KAMN Show #7: Snow Crash

Welcome to Show #7!

This week, we discuss Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

Summer has the flu (or something like it), so Joe, Dave and special guest Jack Mangan (Duel of the Fates) talk about the novel that breathed new life into the cyberpunk genre, or perhaps set the bar too high for others but Neal to follow.

This week’s Old School Anime Reviews for Your Ears, by Aaron from Weekly Anime Review, is the long-running comedy, Urusei Yatsura!

Books and Movies mentioned:

Promos and Links:
Promo: Podcast 411
Link: SciFi Channel: Battlestar Galactica
Link: SciFi Channel: John Doe
Link: John Doe’s Secret Revealed! (18 July 2003)


Related posts:


  1. fourthof5 says:

    Yet another interesting ep. Summer you sound terrible.

    Also, Joe, you really need to get closer to the mic. I can hardly hear you.

  2. I feel much better today (that was done Sunday night). I think something finally broke, given the amount of multicolored phlegm that I coughed up at about 5 this morning. :)

    Hopefully I’ll be closer to normal come this weekend.

  3. Enough phlegm for two lifetimes. Hopefully we’ll all be in tip-top shape for our next episode. Although chances are I’ll get pneumonia or something.

  4. tim callender says:

    Okay, I’m with Mur on this one. “Snow Crash” was not all that and a bag of chips. My biggest beef is the the general tone of the book. Seems like Stephenson couldn’t decide if he wanted to write like Rucker or Gibson.

    The stuff where NS steps away from his characters, and places them within context of his world work best. (I’ve been a pizza delivery driver, so I could relate to that…) It’s satirical, funny, and compelling. Gallows dystopia, anyone?

    But when he gets to the characters themselves, I lost interest. Maybe it’s my age, but I don’t get geeked by Hiro, who is the Greatest Living Everything. Sorry, but cool swordplay and a bitchin’ virtual motorcycle don’t do much for me. All Hiro basically has to do is figure out how to save the world. Ho hum.

    And I must refute a point about Y.T. that (I think) Jack made. The comment was that she is 15, and so this removes a certain geektosterone factor. Except that Stephenson has her engage in sex with a biker dude in order to infiltrate the Bad Guy’s giant barge thing. She even has a tranquilizer dart stuffed up her cooch for just such an unpleasant if necessary contingency. Ugh.

    Greatest character name in SF? Case, hands down.

  5. Mark in NY says:

    “Why Johnny Can’t Speed.”

    As for geektosterone, it’s kind of funny to hear 15 being rated under the radar in this era of PG-13 being the Holy Grail of movie ratings. Granted this is a book, not a film, and was written a decent while ago, but still. You don’t think a passel of 13-17 young male geeks weren’t/aren’t daydreaming about getting a piece of YT? Just sayin’.

    Summer … my condolances. I resisted hacking up a lung in sympathy; just getting over the crud myself. Stay strong.

  6. Haha, I knew I was opening a can of worms there with my comments on Y.T. as sex object. I think Mark’s point is 100% valid; teenage male Snow Crash readers, while lathering themselves up in the fantasy of being Hiro — and also wallowing in the cool, dark, terrible power exuded by his nemesis, Raven — are able to wish for a piece of Y.T. But for Hiro, and me, she’s simply too young to have any sexual appeal. Even so, in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson strained to point out grown male characters leering at her, checking out her ass. I was trying to make a point about her intriguing femininity. She’s tough (to make an understatement), she takes no mess, she’s sassy, sarcastic, and almost fearless. But would still be OK with receiving flowers Uncle Enzo. She’s willing to be charmed by Uncle Enzo. Like Joe said, she’s a kid. But I think – – like Raven and Hiro – – she appeals to what could (in general) be classified as classically male sensibilities. Is that what Neal Stephenson was going for? I don’t know. And again, I’m making a general statement, so nobody send me angry e-mails. I can’t *really* tell you or Mur Lafferty or anyone else why they liked or disliked certain books or characters.

  7. Mark in NY says:

    Hey, no hate mail here. I don’t even feel creepy about pointing that out, despite my own comparitively advanced age. As the father of two grown daughters and a 17-year-old son, I’ve been living this crap for long enough to know. As to what Stephenson was aiming for, well I haven’t read the book but my vote is on simple verbal T&A. I’ll speculate further: doesn’t cyberpunk look for a little of the creepy factor anyway? What better method than slip in a nubile teen girl and toss in the occasional reference to make the adult reader squirm? Again, just sayin’.

  8. Mark in Memphis says:

    What’s next?

  9. Mark in Memphis says:

    Joe, I understand that you like Hiro’s name, but I am still with Douglas Adams and thinking that Hotblack Desiato is a great character name.

  10. tim callender says:

    Slartibartfast. Now THERE’S a name.

  11. Scott Williamson says:

    I’ve been listening to some of the older shows again so this is possibly the lastest/last post that will be about this show.

    I liked the book – of course I like Stephenson. He pulls in all kinds of weird esoteric historical crap and writes a novel around whatever topic he’s interested in at the time (or at least it seems to be the case). I can completely see where Mur is coming from though – it is a lot of talk about weird esoteric historical crap that has nothing to do with moving the action in the book – it is talking heads: Hiro and the Librarian.

    But what I am suprised at in the show is this: Why no one called this book for what it is – it’s a fantasy novel. Our sword carrying hero with his plucky younger partner trying to defeat an evil magician before said magician can cast a spell to enslave the world… Granted that the setting in a post-US America, the hero is a hacker, and the plucky number two is a thrasher, and the evil magician is a funamentalist Christian, and the fact that his magic is a Sumerian _me_ that essentially hacks the brains of programmers to bypass a piece of AV installed called the “nam-shub of Enki”… but essentially it’s fantasy: Swords, Magic, an Island Fortress, Minions – it’s all there.

    Anyway – great show!

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