Study Guide

Snow Crash Writing Style

By Neal Stephenson

Writing Style

Irreverent and Imaginative

Neal Stephenson doesn't mess around: He'll pull out all the stylistic stops in his writing and be as offensive as possible in order to get the reader's attention. Example: when Hiro and Vitaly are driving to a concert that's flooded with people: "It's like putting on crampons and trying to walk through a room full of puppies" (14.79). You know what crampons are, right? They're shoes with spikes on them to help people ice-climb. Yeah.

Sometimes he's subtler, and you have to think about a given image in order to grasp how twisted it truly is. For instance, when Hiro's talking to Y.T. from a Safeway parking lot, "in the background she can hear the shopping carts performing their clashy, anal copulations" (10.31). Obviously shopping carts don't have anuses, but with a little imagination and knowledge of how shopping carts are constructed, you get the picture. Now the trick is to not imagine shopping carts with human anatomical features every time you go shopping.