‘Snow Crash’ A Cyberpunk Classic
Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is the most popular sci-fi book of all time, and with William Gibson Neuromancer it stands as a fundamental text of the cyberpunk movement. Author of science fiction Anthony Ha fired at Snow Crash when he first read it in the late 90s.
“This is a time where there are some poor representations of virtual reality in movies and TV,” Ha said in Episode 487 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast “That’s not it Snow Crash was the first time I knew such kind of iconography, but it was the first time it was as cool. ”
Snow Crash tells the story of Hiro Protagonist, a hacker with a katana who leaps between dystopian Los Angeles and a virtual world called Metaverse. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley noted that the novel inspired countless entrepreneurs and inventors, including John Carmack, Reid Hoffman, and Palmer Luckey. “I started making a list of everything in Silicon Valley that was cited in this work that inspired them,” Kirtley said, “and I just stopped at a certain point, because that’s all it’s all about.”
Snow Crash still as fun and stylish at first, but some parts of the book aren’t well dated. Professor of science fiction Lisa Yaszek says that from a 2021 perspective, the book has some racial and gender weaknesses. “If you’re someone who wants to know about the history and development of cyberpunk, I think I still think it’s an important book, because it’s an important intervention,” he said. “This is the hour before cyberpunk has become a global mode of expression, where everything different from people – writers of color, LGBTQ + writers – will start using it.”
Author of science fiction Sam J. Miller noticed that the characters in Snow Crash also feels a little thin, to the extent that a robot guard dog named Rat Thing stands out as one of the best characters in the book. “In a lot of ways I think Rat Thing could be the character closest to having a heart, and an emotional arc, and that really made me feel things,” Miller said. “Like everyone else, they have three pairs of sunglasses that they’re so cool.”
Listen to the full interview with Anthony Ha, Lisa Yaszek, and Sam J. Miller in Episode 487 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.
David Barr Kirtley on character development:
“Hiro seems to be interesting, and he has this interesting background with his parents, and YT has this relationship with his mom. But I feel like continuing the character development book is a kind of fall. We’ve never seen much of Juanita or Da5id – I mean, she’s a coma but she can get out of here.There are a lot of characters and a lot of combinations, and it’s done, it’s really complicated.Everything is cool, everything is in it book is much cooler, but I feel like it is described [was lacking]. There are no emotional exhaustions or moments that are truly heartfelt, or people regretting or anything like that. It really felt on the face. ”
Anthony Ha in the backstory:
“The problem is that if you read the book for the plot, the [backstory] It becomes a distraction, where in key, climate seasons, Hiro suddenly returns to the library and talks about [ancient Sumeria] with the librarian when he was about to have another sword fight or something like that. So especially on first reading, especially if you’re younger, I think your foot is just a tickle like, ‘Why am I reading this?’ … It’s cool MacGuffin for the story, it’s interesting to know Sumerian mythology, but there are times when it feels like too many words for Stephenson to just say, ‘Man, isn’t the language just like a virus? Isn’t that cool? ‘And I was like,’ It’s cool, but it’s not any amount of a lot of words. ‘ ”
Sam J. Miller of floating towns:
“One of the things I did before I wrote City of Blackfish I visited – in Cambodia – a community of people primarily Vietnamese refugees, which is actually a floating community. They have a church, and a school, and all these things float, and they have a convenience store that sells lotto tickets and gasoline, and they have crocodile farms. It’s weird, and it’s even more pathetic, and not a high standard of living. In large part they are there because their ability to live on the land – due to immigration issues – is limited. [Floating cities] It’s a cool idea, but I think in practice it’s a kind of scenario that only develops by necessity, and probably not very well. ”
Lisa Yaszek on economics:
“What’s interesting is the use that people put in the virus, which is the right bodies for making products that don’t go into the bodies themselves. [Snow Crash] thinking about work is like thinking about language, and that’s the part of it that I find interesting. … In many ways I think this is an answer William Gibson. I like it because I’m a sucker for utopian thinking, but I think Gibson has always been disrespectful about the ability of injured communities to resist mixing and destruction through promissory partnership with capitalism. . I think about what this book does, and what I like, so it explores what it can do-can you not understand the nets of capitalism or not? ”