Neal Stephenson employs multi-dimensional viewpoints to create his science fiction story in Snow Crash. It is a panorama of technology, politics, knowledge, history, legend, and time. Each dimension has a meaning or a message to the readers. The present is the extension of the past. Therefore, the future most likely will be an extension of the present. There are many incidents and facts that could be considered forgotten. However, the future could tell us they are not. They were just narcotic and could be awake at any time.
The time dimension
The plot of Snow Crash happens in the future. The time dimension adds all aspects of prediction and imaginations which is the merit of science fiction stories. Scientifically, it is possible that science fiction authors predicting the real future. However, it is laughable to watch some old science fiction movies; they are really away of our reality nowadays. Nevertheless, Snow Crash is predicting possible evolution of the internet and computer games which can be seen in practice.
Technological dimension
Snow Crash has predicted the evolution of the Internet and Computer game in the current time. It is considered as the inspiration of “Avatar” which is the accepted use term currently. The Metaverse in Snow Crash is the evolved Internet where users control Avatars and interact in the virtual space but with real effects on their real word. Thus the battle in Mataverse between hackers is not just a game; it is a real war between living people. The interesting thing in Snow Crash is that people could be addicted or affected by electronic drugs and viruses. Also, the technological dimension reduces the space dimension in the immersive 3D virtual space. Ironically, this is not a prediction; we live in a world that already has compact the space dimension by the Internet.
The political dimension
Talking about the political dimension leads to Foucault and the governmentality. As Foucault thought, governmentality is a complex process that shapes the relationship between the state and its populations through different institutions. These institutions are the results of the history of governments, which assume to apply the perfect way of controlling the state with active citizens by the use of acceptable rules in a mutual relationship (Lemke, 2009). In Snow Crash, the future led to the end of governmental power where individual sovereignty and private organizations control the society but negatively with drugs mafias and hackers fights.
Linguistic dimension
Most languages are available in the Internet. In Snow Crash there is a linguistic dimension used to make language as a weapon. Through battles between hackers who are experts in programming languages, the protagonist and his linguistic ex-girlfriend discover the powerful Ur-language. It is a programming language used in ancient time but based on the legend of Sumerian language. The use of languages in Snow Crash is a sign of the power of knowledge. It is an improvement that technology cannot substitute human basic knowledge no matter what technology would change or achieve.
Legendary dimension
Stephenson used the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel as a legendary dimension to connect the future with the past. Human history is full of mysterious legends with secrets and unexpected facts. It is still possible to discover some of their secrets to make big changes and evolution in our life. In fact, no one knows what real connections between past and future could be revealed. However, it is a wise to look to the future based on the past.
Historical dimension
It was obvious that Snow Crash used the close history in addition of ancient history to take advantage of the historical dimension. The history of World War II exists where Raven tries to take the Japanese revenge of the U.S regarding what American forces have done in Aleutian Islands Campaign. It is not necessary that Stephenson intentionally mean it, but there is a message in Snow Crash that new generations on this Earth will not forget the history of their ancestors. Unsurprisingly, they will reconsider and act upon the history.
In my point of view, Snow Crash has a message that human beings are responsible about their future. We are definitely drawing and deciding how the upcoming generation would live on this Earth. We keep developing our technology unlimitedly. Thus, we have to take a moment to think about results before reaching the point of no return.
Reference
Lemke, T. (2009). Foucault, governmentality, and critique: Paradigm Publishers.

Advertisements