Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

            What a treat!  This story was interesting due to Stephenson’s gritty description of the chaotic world our society has evolved in to.  I really enjoyed the conversations Hiro Protagonist (punny name) had with the librarian about the languages and religions.  Stephenson had to have really done some home work.  The thought of a inner language that is deep in us has crossed my mind once or twice while feeling the “oneness” effects of psychedelics.  The whole comparison of language as software and viruses to our computer brains was an interesting take that fit for a devout hacker like Hiro. 
            The characters and environment are very rich and appealing to me but the story is rather straight forward.  Some megalomaniac millionaire uses religion and drugs as a disguise for his world domination plot.  The only real difference was the scientific and historical explanations that made incantations seem plausible.  There was never really a point in the reading where I was shocked at a turn of events.  It has a high-speed-thrill-ride feel that keeps you going as you bounce between Y.T. and Hiro.
            I’ve been thinking about science fiction as a whole lately after we read that parasite worm story by Octavia Butler in class.  I think science fiction is an excellent genre to showcase present problems with metaphor or allegory.  I think readers can be more objective in their views because the situations are far off, fictional, and exaggerated.  It is much harder to be objective about dilemmas when you are directly involved with emotions and welfare muddying up thinking.  I’m not sure exactly what the human condition is but I think it impedes here.  This is basically a long-winded description of my thoughts as I break it all down in my head.  What I’m trying to describe is probably already known as satire.  The use of satire in science fiction has been made well known by Kurt Vonnegut.  I suppose it is rather fitting I mention him while I am just babbling on about this because his writing often feels like a tsunami of thoughts on paper.
            I haven’t figured out what social issue Stephenson is trying to depict through Snow Crash.  I find the drastic difference in social class to be interesting.  Pristine, guarded burbclaves and dismal shopping center ghettos.  Both ends of the spectrum are described in a negative and sarcastic manner so it is hard to identify any side Stephenson is taking.  He could even be trying to discuss religious topics.  Nothing seemed to distinctly stand out.  It was all a blur of poverty, awesome weapons, neon lights and air pollution I also enjoy how a mafia boss can be such a beloved hero and member of the community.  I hated how the Fido died.  Fido was so pure. 

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