Snow Crash

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Snow Crash is Neal Stephenson's third novel, published in 1992. Like many of Stephenson's other novels it covers history, linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, religion, computer science, politics, cryptography, and philosophy.

Stephenson explained the title of the novel in his 1999 essay In the Beginning... was the Command Line as his term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. Stephenson wrote about the Macintosh that "When the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television set — a 'snow crash'".

The book explores the controversial concept of neuro-linguistic programming and presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, which is supposedly functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus. The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah, supposedly giving rise to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.

Snow Crash was nominated for both the British Science Fiction Award in 1993,[1] and the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1994.[2]


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