Study Guide

Snow Crash Chapter 1

By Neal Stephenson

Chapter 1

  • Before the chapter actually starts, we get dictionary-style definitions of the words snow, crash, and virus. Yay.
  • Also, just to note, Stephenson is an immensely entertaining author, prone to polysyllabic fits of metaphorical fancy that make his prose as amusing as watching a drunk penguin try to tap-dance. We're clever, but not nearly clever enough to condense his style into brief chapter summaries, so, well, deal with it.
  • Now on to the action: We meet the Deliverator, in his black armored suit, speeding through Los Angeles in his high-tech car.
  • The Deliverator's job is dangerous and requires precision; when they first gave him the job they gave him a gun to go with it, in case clients get uppity. But he prefers his swords. Anyway, this is America, where everyone has guns, and everyone expects their pizzas on time.
  • Because that, friends, is what the Deliverator does: he is a pizza delivery guy. America has both gone downhill and gone crazy, such that it only does four things worth noting: music, movies, software, and high-speed pizza delivery.
  • The Deliverator (whose name is Hiro, btw) works for CosaNostra Pizza, which is run by the Mafia. Uncle Enzo, the boss, will come and personally apologize for any pizza delivered in more than thirty minutes, and no delivery-person wants to find out what happens to whoever mucks up that delivery. It is the stuff of nightmares.
  • We learn that the Deliverator used to be a security dude at a Burbclave, which is a suburb that's also a city-state (mean it has its own schools, police force, and such). Apparently his use of samurai swords on the job did not go over well, which is another reason he's currently flying pies for the Mafia.
  • The Deliverator swings by the store for some more pizzas to deliver that night. There's smoke coming out of the store, which is a bad sign; the guy inside, who barely speaks English, gives him just one pie—but the timer on its electronic box reads twenty minutes. Which means that the Deliverator has exactly ten minutes to deliver the pizza to an address twelve miles away, or else.