It took me a while to get into this story because “The Deliverator” didn’t intrigue me but after a few chapters I was hooked. Stephenson wrote a creative satire about the Internet 19 years ago and yet it’s as if he was talking about the virtual world (Metaverse) of Second Life (SL) before it existed. Wonder if the creators of SL read Snow Crash?
It’s easy to identify with many of the analogies Stephenson uses, such as between Snow Crash (the virus) and drugs; Kouriers and couriers; franchising and mafia; cult/mega church and religion; knowledge keeper and the Librarian just to name a few.
The events Stephenson mashes together and the tongue-in-cheek descriptions are brilliant. In recent years the term “geek” has taken on a positive meaning and “hacker” is an awesome geek so the hero of the story is appropriately Hiro the hacker.
There was some comments by Hiro when he was appearing in the Metaverse as black and white pixels how no one would want to talk to him because he wouldn’t seem like he knew how to create high resolution avatars. At least that was my take on it. This is similar in SL when a new avatar is created using the free avatars it is not apparent to the person new to SL but diehard users immediately judge a person’s experience by their avatar’s appearance and actions. Who knew there are physical movements that can be purchased so an avatar moves more naturally?
Dark Angel was a television series that ran between 2000-2002 and was created by James Camerson and Charles H. Eglee. The main storyline is that Max was known as X5-452, a genetically enhanced super-soldier (Wikipedia), and Logan is a hacker. Snow Crash reminds me of that show with the addition of being in a virtual world. Good versus evil and all that stuff.
The feeling from reading “Snow Crash” is similar to the feeling of being in SL and interacting in a virtual environment. There have been many sci-fi books, movies, and television series depicting the world years into future. Snow Crash is no different except that the future is eerily similar to the virtual future that is now in SL and virtual reality games.
List of Dark Angel episodes. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 25, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dark_Angel_episodes
Stephenson, N. (1992). Snow crash. New York, NY: Bantam Dell.