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Encyclopedia > Snow Crash
Snow Crash

U.S. version cover shot, illustrated by Bruce Jensen.
Author Neal Stephenson
Cover artist Bruce Jensen
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher Bantam Books (USA)
Publication date June 1992
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 480 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-553-08853-X (first edition, hardback)

Snow Crash is Neal Stephenson's third science fiction novel, published in 1992. It follows in the footsteps of cyberpunk novels by authors like William Gibson and Rudy Rucker, but breaks away from this tradition by having a heavy dose of satire and black humor. Download high resolution version (476x800, 142 KB)Snow Crash book cover. ... Bruce Jensen is an illustrator who has created book covers for the novels of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Charles Sheffield, Joe Haldeman and Linda Nagata. ... Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known primarily for his science fiction works in the postcyberpunk genre with a penchant for explorations of society, mathematics, currency, and the history of science. ... Bruce Jensen is an illustrator who has created book covers for the novels of authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson, Charles Sheffield, Joe Haldeman and Linda Nagata. ... In political geography and international politics, a country is a political division of a geographical entity, a sovereign territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation and government. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Some notable science fiction novels, in alphabetical order by title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke 334 by Thomas M. Disch An Age by Brian Aldiss The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Bantam Books (established 1945), owned by Random House, is a member of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique[1] commercial book identifier barcode. ... Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known primarily for his science fiction works in the postcyberpunk genre with a penchant for explorations of society, mathematics, currency, and the history of science. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... Berlins Sony Center reflects the global reach of a Japanese corporation. ... William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948), Conway, South Carolina) is an American-born science fiction author who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, partly due to coining the term cyberspace in 1982,[5] and partly because of the success of his first novel... Rudy Rucker, Fall 2004, photo by Georgia Rucker. ... 1867 edition of the satirical magazine Punch, a British satirical magazine, ground-breaking on popular literature satire. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Like many postmodernist novels, Snow Crash has a unique style and a chaotic structure that might confuse readers unfamiliar with the genre. It contains many arcane references to history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, geography and philosophy, which may inspire readers to explore these topics further, or at least consult relevant reference works. Set in a world with a political-economic system that has been radically transformed, the novel examines religion along with its social importance, perception of reality versus virtual reality, and the violent and physical nature of humanity. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... HIStory - Past, Present and Future, Book I is a double-disc album (one half greatest hits, one half studio album) by American musician Michael Jackson released in June of 1995 by the Epic Records division of Sony BMG. The first disc, (HIStory Begins) contains fifteen hit singles from the past... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the comparative study of the physical and social characteristics of humanity through the examination of historical and present geographical distribution, cultural history, acculturation, and cultural relationships. ... Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek: αρχαίος, archaios, combining form in Latin archae-, ancient; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... Virtual reality (VR) is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined one. ...


Stephenson explains the title of the novel in his 1999 essay In the Beginning...was the Command Line as the term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. About the Macintosh, Stephenson wrote that "when the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television set — a 'snow crash.'" Year 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1999 Gregorian calendar). ... In the Beginning. ... A failure mode is a characterization of the way a product or process fails. ... The first Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, upgraded to a 512K Fat Mac. The Macintosh or Mac, is a line of personal computers designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed by Apple Computer. ...

Contents

Background

The story takes place in the former United States during the early 21st century. In this hypothetical future reality, the United States Federal Government has ceded most of its power to private organizations and entrepreneurs[1]. Mercenary armies compete for national defense contracts, and private security guards preserve the peace in gated, sovereign housing developments. Highway companies compete to attract drivers to their roads rather than the competitors', and all mail deliveries are done by hired couriers. The remnants of the government maintain authority only in isolated compounds, where it transacts business that is by and large irrelevant to the booming, dynamic society around it.


Much of the territory ceded by the government has been carved up into a huge number of sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise (such as "Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong") or the various residential burbclaves (suburb enclaves). This arrangement bears a similarity to anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age. Hyperinflation has devalued the dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills, Ed Meeses, are little regarded and the quadrillion dollar note, a Gipper, is the standard 'small' bill. For physical transactions, people resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies like yen or "Kongbucks" (the official currency of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Big business is usually used as a pejorative reference to the significant economic and political power which large and powerful corporations (especially multinational corporations), are capable of wielding. ... Franchising (from the French for honesty or freedom[1]) is a method of doing business wherein a franchisor licenses trademarks and tried and proven methods of doing business to a franchisee in exchange for a recurring payment, and usually a percentage piece of gross sales or gross profits as well... Anarcho-capitalism refers to an anti-statist philosophy that embraces capitalism as one of its foundational principles. ... The Diamond Age or, A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer is a postcyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. ... Certain figures in this article use scientific notation for readability. ... This list compares various sizes of positive numbers, including counts of things, dimensionless numbers and probabilities. ... Edwin Meese III Edwin Ed Meese III (born December 2, 1931 in Oakland, California) served as the seventy-fifth Attorney General of the United States (1985-1988). ... This list compares various sizes of positive numbers, including counts of things, dimensionless numbers and probabilities. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the fortieth President of the United States (1981 – 1989) and the thirty-third Governor of California (1967 – 1975). ... Japanese 10 yen coin (obverse) showing Phoenix Hall of Byodoin Yen is the currency used in Japan. ...


The Metaverse, a phrase coined by Stephenson as a successor to the Internet, constitutes Stephenson's vision of how a virtual reality-based Internet might evolve in the near future. Although there are public-access Metaverse terminals in Reality, using them carries a social stigma among Metaverse denizens, in part because of the poor visual representations of themselves via low-quality avatars. In the Metaverse, status is a function of two things: access to restricted environments such as the Black Sun, an exclusive Metaverse club, and technical acumen, which is often demonstrated by the sophistication of one's avatar. The term metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, and is now widely used to describe the vision behind current work on fully immersive 3D virtual spaces. ... Virtual reality (VR) is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined one. ... A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system. ... Example of an avatar as used on internet forums. ...


Plot summary and major themes

Snow Crash, UK version cover shot
Snow Crash, UK version cover shot

The hero and protagonist whose story the book follows is the aptly-named Hiro Protagonist: "Last of the freelance hackers and Greatest swordfighter in the world" (according to his business card). When Hiro loses his job as a pizza delivery driver for the Mafia, he meets a streetwise young girl nicknamed Y.T. (short for Yours Truly), who works as a skateboard "Kourier", and they decide to become partners in the intelligence business. The setting is a near-future version of Los Angeles, where franchising, individual sovereignty and automobiles reign supreme (along with drug trafficking, violent crime, and traffic congestion). Image File history File links Snowcrash-book-cover-uk. ... Image File history File links Snowcrash-book-cover-uk. ... “Heroine” redirects here. ... A protagonist is the main figure of a piece of literature or drama and has the main part or role. ... For other uses, see Hacker (disambiguation). ... Swordsman redirects here. ... Pizza box redirects here. ... The term Mafia (sometimes referred to as Cosa Nostra, Mafioso, or Black Hand, there are differences), refers to Italian criminal secret societies which developed in Sicily most notably developed in the mid-19th century. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A courier is a person or company employed to deliver messages, packages and mail. ... Intelligence (abbreviated or ) is the process and the result of gathering information and analyzing it to answer questions or obtain advance warnings needed to plan for the future. ... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... Self-ownership (also Sovereignty of the individual) is the condition where an individual has the exclusive moral or legal right to control his own body. ... Car redirects here. ... Retail selling Street selling is the bottom of the chain and can be accomplished through purchasing from prostitutes, through cloaked retail stores or refuse houses for users in the act located in red-light districts which often also deal in paraphernalia, dealers marketing merriment at night clubs and other events... A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens violent force upon the victim. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ...


The pair soon learn of a dangerous new drug called "Snow Crash", which is both a computer virus capable of infecting the brains of unwary hackers in the Metaverse, and a mind-altering virus in Reality, being distributed by a network of Pentecostal churches via its infrastructure and belief system. As Hiro and Y.T. dig deeper (or are drawn in), they discover more about Snow Crash and its connection to ancient Sumerian culture, the fiber-optics monopolist L. Bob Rife and his enormous Raft of refugee boat people who speak in tongues, and an Aleut harpooner named Raven, whose motorcycle packs a nuke triggered by a type of dead man's switch called a "fail deadly". The Snow Crash meta-virus may be characterized as an extremely aggressive meme. A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. ... The Pentecostal movement within Evangelical Christianity places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost. ... Sumer (or Å umer) was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in the southern part of Mesopotamia (southeastern Iran) from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term Sumerian applies... Optical fibers An optical fiber (or fibre) is a glass or plastic fiber designed to guide light along its length by confining as much light as possible in a propagating form. ... A monopoly (from the Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service, in other words a firm that has no competitors in its industry. ... This article is about asylum seekers travelling by boat, and also about films concerning them. ... Tongues redirects here. ... The Aleuts (self-denomination: Unangax, Unangan or Unanga) are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, U.S.A. and Chukotka, Russia. ... For other uses, see Harpoon (disambiguation) Harpoon gun redirects here. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter. ... A dead mans switch (for other names, see Alternative names), as its name suggests, is a device intended to stop a machine in case the human operator becomes incapacitated, and is a form of fail-safe. ... Fail Deadly is a concept in military strategy which encourages deterrence by guaranteeing an immediate, automatic and overwhelming response to an attack. ... It has been suggested that Memetics be merged into this article or section. ...


Stephenson takes the reader on a tour of the mythology of ancient Sumeria, while his characters theorize upon the origin of languages and their relationship to the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. Asherah is portrayed as a deadly biological and verbal virus that was stopped in Ancient Sumer by the God Enki. In order to do that, Enki deployed a countermeasure that was later described as the Tower of Babel. The book also reflects ideas from Julian Jaynes's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976). Mesopotamian mythology is the collective name given to Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Babylonian mythologies from the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq. ... The origin of language (glottogony) is a topic that has attracted considerable speculation throughout human history. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865), who based his conception on the Minaret of Samarra According to the narrative in Genesis Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel was a tower built to reach the heavens by a united humanity. ... It has been suggested that Asherah pole be merged into this article or section. ... Groups I: dsDNA viruses II: ssDNA viruses III: dsRNA viruses IV: (+)ssRNA viruses V: (-)ssRNA viruses VI: ssRNA-RT viruses VII: dsDNA-RT viruses A virus (from the Latin noun virus, meaning toxin or poison) is a microscopic particle (ranging in size from 20 - 300 nm) that can infect the... Enki (DEN.KI(G)) was a deity in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Babylonian mythology, originally chief god of the city of Eridu. ... Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865), who based his conception on the Minaret of Samarra According to the narrative in Genesis Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel was a tower built to reach the heavens by a united humanity. ... Julian Jaynes Julian Jaynes (February 27, 1920 - November 21, 1997) was an American psychologist, best known for his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976), in which he argues that ancient peoples were not conscious as we consider the term today, and that the... The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976) is a controversial work of popular psychology by Julian Jaynes in which he proposes that consciousness emerged relatively recently in human history. ... Year 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The characters speculate that early Sumerian culture used a primordial language which could be interpreted by human beings through the deep structures of the brain, rendering the learning of what he refers to as "acquired languages" needless. This theoretical language is related to glossolalia — also known as the phenomenon of "speaking in tongues" — stating that the babbling of glossolalia is in truth a truncated form of the primordial language. A comparison is made to computers and their binary machine code, which exists on a much more basic level than, for example, the human-readable, high-level programming languages, and as such gives those with the ability to speak the language great power. Tongues redirects here. ... Babel (Hebrew: ; Bavel) (Arabic|بابل: Babel) is the name used in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran for the city of Babylon (Akkadian Babilu), notable in Genesis as the location of the Tower of Babel. ... The NASA Columbia Supercomputer. ... The binary numeral system, or base-2 number system, is a numeral system that represents numeric values using two symbols, usually 0 and 1. ...


In the Snow Crash interpretation of Sumerian mythology, the masses were controlled by means of verbal rules called me. The characters of Hiro and Lagos compare me to small pieces of software that could be interpreted by humans, and that contained information for specific tasks such as baking bread. Me were stored in a temple and their distribution was handled by a high priest, referred to as the en. Within this context, Enki was an en who had the ability to write new me, and is described as the primordial hacker. Also, the deuteronomists are supposed to have had an en of their own, and that kabbalistic sorcerers known as the Baalei Shem (masters of the name) could control the primordial tongue. Sumer (or Å umer) was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in the southern part of Mesopotamia (southeastern Iran) from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term Sumerian applies... The word mythology (from the Greek μυολογία mythología, from μυολογείν mythologein to relate myths, from μύος mythos, meaning a narrative, and λόγος logos, meaning speech or argument) literally means the (oral) retelling of myths – stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and... In Sumerian mythology, a me (Sumerian, (IPA: ) or Å‹e (IPA: ) or parsu (Akkadian) is one of the decrees of the gods foundational to those social institutions, religious practices, technologies, behaviors, mores, and human conditions that make civilization, as the Sumerians conceived of it, possible. ... Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ... Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. ... Temple of Hephaestus, an Doric Greek temple in Athens with the original entrance facing east, 449 BC (western face depicted) For other uses, see Temple (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Hacker (disambiguation). ... The Deuteronomist (D) is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the documentary hypothesis that treats the texts of Scripture as products of human intellect, working in time. ... The tree of life Kabbalah (קבלה Reception, Standard Hebrew Qabbala, Tiberian Hebrew Qabbālāh; also written variously as Cabala, Cabalah, Cabbala, Cabbalah, Kabala, Kabalah, Kabbala, Qabala, Qabalah) is a religious philosophical system claiming an insight into divine nature. ... otheruses|Magician}} The Enchanted Garden of Messer Ansaldo by Marie Spartali Stillman: a magician makes his garden bear fruit and flowers in winter. ... Baal Shem in Hebrew translates as Master of the Name, and is almost always used in reference to Israel ben Eliezer, the Rabbi who founded Hasidic Judaism and was called the Baal Shem Tov. ...


Me were erased from people's minds by a meta-virus (see the definition of meta-), a fact theoretically explaining the Tower of Babel myth. Enki then wrote a me called "The nam-shub of Enki", which had the effect of blocking the meta-virus from acting by preventing direct access to the primordial language, making the use of "acquired languages" necessary. The meta-virus did not disappear entirely, though, as the "Cult of Asherah" continued to spread it by means of cult prostitutes and infected women breast-feeding infants. This form of infection is compared to that of the herpes simplex virus or to the way religion is acquired. A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user. ... In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). ... Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré (1865), who based his conception on the Minaret of Samarra According to the narrative in Genesis Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel was a tower built to reach the heavens by a united humanity. ... It has been suggested that Asherah pole be merged into this article or section. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services (typically manual stimulation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anal sex) for cash or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ... A breastfeeding infant Breastfeeding is the practice of a woman feeding an infant (or sometimes a toddler or a young child) with milk produced from her mammary glands, usually directly from the nipples. ... This article is about the disease. ...


Important characters

Hiroaki "Hiro" Protagonist
As the name flippantly suggests, the hero of the novel, a hacker, swordsman, former Mafia-employed pizza delivery man. Hiro is broke in real life, but has extensive access to the Metaverse as one of its original developers.
Y.T. (Yours Truly)
A teenage skateboard-riding car-harpooning (or "pooning" as the book calls it) "Kourier" who helps Hiro investigate the mysterious meta-virus. She is Hiro's "partner" in information-gathering for the Central Intelligence Corporation.
Juanita Marquez
A computer hacker and a techno-mystic, Marquez was involved with Hiro Protagonist. She then left Hiro for his friend and rival, the phenomenally successful Da5id. After her marriage to the latter dissolved, she embarked on a quest to study the upcoming infocalypse. She becomes a key player in the race to avoid the twin threats of the meta-virus of Asherah and the nam-shub counter-virus of Enki.
Da5id Meier
Co-creator (with friend Hiro) of the elite Metaverse club The Black Sun. First victim of the Snow Crash virus shown in the book.
Dr. Emanuel Lagos
Researcher who discovered the Snow Crash meta-virus and told Rife about it. Developer of the Librarian, explained below. Introduced as a "gargoyle" - constantly wired into the Metaverse.
Uncle Enzo
Head of the American Mafia, which in this hypothetical future operates publicly and freely, and now runs legitimate enterprises such as the Nova Sicilia Inn, CosaNostra Pizza, and Our Thing Foundation.
The Librarian
A complex but non-sentient software application designed by Lagos. The Librarian's conversations serve as simple exposition, giving Hiro background information about Sumerian religion, Snow Crash, and previous research of other characters.
Mr. Lee
Head of Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong, a franchise that Hiro is a citizen of and that helps him out numerous times.
Mr. Ng
Head of Ng Security Industries, severely handicapped after a helicopter accident in Vietnam, maker of the security pitbull cyborgs commonly called Rat Things, and various other futuristic gadgets. Mr. Ng uses a heavily-armored vehicle modified from an airport fire engine as a "wheelchair."
Fido
One of the Rat Things, which are formerly-living dogs that have been turned into cyborgs. They are kept in "hutches" that provide them with nourishment and a virtual reality of "canine paradise." Though attack-programmed as guard dogs, they retain strong, warm memories of being real dogs. This is especially evident in the case of Fido, and it allows him to form a protective attachment to Y.T.
L. Bob Rife
All-around magnate, plies the seas in an aircraft carrier with a city's worth of people living in boats lashed to it — the Raft. He may be based on L. Ron Hubbard, Ted Turner or John C. Malone[citation needed]. At the time Snow Crash was written, Malone controlled TCI, then the largest cable company. Malone vigorously and successfully resisted government regulation of cable until consumer anger against rising cable rates forced Congress to pass the 1992 Cable Act.
Dmitri "Raven" Ravinoff
An Aleut native who works as a mercenary. His preferred weapons are glass knives — undetectable by security systems and reputed to be molecule-thin at the edges — and glass-tipped throwing spears. He travels on a motorcycle whose sidecar has been replaced with a hydrogen bomb that will automatically detonate if his brain ceases to emit electrical impulses. Raven has the phrase "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL" tattooed on his forehead, a sign of being arrested for some violent crime at least once in his life. His stated goal in life is to "nuke America." The combination of his fighting ability, conscienceless killing, and personal nuclear umbrella prompt Stephenson to refer to Raven in his introduction (and Hiro to observe later on) as "the baddest motherfucker in the world."
Reverend Wayne Bedford
Head of Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates franchise, a Pentecostal sect. The franchise is controlled by L. Bob Rife via his majority share in Pearlgate Associates.

A protagonist is the main figure of a piece of literature or drama and has the main part or role. ... “Heroine” redirects here. ... The term metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, and is now widely used to describe the vision behind current work on fully immersive 3D virtual spaces. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A courier is a person or company employed to deliver messages, packages and mail. ... The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence agency of the United States government. ... For other uses, see Hacker (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Asherah pole be merged into this article or section. ... In Sumerian and Akkadian mythology Asaruludu is one of the Anunnaku. ... Enki (DEN.KI(G)) was a deity in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Babylonian mythology, originally chief god of the city of Eridu. ... Charles Lucky Luciano, one of the most famous American bosses (La) Cosa Nostra (our thing or this thing of ours in Italian) is a worldwide alliance of criminals, linked through both familial and conspiratorial ties, that is dedicated to pursuing crime and protecting its members. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into articles entitled Exposition (plot device) and Plot dump . ... 李 Lǐ Li, Lee or Ly is a common transliteration of several Chinese family names, including that of 李 (pinyin Lǐ), the most common Chinese family name, and other less common surnames such as 黎 (Lí); 理 and 里 (both pronounced as Lǐ); 郦, (酈), 栗, 厉, (厲), and 利 (all pronounced as Lì). Calligraphically, Li (李) is the same character as... Ng is a Cantonese and Hakka transliteration of the Chinese surnames 吳/吴 (Pinyin: Wú) and 伍 (Pinyin: Wǔ), and Hokkien and Teochew transliteration of the Chinese surname 黃/黄 (Pinyin: Huáng). ... Fire Engine in South Bend, Indiana. ... A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i. ... Enterprise Logo The supercarrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), formerly CVA(N)-65, is the worlds first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. ... Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (13 March 1911 – 24 January 1986), better known as L. Ron Hubbard, was an American fiction writer,[1][2][3], former United States Navy officer and creator of Dianetics and founder of the Church of Scientology. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... John C. Malone is the current chairman of Liberty Media and graduate and philanthropist of Hopkins School. ... TCI may refer to the following: Tele-Communications Inc. ... The Aleuts (self-denomination: Unangax, Unangan or Unanga) are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, U.S.A. and Chukotka, Russia. ... In electron microscopy, glass knives are used to make the ultrathin sections needed for imaging. ... Deferred gratification or delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. ... The Pentecostal movement within Protestant Christianity places special emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. ...

Notable technologies

Reason

Within the Snow Crash universe, "Reason" is a multibarreled needlegun-style rail gun that fires small heavy fragments of depleted uranium at super high speeds that will penetrate nearly anything. An 1865 Gatling gun. ... A needlegun, also known as a needler, flechette gun or fletcher, is a firearm that fires small fin-stabilized, metal darts. ... A prototype railgun This article is about an electromagnetic projectile launcher. ... Hypervelocity is usually refered to a very high velocity, such as over 10,000 feet per second. ...


The name plate reads:

 REASON Version 1.0B7 Gatling type 3 mm hypervelocity railgun system Ng Security Industries, Inc. PRERELEASE VERSION-NOT FOR FIELD USE DO NOT TEST IN A POPULATED AREA -ULTIMA RATIO REGUM- 

Latin for "The Last Argument (or "reason") of Kings", the phrase Ultima Ratio Regum was engraved on all of Louis XIV's cannon (referred to in Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle). This simple label reflects the sentiment that ultimately, in the anarchical world of society between sovereigns, force is the final arbiter when parties cannot agree to adjudicate conflicts or contracts. // A railgun is a form of gun that converts electrical energy (rather than the more conventional chemical energy from an explosive propellant) into projectile kinetic energy. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ... This page lists direct English translations of common Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. ... “Sun King” redirects here. ... Not to be confused with Canon. ... The Baroque Cycle, a series of books written by Neal Stephenson, appeared in print in 2003 and 2004. ... In the realist theory of International Relations, the anarchical system that all states find themselves in is the lack of clear organisation of states into a hieracical order that is found within states. ... Sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise supreme political (e. ...


It shoots 3 mm depleted uranium fragments at very high velocities and a very rapid rate of fire. It is composed of several different pieces: A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... Depleted uranium storage yard. ...

  • A large, black, wheeled suitcase weighing somewhere over 300 pounds (140 kg). This contains the ammo for the weapon and becomes considerably lighter as it is used. It also has a control panel inside containing important information such as ammo left and the subsystem statuses.
  • A set of around two dozen 3 mm barrels around three feet (1 m) in length, attached together in a Gatling gun configuration. This is connected to the suitcase via a wrist-thick set of flexible cables and ammo feeds. These barrels spin so quickly when fired that they become a blur. The barrel system can be mounted to the firer's body to absorb the recoil.
  • A nuclear isotope power system that is cooled via a large chunk of heatsinks that glow white hot when in the open air. However, when submerged into a large body of water, it cools the system quite well. It is connected to the suitcase via a 3 in (75 mm) flexible cable.

The initial operating system needed a software patch, as it crashed in the field during Hiro and the Mafia's assault on the Raft. The weapon was new and had not yet been rigorously tested in the field. The pound (abbreviations: lb or, sometimes in the United States, #) is a unit of mass (called weight in everyday parlance) in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Control panel of the engines of the Clémenceau. ... In nuclear physics, a nuclear reaction is a process in which two nuclei or nuclear particles collide to produce products different from the initial particles. ... Isotopes are any of the several different forms of an element each having different atomic mass (mass number). ... A wall wart style variable DC power supply with its cover removed. ... A large copper heatsink. ... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... // An operating system (OS) is a set of computer programs that manage the hardware and software resources of a computer. ... In computing, a patch is a small piece of software designed to update or fix problems with a computer program or its supporting data. ...


Literary significance and criticism

Snow Crash rocketed to the top of the fiction best-seller charts upon its publication and established Stephenson as a major science fiction writer of the 1990s. The book appeared on Time magazine's list of 100 all-time best English-language novels written since 1923.[2] A bestseller is a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on a list of top-sellers. ... Time (whose trademark is capitalized TIME) is a weekly American newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. ...


In his book The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History, Walter Benn Michaels considers the deeper theoretical implications of Stephenson's text. Comparing the book with a range of contemporary writers — the fiction of Bret Easton Ellis, Kathy Acker, Octavia Butler, and even Paul de Man and the literary criticism of Richard Rorty — Michaels criticizes the deep claims of Stephenson's text; "And yet, in Snow Crash, the bodies of humans are affected by "information" they can't read; the virus, like the icepick [a reference to an incident in American Psycho], gets the words inside you even if you haven't read them."[3]. Michaels especially targets Stephenson's view that "languages are codes", rather than a grouping of letters and sounds to be interpreted. Michaels further contends that this basic idea of language as code ("...a good deal of Snow Crash's plot depends upon eliding the distinction between hackers and their computers, as if - indeed, in the novel, just because - looking at code will do to the hacker what receiving it will do to the computer"[4]) aligns Stephenson, along with other writers mentioned, with a racially motivated view of culture: that culture is something transmitted and stored by blood (or genetic codes), and not by beliefs and practices. This view entails little to no need for interpretation by people: Walter Benn Michaels is a literary theorist, known as the author of Our America: Nativism, Modernism and Pluralism (1995) and The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History (2004). ... Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American author. ... Kathy Acker (18 April 1947 in Manhattan—30 November 1997 in Tijuana, Mexico) was an experimental novelist, prose stylist, playwright, essayist, poète maudit and sex-positive feminist writer. ... Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 — February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, one of very few African-American women in the field. ... Paul de Man (December 6, 1919 – December 21, 1983) was a Belgian-born deconstructionist literary critic and theorist. ... Richard McKay Rorty (October 4, 1931 in New York City – June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ... American Psycho is a 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. ...

"The body that is infected by a virus does not become infected because it understands the virus any more than the body that does not become infected misunderstands the virus. So a world in which everything - from bitmaps to blood - can be understood as a "form of speech" is also a world in which nothing actually is understood, a world in which what a speech act does is disconnected from what it means."[5]

Rorty's Achieving Our Country uses Snow Crash as an example of modern culture that "express the loss of what he [Rorty] calls "national hope"...the problem with Snow Crash is not that it isn't true - after all, it's a story - but that it isn't inspirational."[6] This lack of inspiration is offset by something else Snow Crash and other works like it offer: "These books produce in their readers the "state of soul" that Rorty calls "knowingness," which he glosses as a "preference for knowledge over hope" (37)"[6]; this preference for knowledge "contribute[s] to a more fundamental failure to appreciate the value of inspiration - and hence of literature - itself."[6] The Raft, a collection of ragtag vessels bringing poor Asians to California, resembles the "Armada of Hope" described in Jean Raspail's novel The Camp of the Saints (1973), in which a vast flotilla carries a million of India's poor to the southern coast of France[7]; in Rorty's reading, the Raft is emblematic of the final destruction of any sense of community in the United States: "In Snow Crash, the relation of the United States to the rest of the world is symbolized by Stephenson's most frightening creation - what he calls the "Raft"...Pride in being an American citizen has been replaced by relief at being safer and better-fed than those on the Raft."[8] Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America is a book written by American philosopher Richard Rorty. ... Jean Raspail (born in the 1920s) is a French author. ... The Camp of the Saints is a novel by Jean Raspail. ... One million (1,000,000), or one thousand thousand, is the natural number following 999,999 and preceding 1,000,001. ...


Snow Crash's influence can be seen in Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. The novel features a Disneyland parade based on Snow Crash. Cory Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. ... Down And Out in the Magic Kingdom is a 2003 science fiction book, the first novel by Canadian author and digital-rights activist Cory Doctorow. ... This article is about a theme park in Anaheim, California USA. For other Disney parks and attractions, see Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. ...


Influence on the World Wide Web

While Stephenson was not the first to apply the Sanskrit term avatar to online virtual bodies (Habitat did that), the success of Snow Crash popularized the term to the extent that avatar is now the de facto term for this concept in computer games and on the World Wide Web.[9] The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Example of an avatar as used on internet forums. ... Habitat was an early and technologically influentual online role-playing game developed by Lucasfilm Games and made available as a beta test in 1987 by Quantum Link, an online service for the Commodore 64 computer and the corporate progenitor to America Online. ... WWWs historical logo designed by Robert Cailliau The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked, hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. ...


Metaverse-like "worlds" in reality include There, Second Life, The Palace, Uru, Dotsoul, Active Worlds and Blaxxun (originally Black Sun prior to being sued by Sun Microsystems). Some massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) also resemble the Metaverse. There is a 3-D online virtual world created by Will Harvey and Jeffrey Ventrella. ... Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world which came to international attention via mainstream news media in late 2006 and early 2007 [4][5] and a libertarian anarchy developed by Linden Research, Inc (commonly referred to as Linden Lab), a downloadable client program enables its users... The Palace is a software program used to access two-dimensional virtual communities, also called palaces. ... Myst franchise Games Myst Riven Myst III: Exile Myst IV: Revelation Myst V: End of Ages Uru: Ages Beyond Myst Ages of: Myst Riven Myst III: Exile Myst IV: Revelation Uru Novels Myst: The Book of Atrus   Tiana   Dni Comic Books #0   #1 Miscellaneous Dni Ages   The... DotSoul is an immersive 3D Virtual Reality MMORPG open to those who observe its Code. ... Active Worlds (AW) is a 3D virtual reality platform. ... Black Sun can refer to: Black Sun (book by Abbey) Black Sun (book by Goodrick-Clarke) Black Sun (film) Black Sun (album) Black Sun (Star Wars) The Black Sun, Cyric, a god in the Forgotten Realms setting Black Sun is a virtual nightclub in the novel Snow Crash by Neal... Sun Microsystems, Inc. ... An image from World of Warcraft, one of the largest commercial MMORPGs as of 2004, based on active subscriptions. ...


According to its creators, Uru was inspired by Snow Crash. This does not refer to the story or content of the game (which is deeply rooted in the D'ni/Myst universe), but rather the format of the multiplayer environment, Uru Live. Myst franchise Games Myst Riven Myst III: Exile Myst IV: Revelation Myst V: End of Ages Uru: Ages Beyond Myst Ages of: Myst Riven Myst III: Exile Myst IV: Revelation Uru Novels Myst: The Book of Atrus   Tiana   Dni Comic Books #0   #1 Miscellaneous Dni Ages   The...


Many Virtual globe programs including NASA World Wind and Google Earth bear an uncanny resemblance to the "Earth" software developed by the Central Intelligence Corporation in Snow Crash. One Google Earth co-founder claimed that Google Earth was modeled after Snow Crash, while another co-founder said it was inspired by Powers of Ten.[10] Google Earth, a highly detailed virtual globe that comes with simple atmosphere and star dome NASA World Wind, an open source virtual globe with stars and advanced atmosphere & sunlight effects Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D within Windows Live Local site NASA World Wind showing near-real-time NASA JPL Terra MODIS... Animation showing atmosphere and shading effects in v1. ... Google Earth is a virtual globe program that was originally called Earth Viewer and was created by Keyhole, Inc. ... Powers of Ten is a 1977 short documentary film written and directed by Charles Eames and his wife, Ray. ...


Elements of Snow Crash are popular among computer professionals and enthusiasts alike. For example, Microsoft vice-president J Allard uses "Hiro Protagonist" as his gamertag. J Allard, in 2006 J Allard (born James Allard on January 12, 1969 in Glens Falls, New York)[1] is a Corporate Vice President and the Chief XNA Architect at Microsoft. ... Gamertag is the universal name for a players username on Microsofts Xbox Live. ...


Film Adaptation

The novel was optioned shortly after its publication and subsequent success, although it has never progressed past pre-production. John Raffo and Jeffery Nachmanoff both completed drafts under the supervision of director Marco Brambilla while the project was set up at Touchstone Pictures and Kathleen Kennedy's production company, but due to the large budget required, neither was given a greenlight. Italian-born, Canadian-bred director of feature films, television, commercials, and video game material. ... Touchstone Pictures (also known as Touchstone Films in its early years) is one of several alternate film labels of The Walt Disney Company, established in 1984. ... Producer Kathleen Kennedy Kathleen Kennedy (b. ...


See also

The Riddle of the Universe and Its Solution is a short story written by Christopher Cherniak which appears in the 1981 book The Minds I. It describes a research project in computer science which includes content that produces catatonia in anyone who views it. ... This is a page about catatonic state. ... The Geek canon is a canon of books, art, films, television series, games, electronic gadgets, internet sites, or other miscellanea, which have been influential in the shaping of geek culture. ... The Funniest Joke in the World is the most frequent title used to refer to a Monty Pythons Flying Circus comedy sketch, also known by two other phrases that appear within it, joke warfare and killer joke. The premise of the sketch is fatal hilarity: the joke is simply... Infinite Jest (1996) is a critically acclaimed novel written by David Foster Wallace. ... Neurolinguistics is the science concerned with the human brain mechanisms underlying the comprehension, production, and abstract knowledge of language, be it spoken, signed, or written. ... The concept of a distributed republic is that of a fluid republic consisting of land and citizens scattered across the globe, changing far more frequently than conventional nation-states. ... The Great Simoleon Caper is a short story by Neal Stephenson that appeared in TIME Domestic SPECIAL ISSUE, Spring 1995 Volume 145, No. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... The term metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, and is now widely used to describe the vision behind current work on fully immersive 3D virtual spaces. ...

References

  1. ^ "Snow Crash tells of a twenty-first-century America in which the needs of the entrepreneurs have won out over hopes of a free and egalitarian society." pg 4 of Rorty, Achieving our country
  2. ^ TIME All-Time 100 Novels
  3. ^ pg 68 of Michaels 2004
  4. ^ pg 68 of Michaels 2004
  5. ^ pg 69 of Michaels 2004
  6. ^ a b c pg 74 of Michaels 2004
  7. ^ Snow Crash and The Camp of the Saints
  8. ^ pg 5 of Rorty, Achieving Our Country.
  9. ^ A Beginner's Web Glossary
  10. ^ Avi Bar-Ze’ev (from Keyhole, the precursor to Google Earth) on origin of Google Earth

Walter Benn Michaels is a literary theorist, known as the author of Our America: Nativism, Modernism and Pluralism (1995) and The Shape of the Signifier: 1967 to the End of History (2004). ... The Princeton University Press is a publishing house, a division of Princeton University, that is highly respected in academic publishing. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Snow Crash


Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ... The Internet Speculative Fiction Database is a database of bibliographic information on science fiction and related genres such as fantasy fiction and horror fiction. ...

Works by Neal Stephenson
Full-Length Novels The Big U (1984) | Zodiac (1988) | Snow Crash (1992) | Interface (1994) | The Diamond Age (1995) | The Cobweb (1996) | Cryptonomicon (1999) | The Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver (2003), The Confusion (2004), and The System of the World (2004)
Short Stories "Spew" (1994) | "The Great Simoleon Caper" (1995) | "Jipi and the paranoid chip" (1997)
Non-Fiction Smiley's people (1993) | In the Kingdom of Mao Bell (1994) | Mother Earth Mother Board (1996) | Global Neighborhood Watch (1998) | In the Beginning...was the Command Line (1999)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Snow Crash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2154 words)
Snow Crash is a science fiction novel written by Neal Stephenson and published in 1992.
The Snow Crash meta-virus may be characterized as an extremely aggressive meme.
Snow Crash rocketed to the top of the fiction best-seller charts upon its publication and established Stephenson as a major science fiction writer of the 1990s.
Snow Crash: Information from Answers.com (2005 words)
The science fiction novel Snow Crash (1992), the third novel by Neal Stephenson, follows in the footsteps of cyberpunk novels by such authors as William Gibson and Rudy Rucker, though Stephenson breaks away from this tradition by embellishing this story with a heavy dose of satire and fl humor.
Snow Crash depicts the absence of a central powerful state; in its place, corporations have taken over the traditional roles of government, including dispute resolution and national defense.
Stephenson speculates in Snow Crash that early Sumerian culture used a primordial language which could be interpreted by human beings through the deep structures of the brain, rendering the learning of what he refers to as "acquired languages" needless.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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