Study Guide

Ng in Snow Crash

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The head honcho of Ng Security Industries is a Vietnamese man who looks totally different depending on whether you see him in the Metaverse or IRL. In the Metaverse, Y.T. sees his avatar as "a small, very dapper Vietnamese man in his fifties, hair plastered to his head, wearing military-style khakis" (29.10). Sounds nice enough.

But Ng's real body is something else entirely. There's his biological body, "a sort of neoprene pouch about the size of a garbage can suspended […] by a web of straps, shock cords, tubes, wires, fiber-optic cables, and hydraulic lines" (29.57). Why all the gadgets? While fleeing Vietnam, Ng was caught in a helicopter fire. He tried out various prostheses before he bought "an airport firetruck from Germany—and converted it into my new motorized wheelchair" (29.66). Ng views his huge armored van as an extension of his body.

Ng specializes in nonhuman security systems, such as the Rat Things that Y.T. and Hiro encounter in Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong. His work with abandoned (or stolen) dogs to "improve" them by mechanizing them is an extension of his own experiences. He says to Y.T.: "'Your mistake […] is that you think that all mechanically assisted organisms—like me—are pathetic cripples. In fact, we are better than we were before'" (32.70). Duly noted, dude.

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