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Publisher's Summary

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison - a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.


In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately.

©1992 Neal Stephenson (P)2001 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Brilliantly realized...Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Fast-forward free-style mall mythology for the 21st century." (William Gibson)

What listeners say about Snow Crash

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9,976
  • 4 Stars
    5,714
  • 3 Stars
    2,766
  • 2 Stars
    931
  • 1 Stars
    578
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9,015
  • 4 Stars
    4,428
  • 3 Stars
    1,656
  • 2 Stars
    447
  • 1 Stars
    275
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8,114
  • 4 Stars
    4,203
  • 3 Stars
    2,227
  • 2 Stars
    856
  • 1 Stars
    506

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A solid sci-fi novel

This book has a lot going for it. For starters the plot is great. A lot of twists and turns and you're never quite sure what's going to happen (or even what's going on). The characters are wonderfully crafted and the dialog is well written and entertaining. A wonderfully dry humor is mixed in well with the action. Also, major kudos to the narrator. He does such a great job that the audio book may very well be better then paper edition.

Part of the plot revolves around the study of biblical era documents, including the bible itself. I did sometimes find this part of the plot somewhat frustrating. But that's probably due to the fact that I know something about biblical exegesis, and the conclusions drawn by the characters in the book are wildly inaccurate. I suppose this frustration would be similar to the frustration felt by a physicist as he watched Star Trek. Or by a military tactician as he watched a Rambo film. It can just be frustrating to have a subject that you know about used as a plot device. Let's just say that you'll learn about as much about biblical study after reading Snow Crash as you'd learn about physics by watching Captain Picard use "and inverted tachyon beam to scan the wormhole."

Don't get this book if you'll be offended by the use of Christian and biblical events as a plot device. Also be aware that there is some profanity. It's not gratuitous, but it is fairly frequent.

But all of that aside, this is a really good book. If you're a sci-fi fan, you'll probably like it. If you're a cyber-punk fan, this is required reading. But even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you could very well enjoy this book. Just keep an open mind and buckle your seat belt. It's quite a ride.

291 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Stephenson

It's been several years since I read this book, so thought it'd be fun to give the audiobook a listen. I do have to say that I think it's one of those books that is better read than listened to via audio. That said, I think the narrator did a good job capturing the book and it is a fun story. First released in 1992, the same year "www" was coined, it's interesting to see how many of his "predictions" have come true and how much sounds dated. Stephenson is someone who explains tech in detail - all of his books are that way - which I find fascinating. But, if in-depth explanations bore you, he's not the author for you.

134 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Cool, but complicated

After reading the first two chapters, I thought Wow, I have found a new favorite author. The action was great and the characters interesting. Stephenson's metaphors and use of language are genius. I soon got lost in the complicated plot and what little I understood sounded extremely far fetched. If you are a layman of average intelligence like me you may find this a hard read, but the educated tech heads may love this book. I do want to read more of Stephenson.

132 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent example of what an audiobook should be

Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I listen to audiobooks quite frequently and I can honestly say this is my favorite. A reasonably intelligent use of sound effects and excellent vocalizing make this a joy to listen to. I had originally read this in paperback and was quite suprised to find myself identifying MORE with the characters through the audiobook than I had in my original reading.

While this IS considered sci-fi and/or cyberpunk, don't let those terms scare you off. The envisioned future is pretty realistic and just 'gritty' enough to give you a good feel for it. Most of the technology is pretty conceivable and easy to understand - and very little of it is thrown in just because the author's supposed to be writing 'sci-fi'.

The audio version does bog down a bit in one or two spots. Some of the religious lingo/jargon/names was a bit easier to absorb in hardcopy. It's a lot easier to look back a page or two - or know you read that name just a minute ago and glance back over a paragraph or three - than it is to zap your MP3 player back 6 or 7 minutes. You might want to bookmark the beginning of such sections if you're either a die-hard fan or a theology major... Otherwise, listen through it and absorb what you can. You'll get a good idea where things are heading in short order.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unfreakingbelievable

A few years ago when I had become interested in the virtual reality of Second Life, a friend recommended Snow Crash to me. I had not heard of the book but having such a high regard for the friend, I kept it tucked away in my synapses. Boy am I glad that I did. This is a book about virtual reality that is very much like Second Life. But it is so, so much more. In fact I think that there is no end to the more. It includes Sumerian myth, a hero/protagonist named Hiro Protagonist and a landscape so much like modern-day America, you won't miss it. Hopefully you won't miss the book either. It is funny, hip and cool as can be. The book is mind boggling, outrageous and not like anything I have ever read.

72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story, Terrible Audio Quality

Any additional comments?

The story is engaging and fast paced and it leaves you with a lot to think about. Not to mention it's a great ride.

But the audio quality absolutely sucks. The narrator is fine, it just sounds like he was trapped in a tin box for the entire story. And chapters are buffeted by horrible sound effects and someone sing-speaking in gibberish. I get that it's trying to set a mood, but it's awful. And the worst part is that there are frequent brief episodes of completely different sound quality, that sound like they were added later.

If you can deal with the bad sound quality, this is definitely worth a listen. I really did love the story.

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Cyberpunk

So far the two Neil Stevenson books I have listened to, Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, have proved to be very entertaining and thought provoking. The techknolodgy he creates as part of the setting and times is both imaginative and maybe even wildly plausable. I think for me , what sets him apart is his sense of humour. The combination makes for a very enjoyable read.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A very clever book.

Snow Crash is not only very entertaining, it has a series of clever twists and a strong back story that set it aside from many science fiction stories.

Comedy and drama are well entwined throughout, neither detracting from the overall mood and pace of the book and the protagonists are well drawn.

I can highly recommend the excellent audio recording, which is a great format for this novel.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You'll love it or you'll hate

I love the fact that the reviews of "Snow Crash" are so mixed -- if someone doesn't give it a 4 or 5, they give it a 1 (and probably only because they can't give it a zero). It's probably very much a function of your personality: if you're the right type, it'll grab you and you'll love it. Otherwise, it'll seem stupid, boring, and pointless. I'm in the former group: I love it!

Either way, you won't have anything to complain about in the narration, in my opinion. Jonathan Davis does an excellent job.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Journey Into Escapism

This is one of my first audiobooks selections and I chose it for it's length (value) and my interests in computers, technology, and future predictions. I listened to the sample and it sounded a little too "off the wall" for me, but I decided to give it a go anyway.

At first I was distracted by the verbal landscape but soon I was drawn in and the characters began to become likable and someone that I could relate to.

Concepts that I really liked:
1. A cyber universe where one could almost live, die, and play in... an Internet on steroids?
2. A virus that could gap the digital world to the physical world.
3. An ancient language that was, and is, common to all people

The characters are inventive, interesting, and quite unusual. The plot takes all kinds of twists and kept me anxiously wanting to go back to listening. The reader does a great job and does not detract from the story.

Bottom line, I found this a strange, yet compelling, story that I enjoyed very much.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 01-19-10

A Manga mini-whirlwind

No plot spoilers here. My book club recently agreed this as a 7.5/10. As an audiobook it's well read, and, when I bought it, extremely good value. The storyline has minor flaws and the characterisation is argueably two-dimensional..but the author does an excellent job of telling an entertaining yarn with thoughtful and witty situations and asides in an overall entertaining package. This would obviously make a great Manga comic, and that is, I'm told, exactly what the author intended. In that sense the lack of depth of characterisation is understandable....in cartoon form this would be easier to allow the reader to infer. You get a lot for your money here...with some of the details and asides that flesh out this concievable (slightly sardonic) dystopia being enough to constitute a novella on their own. In the end, it doesn't necessarily deliver more than it promises, but it certainly doesn't deliver less.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lily the Pink
  • 09-26-15

Lose yourself in another world

This is a book that has found its medium. None of the author's descriptions, none of the information, is lost, which could so easily happen if it was turned into a film. But with the narration by Jonathan Davis, and the incidental sound effects, it's just perfect.

I bought this book when it was on special offer because I had a small refund voucher and I quite like science fiction. I could so easily have missed it! I think I have probably driven my whole family mad telling them how good it is and how it totally took over my journeys home for weeks. In fact I was so hooked I found I was still listening while I put the shopping away or started the evening meal.

It describes a world not very far in the future where people live in guarded enclaves and become citizens of franchised countries. Someone is trying to take over the minds of all the computer programmers in the world, and it's up to the main character, a brilliant programmer called Hiro Protagonist (yes, really, but I can forgive Neal Stephenson this one bit of self-consciousness) and his sidekick, YT a 15 year old female skateboard courier, to work out what's going on and save mankind.

That really doesn't do justice to Neal Stephenson's brilliant evocation of a world that could so nearly be ours, if things had developed differently. At first it's hard to work out what's going on but then the plot starts to unfold, and even the extended Sumerian history lesson in the middle falls into place. But it's not just about the lead characters. It has quite a cast list, all carefully voiced by Jonathan Davis, and all contributing to the story.

It's a terrific book, and I'm still trying to work out why.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Putman
  • 07-02-16

death by detail

I've lost consciousness more times with this audible book than any other. Excrutiating levels of detail, the purpose of every button and switch on any device and every move or thought during action sequences is painfully spelt out.

Snowcrash is the polar opposite of Neuromancer and is only suitable for those devoid of their own imagination to fill in the blanks in a story.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 12-28-10

Great book but not ideal audio material

Neal Stephenson is a superbly imaginative writer, he shows this to great effect in 'Snow Crash'. The detail and invention of his 'Snow Crash' world is truly mind boggling.

Although I enjoyed the book, and the narration is superb, I think I would have preferred to read this on the page, as it were; although the narrative and plot hurtle along in good style, the characters are somewhat cartoon-like and two dimensional, serving largely as vehicles to carry the story, and this means that the fantasy backdrop has to carry the listener's interest for much of the 17 hours of the book - that's a long time.

One other point to note: you really need to have some knowledge and/or interest in computers and virtual reality to follow the plot.

Overall four stars, but my recommendation would be to read the book rather than listen to it.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for R
  • R
  • 09-23-10

A Perfect Blend

One of the difficulties with audiobooks, in particular with books that you've previously read, is finding a narrator who sounds right.

Snowcrash has been one of my favourite books for years and I was delighted to find that Jonathon Davis 'gets it'. The pacing of the story, the emphasis of the words and the voicing of the characters is pretty much spot on for me, so this audiobook gets five stars with no quibbles!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HappytobeWired
  • 06-12-20

Good Narration . A satire on the Free Market?

I am assuming it is a satire on the logical extension of a Reagan/Thatcher world. Everything is run by caricature corporations. I found some of the ideas comical such as the former USA being broken io into autonomous franchises run from 3 ring binders. The idea of the Mafia looking like a safe harbour amongst the competing insanity of the world. But I was detached and unmoved. A bit too much description for my taste. I may have enjoyed it if I were 20. So maybe reading it 30 years too late.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • DP
  • 08-27-19

wasn't for me

started listening based on recommendation as I really enjoyed Ready player one. To me this was just trying too hard to be futuristic and the story didn't capture me at all. having got to chapter 34 I've just called it a day and moved on as it's just not as good as the reviews let on in my opinion. Narrator was good though.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Emma Churchouse
  • Emma Churchouse
  • 05-18-15

Hours of delicious escapism

Any additional comments?

Snow Crash was an instant favourite when first encountered as a student in the 90s (studying ancient civilisations by day, gaming by night...) and 20 years hasn't dulled it's appeal. Having it delivered straight to your ear by the smooth, effortless voice of Jonathan Davis while your body is doing other things is a definite treat - shades of the Metaverse? Some of the technology and concepts have lost their initial impact due to the passage of time but the story does not feel dated. The pace moves from fast and furious to scholarly pauses and back again with ease. The unlikely main characters are engaging for both their abilities and their flaws; the burbclaves and franchised countries are all too believable for anyone who has come across "suburb snobbery" in a modern city. And I defy any dog lover not to moved by the Rat Things. An action packed, witty, intelligently observed, bizarre, tongue in cheek vision of our near future.The narration by Jonathan Davis is animated and excellently done. A voice actor that can believably be a teenage skater chick, a computerised librarian and a Vietnamese cyborg with ease, consistency and flawless movement between each is a joy to listen to.The final word? I wish there was a way to read/listen to Snow Crash again for the first time.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for thomas christodoulides
  • thomas christodoulides
  • 01-25-18

good performance, but a hard slog overall

sorry, not for me. Not read a neal Stephenson book before and heard great things about snow crash but found it a hard slog. Although well written, there was too much technical exposition (especially the scenes with the librarian) but I suppose that's what to expect with a cyberpunk novel. I found the plot and pace too rambling too. Some effective world building and well described action at times though, and Jonathan Davis did an excellent job with the performance too. I won't go back to neal Stephenson after this though.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 04-08-13

Great book and great narrator

This is one of my all time favourite books and listening to it read out loud was no disappointment.



The depth and tone of Jonothan Davis' voice perfectly matches the tone of the book. It is now imprinted in my memory with his voice. Excellent!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Norman J Walsh
  • 04-08-18

Dated

Has not stood the test of time, disappointed after reading many reviews and recommendations from readers.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Katy
  • 10-15-17

weird

couldn't finish. too hard to get a grasp of. weak characterization nice dig at the corporatism in America and lax gun laws though.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ashley
  • 10-05-16

Good story ruined by horrible presentation

Good story but between EVERY chapter is 10 seconds of really out of place music. Ruins the whole thing.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jules
  • 10-25-16

A must must listen

How does Stephenson come up with such interesting and entertaining ideas and stories? Better yet, the dead pan narration adds its own level of humour. There a few dense information downloads, but you won't mind listening to this parts.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mynhardt
  • Mynhardt
  • 01-30-16

This book's got it all

the narrator is reading very fast in the beginning of the book that made it hard to follow...i just slowed the reading speed with the app and later when i understood more of the universe i could switch it back and it was fine.Awsome book

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-16-19

Pseudo-Science Fiction

Snow Crash isn't all bad, in fact, it's pretty good in places. It contains some interesting ideas.

However, the central ideas, those on which the plot fundamentally hinges; they're ridiculous, unscientific garbage.

It's difficult to remain invested in a book based on a premise requiring a fundamentally incorrect understanding of Linguistics and the human brain. This departure from reality would be less jarring, if the Plot Device had just been literally magic. At least that way, you can explain how it works with "it's magic", instead of couching it in bad science.

Plot issues aside: the expository dialogue was awful. So many one-sided conversations between central characters and a dummy character to stand in for the audience. "Let me explain the book's thesis to you."
At one point, (in a chapter of exposition, as the main character re-explains the plot of the book) someone asks, "Where did Plot Device come from?", the protagonist responds "From space, on a comet." The space/comet thing is never touched on before, or again. It's never explained, nor shown how the character reached this conclusion.

Snow Crash is supposed to be a genre-defining masterpiece. I did not find this to be the case. I found it clumsy, ham-fisted, and reliant on an unbelievable premise. There are aspects of the book I enjoyed, but they were overwhelmed by my grievances.

The ideas in this book remain interesting, but that does not make them good. I also find the beliefs of Flat-Earthers interesting.


***

Enough on the book. Audiobook time:
It's a poor recording. It's old audio, heavily compressed. At least it helps you get into that '90s mood?

The chapters in this book are short, seeming to last a few minutes each, with musical intertitles between each chapter. This wears on me a touch, but if I'd liked the book more wouldn't have been a big issue.

Do I recommend this book?
Maybe? I don't think it was very good, and I'm glad it's over, but I don't regret reading it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark H
  • 07-10-14

Don't bother

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Better writing and plot

Would you ever listen to anything by Neal Stephenson again?

NO!

How could the performance have been better?

Not be so childish in the plot

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Snow Crash?

Most of it

Any additional comments?

It could appeal if your under the age of 12. The story idea isn't that bad, it's the writing and plot that leave you thinking I'm wasting my life listening to this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Geoffrey R. Folland
  • Geoffrey R. Folland
  • 02-28-22

Pretty average

The storyline was kinda interesting if you want to think about the Metaverse but it was otherwise pretty basic. Spends a lot of time explaining the world to you. And there is redundant levels of foul language, and a sex scene involving a 15 year old girl. Overall, it was barely worth it.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Trav
  • Trav
  • 02-08-22

Quality is really poor.

I rarely write a review sorry but you have to know how poor the recording is on this.

I didn’t last more than 10.

I really hope they update it at some time.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for RFC
  • RFC
  • 01-31-22

Excellent narration but plot is a bit lacking

The plot never quite comes together. The beginning and world building are very intriguing but the resolution is just a bit too far fetched for my taste.

The narration was excellent.

The many action scenes were a bit hard to follow while listening. but it might be different when reading them instead.