Snow Crash is a science fiction book by Neal Stephenson that started the whole Second Life idea: that there was a place online where you could be someone entirely new and different and create fantasy worlds and nightclubs by using some coding skills. Of course, the actual Second Life falls rather short of that, by having strange controls (absolutely horrible for left-handers: ‘Page Up’ to fly and arrow keys to move.) and boring things at times (standing around doing nothing in a nightclub). Also, in the economy it is nearly impossible to get anything good to wear or make yourself presentable without paying real money. But it is, admittedly, hard to make something that captures the magicalness of Snow Crash’s vision of a user-created world and Second Life accomplishes this well enough with beautiful forests and shops and even a few puzzles and games.
But on to the story, right? It’s intriguing, quickly introducing The Heroes (Hiro Protagonist, of course, and Y. T.) and The Baddie (Raven) After this, however, it rambles a bit, waiting a bit too long to introduce the virtual world. Sure, real life in this world is very interesting, but once I was introduced to the virtual world, I wanted to read more about it…and more and more. Heck, I wanted a whole book about it! Unfortunately, the book rambled on to the ‘boring’ real world as The Heroes chased the Bad Guy. The plot offered a fair amount of history and future speculation, like America’s raging pizza industry and Mafia domination and Sumerian mythology. Then, of course, was the baddie’s total awesomeness, carrying a bomb with him everywhere and all. And there was Hiro’s sword fighting power. And lots of suspense. In the end, it still had too little virtual world in it, but it was certainly a satisfying, suspenseful, intriguing read, the kind that doesn’t make you want to think about it too much and would be acceptable to a non-intellectual type (the main character is still a sword fighter, after all) but is still chock-full of knowledge.
Warning: Grossness Level=High. But it is completely worth it. So just skip the chapter if you are so inclined.