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    Review of SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson (see his website)

    Bantam, 1992

    Hiro Protagonist is a swordsman, hacker, and pizza delivery person. But when one of his friends and fellow hackers is attacked by a computer virus that latches onto his mind and sends him into a catatonic trance, Hiro knows he's discovered something important--something that just might be the most important thing ever. With occasional help from Y. T., teenage scateboard courier, and with an occasional alliance with the Mafia and a new version of Hong Kong, Hiro must face an ancient threat that goes back to the time of Sumeria.

    Author Neal Stephenson (see more reviews of novels by Stephenson) writes a prophetic warning of a near-future earth where states have largely faded away, being replaced by corporate franchises. Freelance computer hackers have been largely replaced by corporate software teams, and many people spend their lives in three-dimensional virtual reality.

    The power of SNOW CRASH comes from Stephenson's strong combination of action, connvincing analysis of technology and social directions, and a fascinating look at the history of religion and the past. What if, Stephenson asks, the Biblical story of the tower of Babel were literally true? What if a true language underlies the ordinary languages of humanity--a language that is hardwired to our thought processes and that, if accessed, could control thought?

    Although some of the forecasts in SNOW CRASH now appear outdated, I am impressed both by how well Stephenson forecast technological progress and how he created a convincing social and political world. SNOW CRASH is a must-read for the serious SF fan.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 11/19/05

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