was a theory amongst linguists for a short awhile (I forget the fellow who originally posited it, but he was rather famous) though has since been disregarded.

    That said, I had little problem suspending disbelief and therefore this rates as one of my all time favorite books.

    Others with a similar feel but better premise:

    Neuromancer (Gibson)
    Count Zero (Gibson)
    The Diamond Age (Stephenson)
    Cryptonomicon (Stephenson)

  3. Snow Crash was my first Stephenson book. It’s all part of my attempt to cover some of the holes in my geek-fiction experience. I’ll probably eventually try one of the other Stephenson books, too. I went with Snow Crash first because Leo Laporte and John Dvorak are always talking about it on TWiT.

    I should also amplify my original review by saying that the book was totally worth it just to meet and get to know Hiro, Y.T., and Raven. And, I didn’t realize until I was nearly finished with the story that Stephenson wrote it in the early 90s, long before MMOs and Second Life and all that stuff he so richly painted with the Metaverse. And I also really dug the Sumerian mythology stuff. I just wasn’t so hot with what the author proposed was actually going on behind the curtain.

  4. Yeah, that’s definitely a “didn’t accept premise, therefore the book can’t hit as strong as it could” sort of thing. I had no problem with the proposition, and it remains probably my favorite Stephenson book (though Zodiac is worth a look too, and I actually was quite happy with The Diamond Age).

    • Snow Crash was my first Stephenson book. It’s all part of my attempt to cover some of the holes in my geek-fiction experience. I’ll probably eventually try one of the other Stephenson books, too. I went with Snow Crash first because Leo Laporte and John Dvorak are always talking about it on TWiT.

      I should also amplify my original review by saying that the book was totally worth it just to meet and get to know Hiro, Y.T., and Raven. And, I didn’t realize until I was nearly finished with the story that Stephenson wrote it in the early 90s, long before MMOs and Second Life and all that stuff he so richly painted with the Metaverse. And I also really dug the Sumerian mythology stuff. I just wasn’t so hot with what the author proposed was actually going on behind the curtain.

    • Snow Crash was my first Stephenson book. It’s all part of my attempt to cover some of the holes in my geek-fiction experience. I’ll probably eventually try one of the other Stephenson books, too. I went with Snow Crash first because Leo Laporte and John Dvorak are always talking about it on TWiT.

      I should also amplify my original review by saying that the book was totally worth it just to meet and get to know Hiro, Y.T., and Raven. And, I didn’t realize until I was nearly finished with the story that Stephenson wrote it in the early 90s, long before MMOs and Second Life and all that stuff he so richly painted with the Metaverse. And I also really dug the Sumerian mythology stuff. I just wasn’t so hot with what the author proposed was actually going on behind the curtain.

    • Snow Crash was my first Stephenson book. It’s all part of my attempt to cover some of the holes in my geek-fiction experience. I’ll probably eventually try one of the other Stephenson books, too. I went with Snow Crash first because Leo Laporte and John Dvorak are always talking about it on TWiT.

      I should also amplify my original review by saying that the book was totally worth it just to meet and get to know Hiro, Y.T., and Raven. And, I didn’t realize until I was nearly finished with the story that Stephenson wrote it in the early 90s, long before MMOs and Second Life and all that stuff he so richly painted with the Metaverse. And I also really dug the Sumerian mythology stuff. I just wasn’t so hot with what the author proposed was actually going on behind the curtain.

  5. I just realized I accidentally deleted a comment from Matt Caron while attempting to delete a spam comment. But thanks to my Gmail archive, I can paste what Matt wrote back into this thread:

    Matthew Caron (mattcaron)

    Actually, the base premise was a theory amongst linguists for a short awhile (I forget the fellow who originally posited it, but he was rather famous) though has since been disregarded.

    That said, I had little problem suspending disbelief and therefore this rates as one of my all time favorite books.

    Others with a similar feel but better premise:

    Neuromancer (Gibson)
    Count Zero (Gibson)
    The Diamond Age (Stephenson)
    Cryptonomicon (Stephenson)

  6. I just realized I accidentally deleted a comment from Matt Caron while attempting to delete a spam comment. But thanks to my Gmail archive, I can paste what Matt wrote back into this thread:

    Matthew Caron (mattcaron)

    Actually, the base premise was a theory amongst linguists for a short awhile (I forget the fellow who originally posited it, but he was rather famous) though has since been disregarded.

    That said, I had little problem suspending disbelief and therefore this rates as one of my all time favorite books.

    Others with a similar feel but better premise:

    Neuromancer (Gibson)
    Count Zero (Gibson)
    The Diamond Age (Stephenson)
    Cryptonomicon (Stephenson)

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