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Snow Crash
 
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Snow Crash [Format Kindle]

Neal Stephenson
4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Amazon.com

From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and the Internet--incarnate as the Metaverse--looks something like last year's hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist--hacker, samurai swordsman, and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what's a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible.

Extrait

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He's got esprit up to here. Right now he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachno-fiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.

When they gave him the job, they gave him a gun. The Deliverator never deals in cash, but someone might come after him anyway–might want his car, or his cargo. The gun is a tiny, aero-styled, lightweight, the kind of a gun a fashion designer would carry; it fires teensy darts that fly at five times the velocity of an SR-71 spy plane, and when you get done using it, you have to plug it in to the cigarette lighter, because it runs on electricity.

The Deliverator never pulled that gun in anger, or in fear. He pulled it once in Gila Highlands. Some punks in Gila Highlands, a fancy Burbclave, wanted themselves a delivery, and they didn't want to pay for it. Thought they would impress the Deliverator with a baseball bat. The Deliverator took out his gun, centered its laser doo-hickey on that poised Louisville Slugger, fired it. The recoil was immense, as though the weapon had blown up in his hand. The middle third of the baseball bat turned into a column of burning sawdust accelerating in all directions like a bursting star. Punk ended up holding this bat handle with milky smoke pouring out the end. Stupid look on his face. Didn't get nothing but trouble from the Deliverator.

Since then the Deliverator has kept the gun in the glove compartment and relied, instead, on a matched set of samurai swords, which have always been his weapon of choice anyhow. The punks in Gila Highlands weren't afraid of the gun, so the Deliverator was forced to use it. But swords need no demonstration.

The Deliverator's car has enough potential energy packed into its batteries to fire a pound of bacon into the Asteroid Belt. Unlike a bimbo box or a Burb beater, the Deliverator's car unloads that power through gaping, gleaming, polished sphincters. When the Deliverator puts the hammer down, shit happens. You want to talk contact patches? Your car's tires have tiny contact patches, talk to the asphalt in four places the size of your tongue. The Deliverator's car has big sticky tires with contact patches the size of a fat lady's thighs. The Deliverator is in touch with the road, starts like a bad day, stops on a peseta.

Why is the Deliverator so equipped? Because people rely on him. He is a roll model. This is America. People do whatever the fuck they feel like doing, you got a problem with that? Because they have a right to. And because they have guns and no one can fucking stop them. As a result, this country has one of the worst economies in the world. When it gets down to it–we're talking trade balances here–once we've brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they're making cars in Bolivia and microwaves in Tadzhikistan and selling them here–once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel–once the Invisible Hand has taken all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider to be prosperity–y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else

music
movies
microcode (software)
high-speed pizza delivery

The Deliverator used to make software. Still does, sometimes. But if life were a mellow elementary school run by well-meaning education Ph.D.s, the Deliverator's report card would say; "Hiro is so bright and creative but needs to work harder on his cooperation skills."

So now he has this other job. No brightness or creativity involved–but no cooperation either. Just a single principle: The Deliverator stands tall, your pie in thirty minutes or you can have it free, shoot the driver, take his car, file a class-action suit. The Deliverator has been working this job for six months, a rich and lengthy tenure by his standards, and has never delivered a pizza in more than twenty-one minutes.

Oh, they used to argue over times, many corporate driver-years lost to it: homeowners, red-faced and sweaty with their own lies, stinking of Old Spice and job-related stress, standing in their glowing yellow doorways brandishing their Seikos and waving at the clock over the kitchen sink, I swear, can’t you guys tell time?

Didn’t happen anymore. Pizza delivery is a major industry. A managed industry. People went to CosaNostra Pizza University four years just to learn it. Came in its doors unable to write an English sentence, from Abkhazia, Rwanda, Guanajuato, South Jersey, and came out knowing more about pizza than a Bedouin knows about sand. And they had studied this problem. Graphed the frequency of doorway delivery-time disputes. Wired the early Deliverators to record, then analyze, the debating tactics, the voice-stress histograms, the distinctive grammatical structures employed by white middle-class Type A Burbclave occupants who against all logic had decided that this was the place to take their personal Custerian stand against all that was stale and deadening in their lives: they were going to lie, or delude themselves, about the time of their phone call and get themselves a free pizza; no, they deserved a free pizza along with their life, liberty, and pursuit of whatever, it was fucking inalienable. Sent psychologists out to these people’s houses, gave them a free TV set to submit to an anonymous interview, hooked them to polygraphs, studied their brain waves as they showed them choppy, inexplicable movies of porn queens and late-night car crashes and Sammy Davis, Jr., put them in sweet-smelling, mauve-walled rooms and asked them questions about Ethics so perplexing that even a Jesuit couldn’t respond without committing a venial sin.

The analysts at CosaNostra Pizza University concluded that it was just human nature and you couldn’t fix it, and so they went for a quick cheap technical fix: smart boxes. The pizza box is a plastic carapace now, corrugated for stiffness, a little LED readout glowing on the side, telling the Deliverator how many trade imbalance-producing minutes have ticked away since the fateful phone call. There are chips and stuff in there. The pizzas rest, a short stack of them, in slots behind the Deliverator’s head. Each pizza glides into a slot like a circuit board into a computer, clicks into place as the smart box interfaces with the onboard system of the Deliverator’s car. The address of the caller has already been inferred from his phone number and poured into the smart box’s built-in RAM. From there it is communicated to the car, which computes and projects the optimal route on a heads-up display, a glowing colored map traced out against the windshield so that the Deliverator does not even have to glance down.

If the thirty-minute deadline expires, news of the disaster is flashed to CosaNostra Pizza Headquarters and relayed from there to Uncle Enzo himself–the Sicilian Colonel Sanders, the Andy Griffith of Bensonhurst, the straight razor-swinging figment of many a Deliverator’s nightmares, the Capo and prime figurehead of CosaNostra Pizza, Incorporated–who will be on the phone to the customer within five minutes, apologizing profusely. The next day, Uncle Enzo will land on the customer’s yard in a jet helicopter and apologize some more and give him a free trip to Italy–all he has to do is sign a bunch of releases that make him a public figure and spokesperson for CosaNostra Pizza and basically end his private life as he knows it. He will come away from the whole thing feeling that, somehow, he owes the Mafia a favor.

The Deliverator does not know for sure what happens to the driver in such cases, but he has heard some rumors. Most pizza deliveries happen in the evening hours, which Uncle Enzo considers to be his private time. And how would you feel if you had to interrupt dinner with your family in order to call some obstreperous dork in a Burbclave and grovel for a late fucking pizza? Uncle Enzo has not put in fifty years serving his family and his country so that, at the age when most are playing golf and bobbling their granddaughters, he can get out of the bathtub dripping wet and lie down and kiss the feet of some sixteen-year-old skate punk whose pepperoni was thirty-one minutes in coming. Oh, God. It makes the Deliverator breathe a little shallower just to think of the idea.

But he wouldn’t drive for CosaNostra Pizza any other way. You know why? Because there’s something about having your life on the line. It’s like being a kamikaze pilot. Your mind is clear. Other people–store clerks, burger flippers, software engineers, the whole vocabulary of meaningless jobs that make up Life in America–other people just reply on plain old competition. Better flip your burgers or debug your subroutines faster and better than your high school classmate two blocks down the strip is flipping or debugging, because we’re in competition with those guys, and people are noticing these things.

What a fucking rat race that is. CosaNostra Pizza doesn’t have any competition. Competition goes against the Mafia ethic. You don’t work harder because you’re competing against some identical operation down the street. You work harder because everything is on the line. Your name, your honor, your family, your life. Those burger flippers might have a better life expectancy–but what kind of life is it anyway, you have to ask yourself. That’s why nobody, not even the Nipponese, can move pizzas faster than CosaNostra. The Deliverator is proud to wear the uniform, proud to drive the car, proud to march up the front walks of innumerable Burbclave homes, a grim vision in ninja black, a pizza on his shoulder, red LED digits blazing proud numbers into the night: 12:32 or 15:15 or the occasional 20:43.

The Deliverator is assigned to CosaNostra Pizza #3569 in the Valley. Southern California doesn’t know whether to bustle or just strangle itself on the spot. Not enough roads for the number of people. Fairlanes, Inc. is laying new ones all the time. Have to bulldoze lots of neighborhoods to do it, but those seventies and eighties developments exist to be bulldozed, right? No sidewalks, no schools, no nothing. Don’t have their own police force–no immigration control–undesirables can walk right in without being frisked or even harassed. Now a Burbclave, that’s the place to live. A city-state with its own constitution, a border, laws, cops, everything.

The Deliverator was a corporal in the Farms of Merryvale State Security Force for a while once. Got himself fired for pulling a sword on an acknowledged perp. Slid it right through the fabric of the perp’s shirt, gliding the flat of the blade along the base of his neck, and pinned him to a warped and bubbled expanse of vinyl siding on the wall of the house that the perp was trying to break into. Thought it was a pretty righteous bust. But they fired him anyway because the perp turned out to be the son of the vice-chancellor of the Farms of Merryvale. Oh, the weasels had an excuse: said that a thirty-six-inch samurai sword was not on their Weapons Protocol. Said that he had violated the SPAC, the Suspected Perpetrator Apprehension Code. Said that the perp had suffered psychological trauma. He was afraid of butter knives now; he had to spread his jelly with the back of a teaspoon. They said that he had exposed them to liability.

The Deliverator had to borrow some money to pay for it. Had to borrow it from the Mafia, in fact. So he’s in their database now–retinal patterns, DNA, voice graph, fingerprints, footprints, palm prints, wrist prints, every fucking part of the body that had wrinkles on it–almost–those bastards rolled in ink and made a print and digitized it into their computer. But it’s their money–sure they’re careful about loaning it out. And when he applied for the Deliverator job they were happy to take him, because they knew him. When he got the loan, he had to deal personally with the assistant vice-capo of the Valley, who later recommended him for the Deliverator job. So it was like being in a family. A really scary, twisted, abusive family.

CosaNostra Pizza #3569 is on Vista Road just down from Kings Park Mall. Vista Road used to belong to the State of California and now is called Fairlanes, Inc. Rte. CSV-5. Its main competition used to be a U.S. highway and is now called Cruiseways, Inc. Rte. Cal-12. Farther up the Valley, the two competing highways actually cross. Once there had been bitter disputes, the intersection closed by sporadic sniper fire. Finally, a big developer bought the entire intersection and turned it into a drive-through mall. Now the roads just feed into a parking system–not a lot, not a ramp, but a system–and lose their identity. Getting through the intersection involves tracing paths through the parking system, many braided filaments of direction like the Ho Chi Minh trail. CSV-5 has better throughput, but Cal-12 has better pavement. That is typical–Fairlanes roads emphasize getting you there, for Type A drivers, and Cruiseways emphasize the enjoyment of the ride, for Type B drivers.

The Deliverator is a Type A driver with rabies. He is zeroing in on his home base, CosaNostra Pizza #3569, cranking up the left lane of CSV-5 at a hundred and twenty kilometers. His car is an invisible black lozenge, just a dark place that reflects the tunnel of franchise signs–the loglo. A row of orange lights burbles and churns across the front, where the grille would be if this were an air-breathing car. The orange light looks like a gasoline fire. It comes in through people’s rear windows, bounces off their rearview mirrors, projects a fiery mask across their eyes, reaches into their subconscious, and unearths terrible fears of being pinned, fully conscious, under a detonating gas tank, makes them want to pull over and let the Deliverator overtake them in his black chariot of pepperoni fire.

The loglo, overhead, making out CSV-5 in twin contrails, is a body of electrical light made of innumerable cells, each cell designed in Manhattan by imageers who make more for designing a single logo than a Deliverator will make in his entire lifetime. Despite their efforts to stand out, they all smear together, especially at a hundred and twenty kilometers per hour. Still, it is easy to see CosaNostra Pizza #3569 because of the billboard, which is wide and tall even by current inflated standards. In fact, the squat franchise itself looks like nothing more than a low-slung base for the great aramid fiber pillars that thrust the billboard up into the trademark firmament. Marca Registrada, baby.

The billboard is a classic, a chestnut, not a figment of some fleeting Mafia promotional campaign. It is a statement, a monument built to endure. Simple and dignified. It shows Uncle Enzo in one of his spiffy Italian suits. The pinstripes glint and flex like sinews. The pocket square is luminous. His hair is perfect, slicked back with something that never comes off, each strand cut off straight and square at the end by Uncle Enzo’s cousin, Art the Barber, who runs the second-largest chain of low-end haircutting establishments in the world. Uncle Enzo is standing there, not exactly smiling, an avuncular glint in his eye for sure, not posing like a model but standing there like your uncle would, and it says

The Mafia
You’ve got a friend in The Family!
Paid for by the Our Thing Foundation

The billboard serves as the Deliverator’s polestar. He knows that when he gets to the place on CSV-5 where the bottom corner of the billboard is obscured by the pseudo-Gothic stained-glass arches of the local Reverend Wayne’s Pearly Gates franchise, it’s time for him to get over into the right lanes where the retards and the bimbo boxes poke along, random, indecisive, looking at each passing franchise’s driveway like they don’t know if it’s a promise or a threat.

He cuts off a bimbo box–a family minivan–veers past the Buy ‘n’ Fly that is next door, and pulls into CosaNostra Pizza #3569. Those big fat contact patches complain, squeal a little bit, but they hold on to the patented Fairlanes, Inc. high-traction pavement and guide him into the chute. No other Deliverators are waiting in the chute. That is good, that means high turnover for him, fast action, keep moving that ‘za. As he scrunches to a stop, the electromechanical hatch on the flank of his car is already opening to reveal his empty pizza slots, the door clicking and folding back in on itself like the wing of a beetle. The slots are waiting. Waiting for hot pizza.

And waiting. The Deliverator honks his horn. This is not a nominal outcome.

Window slides open. That should never happen. You can look at the three-ring binder from CosaNostra Pizza University, cross-reference the citation for window, chute, dispatcher’s, and it will give you all the procedures for that window–and it should never be opened. Unless something has gone wrong.

The window slides open and–you sitting down?–smoke comes out of it. The Deliverator hears a discordant beetling over the metal hurricane of his sound system and realizes that it is a smoke alarm, coming from inside the franchise.

Mute button on the stereo. Oppressive silence–his eardrums uncringe–the window is buzzing with the cry of the smoke alarm. The car idles, waiting. The hatch has been open too long, atmospheric pollutants are congealing on the electrical contacts in the back of the pizza slots, he’ll have to clean them ahead of schedule, everything is going exactly the way it shouldn’t go in the three-ring binder that spells out all the rhythms of the pizza universe.

Inside, a football-shaped Abkhazian man is running to and fro, holding a three-ring binder open, using his spare tire as a ledge to keep it from collapsing shut; he runs with the gait of a man carrying an egg on a spoon. He is shouting in the Abkhazian dialect; all the people who run CosaNostra pizza franchises in this part of the Valley are Abkhazian immigrants.

It does not look like a serious fire. The Deliverator saw a real fire once, at the Farms of Merryvale, and you couldn’t see anything for the smoke. That’s all it was: smoke, burbling out of nowhere, occasional flashes of orange light down at the bottom, like heat lightning in tall clouds. This is not that kind of fire. It is the kind of fire that just barely puts out enough smoke to detonate the smoke alarms. And he is losing time for this shit.

The Deliverator holds the horn button down. The Abkhazian manager comes to the window. He is supposed to use the intercom to talk to drivers, he could say anything he wanted and it would be piped straight into the Deliverator’s car, but no, he has to talk face to face, like the Deliverator is some kind of fucking ox cart driver. He is red-faced, sweating, his eyes roll as he tries to think of the English words.

“A fire, a little one,” he says.

The Deliverator says nothing. Because he knows that all of this is going onto videotape. The tape is being pipelined, as it happens, to CosaNostra Pizza University, where it will be analyzed in a pizza management science laboratory. It will be shown to Pizza University students, perhaps to the very students who will replace this man when he gets fired, as a textbook example of how to screw up your life.

“New employee–put his dinner in the microwave–had foil in it–boom!” the manager says.

Abkhazia had been part of the Soviet fucking Union. Where did they get these guys? Weren’t there any Americans who could bake a fucking pizza?

“Just give me one pie,” the Deliverator says.

Talking about pies snaps the guy into the current century. He gets a grip. He slams the window shut, strangling the relentless keening of the smoke alarm.

A Nipponese robot arm shoves the pizza out and into the top slot. The hatch folds shut to protect it.

As the Deliverator is pulling out of the chute, building up speed, checking the address that is flashed across his windshield, deciding whether to turn right or left, it happens. His stereo cuts out again–on command of the onboard system. The cockpit lights go red. Red. A repetitive buzzer begins to sound. The LED readout on his windshield, which echoes the one on the pizza box, flashes up: 20:00.

They have just given the Deliverator a twenty-minute-old pizza. He checks the address; it is twelve miles away.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 753 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 480 pages
  • Editeur : Spectra (26 août 2003)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B000FBJCJE
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°208.620 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne 

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4.8 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 indispensable 18 mai 2007
Par laurent
Format:Broché
Quand la réalité rattrappe la fiction... En ce moment tout le monde parle de Second Life, l'endroit de la toile où... Niel Stephenson a décrit cet univers il y a presque 15 ans : un hacker de génie samouraï, une ado porteuse de plis pour la mafia, un virus informatique s'attaquant aux personnes physiques via leur avatar dans le meta-univers... je n'en dis pas plus...
A lire.
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5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Science fiction at its best 28 février 2005
Format:Broché
When I first read this book (over 10 years ago) I was of the opinion that it was the best science fiction book ever written. On re-reading it recently I am no longer sure that it is the best but it certainly is excellent.
Snow Crash is well written, with a strong well-paced plot and an interesting, well realised, cast of characters. Most importantly it bristles with ideas. I loved his bizarre vision of the future. The USA in terrible economic decline (worthless trillion dollar notes) with no law, just a franchise system of government (or independent Burbclaves). A brilliant reworking of the Babel myth utilising a type of direct linguistic programming - allowing people to be directly controlled through language. On first reading I was impressed with the Metaverse (a kind of equivalent of Gibson's cyberspace) but 10 years later it is much less impressive - it is far too literal and too closely modelled on reality to fire the imagination.
The action proceeds at breakneck speed - Hiro is a good hero and Raven is a fantastic bad guy. His physical threat almost leaps from the page (although he is such an excellent character that he does tend to overshadow the more sinister threat of the main villain L. Bob Rife).
I love Stephenson's work, particularly the early books, but as other reviewers have noted endings are not strength. This is one of his better efforts (certainly better than the ending of the otherwise excellent The Diamond Age) but is still rather abrupt and not entirely satisfactory.
None of the problems really matter, at the end of the day they are just quibbles - it is still a totally fantastic book!
Buy it, read it, enjoy it
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good cyberpunk story! 25 mai 2014
Par Waltika
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Difficult to stop reading when started. Despite time having made it a bit retro the anticipative power is still wonderful!
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very good 10 juin 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Reading the book is like watching a movie. I've just check that the movie really exist. It does.
It has been difficult some times to switch the light off and sleep.
I'm no longer practicing skateboard but I was there, in the street with them :-)

The rhythm is good, the frame is logic, the parallel world is "real", the bad's are ... bad and the good's -I stop there. Read the book.

Enjoy (I think I'll go to the movie very soon).
Ph.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  955 commentaires
60 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is not about the book, but about the Kindle edition 21 novembre 2010
Par Richard Barlow - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I give the book 5 stars, as I love the style & the humour. What I give 1 star is the Kindle edition compared to the printed book. Did this book not exist as an electronic file prior to the Kindle version? I find that hard to belive, but nevertheless, Amazon must have thought so because the Kindle edition has very obviously been scanned & OCR'd from the printed page, and the OCR software they used must have come from the same year when Stephenson wrote the book longhand on paper, apparently.

There are many, many OCR errors in the text, particularly misinterpretation of rn as m, which often makes non-words, or, worse, makes actual words which make no sense, or, even worse, makes actual words that change the meaning of a sentence and bring your reading to a grinding halt.

Amazon; if you must OCR books to Kindle, spare a few hours to proof-read them. This is my first bad Kindle experience. Very amateur electronic publishing job.
356 internautes sur 409 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 4 1/2 stars, really 30 avril 2001
Par Ken Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I came to _Snow Crash_ on the recommendation of a few people who had read it (they called it "great!" and "hilarious!," and knowing that Neal Stephenson is sometimes listed as a "cyberpunk" writer along with William Gibson et al.
I had liked William Gibson's books, so I gave _Snow Crash_ a try.
_Snow Crash_ is primarily about Hiro, a young man who delivers pizzas and collects information for the Central Intelligence Corporation (freelance), for a living. He lives in a storage unit with a cult-hero rockstar named Vitaly Chernobyl. He owns a futon, two awesome Japanese swords, and a laptop computer, where he stays "jacked in" to the "Metaverse" a lot of the time, where he is the world's greatest swordfighter.
Hiro witnesses a crime while interacting with others in the Metaverse. One of his friends is deliberately exposed to a dangerous block of text, which fries his brain (in the real world), and renders him a vegetable. Hiro and his friend Y.T. (15-year old skateboarding female, and knee-slappingly funny smartaleck) set off to find out why, and save the world in the process.
From the getgo this is a funny book. Sure, the vision of the near-future is dark, a little alarming, and at times depressing (there are NO general laws in _Snow Crash_, for example, and private corporations run everything, even the police, just as an example). That's what cyberpunk is like. But the HUMOR is one thing that sets Neal Stephenson aside. Hiro Protagonist? Come on, that's FUNNY, PEOPLE! One reviewer called it an 'odd' name. Yes, it's odd, and it's absurd, and it's funny! Did this author mean it is an unusual choice for a character name? I don't know. I hope not. It would be an odd choice for a character's name in a Jane Austen novel, sure. But this is cyberpunk, or something like it. Among this genre's leading inspirations are the works of Thomas Pynchon, and "Hiro Protagonist," as a character name, would fit in perfectly among his merry bands of misfits, especially in _V._ or _Gravity's Rainbow_.
Repeatedly reviewers are slamming Stephenson for his use of Sumerian myth, exploration of Sumerian culture, etc. in the book... calling it inaccurate, poorly connected to the rest of the story, and, (my personal least favorite), BORING. I tell you, besides the great sense of humor, the Sumerian-myth link is what sets this novel heads above so much other cyberpunk. I don't care if it's inaccurate (this is FICTION, see?). Stephenson "traces" computer/textual viruses and biological viruses quite nicely back to Sumerian times, and he links them to one another, biological virus to digital/informational virus (a debt to another pre-cyberpunk luminary, William Burroughs, who said "Word is Virus?")-- it's all very well connected to the metaverse/here-and-now portion of _Snow Crash_'s plot.
This is a funny, riproaring tale. I raced through this nearly 500-page paperback in half the time I read most books of this length. I enjoyed it beginning-to-end. My only complaint with the book was that, at times, it too much resembled a Hollywood action movie, what with all sorts of incredible stunts being performed, by boat drivers, skateboarders, swordsmen, etc.
I say, if you like William Gibson or Thomas Pynchon, or if any of this review makes _Snow Crash_ seem a bit appealing to you, give it a chance. I enjoyed it 10 times as much as I thought I would.
ken32
55 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm a victim... 16 avril 2001
Par Carl C. Nelson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
...of someone who took a previous reviewer's advice to have another buy the book, then lend it and be forced to buy another copy when it doesn't return!
From the opening description of Hiro Protagonist (the main character--couldn't you tell?), I was caught by the irony, sarcasm, wit, and sheer fun with the English language that Neal Stephenson has in his repertoire. Snow Crash is gutsy, innovative, witty, and fun. It rewards anyone who churn out code for a living. Anyone who wonders what happens to our brains with all the advertising thrown at us. Anyone who is tired of the same old science fiction. Anyone who has wondered if the Tower of Babel story, combined with Sumerian mythos, would make a good computer-age read... the answer is yes.
It's almost impossible to review a cyberpunk book without comparing it to uberauthor William Gibson's works. I find Gibson to be cooly intellectual, reserved, methodical--a great read for a day when I'm ready to think hard. Stephenson is white-hot, down and dirty, in the trenches, while not losing touch with the thoughtfulness and underlying structure that makes Gibson satisfying.
114 internautes sur 130 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Control Alt Delete Restart 17 juillet 2001
Par taking a rest - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
To the extent that a book can be described as original, "Snow Crash", by Neal Stephenson is deserving of the moniker. About the only common ground that his work shares with others is that ink is applied to paper using the same letters, and then pages are bound to create a book. Much beyond that and you are in the midst of this Author's view of a given world he has modified and created. He is not only incredibly unique; his wit passes the cutting edge to the bleeding edge of razor sharp sarcasm, and irony. And when he uses words he assembles them in arrangements you have never listened to before. An important aspect that sets his work apart in this genre is that while delivering enormous amounts of information, he keeps the reader informed, he does not lose you, he ensures you stay with his wickedly fast pace by keeping you educated. Other Authors of Science Fiction are weak on this point, and it weakens their books.
One date to remember when reading this work is that it was first released in June of 1992 after three years in the making. This is critical, as so much of what was absolute fiction then, may now be found within the pages of Wired Magazine. There are even words he originated that are common to most people who use a computer, especially if you have ever tried what he calls the Metaverse, touring it as an Avatar.
One of the reasons his work is so authentic and exceptionally good is that he knows his material. If he talks about code he's qualified, as he has written it. When he is speaking of Sumerian Mythology an Author who spent years researching his material is again relating it. And when he just lets go with dialogue or descriptive prose it is mind binding for being clever, unique, and hilarious. He also has raised sardonic prose to an art form. If he were any less a craftsman, a main character named Hiro Protagonist that at one point delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizzeria, would be moronic.
Technology, a version of what today's society might look like one day, viruses that share traits whether attacking a human or a silicon life form, the origins of language based on Biblical text, it just never stops. He is an extraordinary artist who chooses to express his art through words. It is a unique ride if you have yet to take it, and one that you will never forget.
74 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Mixed bag. 26 juin 2001
Par Asthenia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Snow Crash: The idea of a virus being both biological and technological. Intriguing concept - but its explanation, rooted in Sumerian myth, comes off as if the author knows way too much about the subject and couldn't make it accessible to his audience (but read the novel's acknowledgments to find out the truth). For the most part, explanations involving the application of Sumerian myth to the novel's conflict take part in long, involved passages, which equate to Hiro Protagonist having long, involved conversations with a computer program. This literary set-up smacks of Stephenson researching Sumerian mythology, and rehashing conversations that he might have had with experts on the subject. It is rather clumsy: The reader will cruise along Stephenson's action-packed, cyberpunky adventure, then suddenly hit a chapter that explains why it is all happening. Kind of like the bad guy telling you his plan before he executes you: It's not subtle. An essay on the possibility of verbal viruses - condensed from explanations in the novel - would be an enjoyable read.
On the other hand, Stephenson is at his best when he dabbles in cyberpunk pursuits rather than scholarly ones. The idea of 'franchulates', corporate ownership, and religious fanaticism tying together in the near-future is a common one (suggest reading Palahniuk's "Survivor") but pizza delivery and courier service are envisioned especially well [Stephenson takes skateboarding to an entirely new level]. Snow Crash is full of puns, and bits of irony and wit, which shouldn't be overlooked.
Although Hiro renders avatars with the greatest of ease in the Metaverse, Stephenson's main characters are a bit flimsy - on the whole, they give off the impression there was a labored attempt to make them three-dimensional. Or: Characters may be introduced once, serve a purpose, then simply fade away or are very conveniently disposed of. The characters are loosely tied together - or just ridiculously (read: the protagonist and his nemesis share a rather unlikely connection). Characters - especially secondary characters, which there are (in my opinion) far too many of them - also tend to come off as stereotypes: hero, nemesis, love interest, boss, fiesty girl, brooding sniper.
The novel's structure is a bit disjointed and unbalanced. There are many loose ends. The first few chapters are unique; the ending is contrived.
(Alternative title that involves harpooning - since Snow Crash seeks to tackle many varied subjects, including references to Moby Dick: Ahab's Wife.)
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