Study Guide

Snow Crash Technology and Modernization

By Neal Stephenson

Technology and Modernization

Since one of the book's main characters is a programmer, you'd better believe that technology is pretty important to the plot. Without technology, Hiro would be nothing more than a sword-swinging hoodlum. Being a hacker gives him a sense of purpose, just as being a skater (with all the high-tech gear it entails) gives Y.T. a sense of freedom. Rife's plan to take over the world? Requires technology, and some of it's pretty fancy, like the brain-wire-grafting process that lets him control huge portions of the Raft.

Sometimes having the best tech means you win the fight, but tech can also destroy your brain. In other words, technology is not neutral; it's usually developed with an agenda in mind. But love it or hate it, technology is an indispensable element of the Snow Crash world.

Questions About Technology and Modernization

  1. Why does Hiro think of himself as the last of the freelance hackers? Do you think this is an accurate assessment?
  2. You get free real estate in the Metaverse. What do you do with it?
  3. Which of the new technologies portrayed in the book seem far-fetched to you? Which ones do you think are just around the corner?
  4. What do you think of the idea that Enki, the ancient Sumerian brain hacker, was using language as a type of technology?

Chew on This

Technology is distributed according to social class and wealth, meaning that the poor get screwed no matter what.

Technology has made formerly dangerous activities—like skateboarding—safer.