I was assigned this book a few years ago for a Post-Modern grad course, but I wasn't able to finish due to strange circumstances. So, I had a little taste of what this book contained--and I can't believe I waited so long to finish this one!
Hiro Protagonist (you guessed it: the lead character) is a pizza delivery boy in Reality, but when he plugs into the Metaverse (think of a primative version of Second Life) he is a champion swordsman and revered hacker. One day when Hiro is in the Metaverse, one of his hacker friends, Da5id, is infected with a type of drug/virus that has not only affected his avatar in the Metaverse but also in Reality. Hiro thus begins his search for answers about the drug/virus, Snow Crash, and a pursuit to stop the virus from spreading and creating mass chaos.
Fast-paced, in your face, action packed, this book is a rollarcoaster! Set in the near future where America has shrunk in size and what has taken its place are small business-like franchise-cities such as Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong. There are no laws, Kouriers on skateboards harpoon cars like parasites, and the only difference between the Metaverse and Reality is a set of goggles. There is a name for this type of science fiction: cyberpunk. (Originally published in 1992)
Although I sometimes had a difficult time figuring out the time-frame and whether something was happening in Reality or in the Metaverse, I was hooked to this book. It is strange and humorous and interesting and it even made my brain hurt with thinking. Not only is it about technology, but Stephenson discusses theories on linguistics and mythology and religion and pulls it all together into a suspenseful thriller. At the end, I have to admit that my attention waned a little. There was a strange relationship between Hiro's sometime partner, Y.T., and the psychokiller Raven. Also, with every action scene with helicopter and car and boat chases, my mind wanders and I get bored. What? I know!
It is one that I could certainly read again in a few years and pick up so much that I missed. If this sounds like your type of book, I recommend it! You're certainly in for a thrilling ride.