Snow Crash
…condensing fact from the vapor of nuance.

Fact: the last book I read took me more than a year. After completing Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon last June, I decided to backtrack in his catalogue to read his cyberpunk classic, Snow Crash. Problem is, if it’sn’t on a moving screen, I tend to lack the ability to focus. By sheer will and determination, I was able to overcome this obstacle. I’m going places!

Like Cryptonomicon, seemingly every character is a quick-lipped bad-ass to the nth degree. You can tell it was written by a massive nerd for all the godlike abilities they possess, although it does poke fun at genre; mainly by calling the main character Hiro Protagonist. For being printed in 1992, its depiction of virtual reality (sorry, “Metaverse”) has a fair amount of accuracy when compared to modern MMORPG interactions. Of course, the holograms and private corporation Big Brother technology haven’t come to fruition yet in mass production, but it’s an interesting intellectual exercise to think about how this would affect how information flows in the future.

Somehow, he attempts to parallel ancient mythologies to the shift in modern man’s consciousness during the information age, which became a bit more fun (and confusing) when mixed together with a viewing of Francis Ford Coppola’s latest film, Youth Without Youth. The book does get complex when the names of mythological deities are thrown about as if they were common English verbs. A Mesopotamian mythology cue card cheat sheet might be handy when it comes to interpreting just exactly what analogy the characters are attempting to express.

Beyond all the silly high thought process nonsense, I must say that Neil Stephenson sure loves his sexual innuendo metaphors. One of the main characters is a fifteen year old girl that acts as a courier making quick deliveries by attaching a magnetic harpoon to cars to street surf in a process called “pooning”. Then there are gems such as:

“…shopping carts performing their clashy anal copulations.”

“…a vast U-shaped valley that was ground out of the rock, a long time ago, by a big tongue of ice in an epochal period of geological cunnilingus.”

Nerd.

My favourite idea in the book is likely the ruthless kayaking supervillian that has a H-bomb always to the immediate side, connected to his brain activity with a mechanism that’s set to trigger a ginormous explosion at the immediate absence of a signal. How’s that for a God complex? Think last season’s Lost’s finale gone extreme. Via kayak.

Now I’m a third of the way through Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.