A Comment On Snow Crash

Snow CrashSnow Crash by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I re-read this last June and couldn’t shake my first reading from many years ago — to me Snow Crash is still a comic book pretending to be a novel.

As cyberpunk worlds go this one is very influential and in some places garishly brilliant but the overachieving, desperate cleverness at the heart of this book really got in the way of characters I wanted to like.

One comment on Gibson’s Neuromancer that I think haunted its success was some critics pointed out that the plot evaporates, that it doesn’t come to a pointed ending. I used to kind of agree but the intense gorgeousness of the world and the language were so strong I didn’t care.

After revisiting Stephenson’s forced plot (wait, Hiro’s father was..?) and over-explained motivations (library scene!) I’m kinda looking at Gibson’s approach as a feature not a defect. I have to wonder if Stephenson had the Neuromancer critique in his head all along.

No, I don’t believe the world has square corners with a bow on top. There are layers, and a novel should have humility to find its place in those layers and not feel like it needs to wrap everything up. Even a made up crazy world needs mystery at the edges. Especially a made up crazy world.

I think I need to find time to check in with my old friends Case and Molly..

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