by Neal Stephenson
Published in June 1992
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Snow Crash is a fascinating depiction of life in an anarcho-capitalist world, although it can be tacky at times.
The premise is that, after a wave of hyperinflation, the US government was forced to privatize all of its assets. The result is an anarcho-capitalist world where small enclaves and micro-governments have parceled out America.
The setting of Snow Crash is really interesting - I absolutely loved reading about the numerous factions and corporations that have replaced the government. I especially liked that the depiction of these groups was generally positive rather than negative, but didn’t hesitate to highlight potential flaws. The early 2010s technology, as imagined by the author in 1992, was also really interesting. The plot is very interesting, and has fascinating religious overtones.
However, this book falls short in many ways. It is full of corny action. The hero, called Hero, fights using Katanas. None of the characters are particularly interesting, and they all could be considered “Mary Sues” (even the male ones). There is a cringy sex scene, however that cringe doesn’t come near to the cringe of the even worse action scenes.
If this book hadn’t had such an interesting setting, I would have given it a much lower score - probably a 2 or a 3. I don’t really recommend reading this book for the plot, but instead for the universe. I will check out Diamond Age, the sequel, at some point in the future.
This is a book which will have a lot of interesting elements for anarchists, but doesn’t have much appeal for the general population that isn’t interested in anarchism.
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