Last week I finished reading Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It’s not the sort of thing I usually go for but it was a lot of fun. It’s set in an alternate America in which there are no laws and the Federal government is relatively powerless – it merely exists, without any apparent purpose – and corporations, churches, neighborhoods and other organizations operate as separate nations. It’s tempting to try to find some kind of political statement in this, and perhaps there is one, but, in my opinion, the silliness of the name of the main character, Hiro Protagonist, should serve as a clue that none of this should be taken too seriously.
Hiro and friends are trying to chase down the person or persons responsible for Snow Crash, which is both a drug and a computer virus. Like other Stephenson novels that I have read, there’s so much going on in this book I almost forget that there is a story. It sometimes seems like just a lot of characters doing wild and crazy stuff, like riding skateboards in traffic and slicing each other up with swords in the “Metaverse” and working with the Mafia which, in this book, is as legal as any corporation. But it all does come together in the end and leaves the reader both satisfied and wanting more.
Snow Crash was originally published in 1992. This is apparent only by the curious lack of cell phones. At one point one of the characters has to look for a phone both. How times have changed in 20 years!