I’ve read many Neal Stephenson books, but I think Snow Crash, the last one I read is the best Neal Stephenson book ever. I think it is much better than Cryptonomicon, even though it is not so well known.
It is a SF book published in 1992, and what it is interesting is that in the novel Neal introduces many new concepts and ideas that became REAL during the last years. For example, the concept and word “avatar” started to be used after Snow Crash used it for the first time. Also the concept of “Metaverse” as a virtual world where avatars can interact is very well detailed in the novel. The word “Metaverse” did not become widely used but many of the characteristics of the Metaverse explained in the novel were implemented later on in video games like Ultima Online, Second Life or WOW. If fact the designers of Second Life recognized having been deeply inspired by Snow Crash.
Another thing I liked about the novel is the protagonist, his name is “Hiro Protagonist”, he is a hacker and he always carries a katana with him (Mmm, this sounds familiar to me). This is Hiro Protagonists’s presentation at the beginning of the book:
“Last of the freelance hackers
Greatest sword fighter in the world
Stringer, Central Intelligence Corporation
Specializing in software-related intel
(music, movies & microcode) ”
Some other paragraphs from the book that I liked:
“No languages whatsoever are descended from Sumerian. It is an agglutinative tongue, meaning that it is a collection of morphemes or syllables that are grouped into words -very unusual”
I didn’t know that Sumerian was an agglutinative tongue like Japanese.
“I thought the Hebrews were monotheists. How could they worship Asherah?”
“Monolatrists. They did not deny the existense of other gods. But they were only supposed to worship Yahweh. Asherah was venerated as the consort of Yahweh.
I learned what monolatrism means, before I had no idea.
“Many linguists have tried to understand Babel, the question of why human language tends to fragment, rather than converging on a common tongue.”
You can order Snow Crash from Amazon, if you like SF you will love this book.