February 15, 2009

Crash baby Crash

Is a human being a computer? Did language come first, or did society? If language is a computer program, are we also susceptible to viruses - not the biological ones, but a 'language' virus? Can the human computer system ever crash? Ever wonder about all this?

A computer engineer by profession, but an illiterate nincompoop when it comes to thinking about computers - this is what I am.

Yes, I read Snow Crash. If you think you are interested in computers and science fiction - read one of the best cyberpunk novels to come out of a human brain. Deciding whether to read Anathem or Cryptonomicon soon.

And no, before you ask, I have not read Neuromancer - its next on my list.

Review - Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

On one hand - Hiro Protagonist (what kinda name is that?). On the other, Y.T (or whitey which is the name of our pet pigeon at home). Hiro carries swords, is a hacker supreme and black+asian. Y.T. is 15. No, there is no romance between the two - but there could have been?

A rich media magnate (or infra magnate - whatever) obtains a virus for the human brain - not your normal biological virus, but 'Snow Crash'. It burns out the information structures in the brain. (Oh and to give him company, there is one bad-ass super villain who throws glass knives)

Cyberpunk at its best, Snow Crash brings to life a reality which some of us probably thought could happen one day - and adds shades of gray (also maroon, beige and whatnot). Virtual reality is a reality called the Metaverse, and each person who is cyber connected has an avatar. If you die in the metaverse, you can jump back in soon (or that’s the original plan). Snow Crash is a drug which throws a virus into the information structures of the brain and crashes the operating system of the human body.

Hiro and YT rescue humankind (Oh and there is also a mafia who delivers pizza - and God forbid any delivery takes more than 30 mins, a robodog who is well semi robotic and a romantic counterpart for Hiro who also helps him save the world)

Well written, taut and fast paced, it probably requires some amount of computer knowledge to read - and doesn’t deserve my snarky comments. Believe me, if you do understand it, you have a treat in store for you. Cyberpunk at its best.

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