NLB Call No.: STE
ISBN: 344245302X

The book that predated actual virtual world environments like Second Life. It’s one of those books that has achieved true cult-status among geeks especially.

Cryptic plot summary:

The brain is a computer and for any computer, if there’s a way to hack into it, it will be done. And snow crash is that hack.

OK, how about this version of a plot summary?

Metaverse gets hacked. Real people die. Quest to discover the mastermind and plot in hacking the Metaverse.

It’s a lot more than that of course.

And way more interesting than what I’ve summarised.

Part of the story gets a bit metaphysical even, speculating on the origin of the Tower of Babel story in the Bible. I thought it’s quite clever to use the Bable story as an analogy.

Because Language is programming!

It’s not just Science (come to think of it, there’s very little hard-science being discussed). What made the book interesting to me was the idea of discovering how someone could actually hack and brainwash people in Virtual environments. If you’ve explored Second life, you’d know that the worse that can happen to your avatar is to get booted out of the system. Or your computer crashes. But the physical body of the user isn’t harmed (unless they chose to stay rooted to the computer for hours on end).

With characters’ named as Hiro Protagonist (sword fighter and computer hacker and the main protagonist — duh), Y.T., Mr Lee’s Greater Hong Kong…

… and ideas like franchised nations and mafia operations, human Gargoyles, nuclear isotope-powered weaponry and cyborg rat things, Kouriers (who harphoon on speeding vehicles to reach their delivery destinations), a fight in the Metaverse that translates to actual repercussions to the users in real life — it’s interesting to say the least.

I finished the book while standing in a queue, waiting for a cab.

I thought, this book’s a hack (pun intended) of a read.

I thought, it’s only a matter of time someone makes this into a movie.

And I unconsciously hummed what I thought would be the perfect soundtrack to end the movie!