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Snow Crash

Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (335 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison - a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.


In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately.

©1992 Neal Stephenson (P)2001 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Brilliantly realized...Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Fast-forward free-style mall mythology for the 21st century." (William Gibson)

What listeners say about Snow Crash

Average Customer Ratings
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Dated

Has not stood the test of time, disappointed after reading many reviews and recommendations from readers.

5 people found this helpful

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A must must listen

How does Stephenson come up with such interesting and entertaining ideas and stories? Better yet, the dead pan narration adds its own level of humour. There a few dense information downloads, but you won't mind listening to this parts.

2 people found this helpful

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This book's got it all

the narrator is reading very fast in the beginning of the book that made it hard to follow...i just slowed the reading speed with the app and later when i understood more of the universe i could switch it back and it was fine.Awsome book

2 people found this helpful

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weird

couldn't finish. too hard to get a grasp of. weak characterization nice dig at the corporatism in America and lax gun laws though.

3 people found this helpful

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Good story ruined by horrible presentation

Good story but between EVERY chapter is 10 seconds of really out of place music. Ruins the whole thing.

3 people found this helpful

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Very cool story with some recording quirks

I noticed that some reviews complain about audio quality. Overall I thought the tape recording quality suited the atmosphere of the story, but I listened using good quality earphones so I imagine some phone speakers would struggle. Also it is worth noting that every now and then the audio hiccups with weird pauses and changes to the audio processing. Plus the chapter listing in the audible app don't line up with the actual recording, so you will have to make manual adjustments.

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Brilliant

Fantastic book - creative, funny, exciting and so well written. And a superb narrator does it justice. Highly recommended!

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Bleeding edge sci-fi that still holds

A stunning cyberpunk epic combined with a narrator that contributes dystopian snarky-ness. An essential read.

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good story, a bit dated these days

The story and narrator were great. I wish it didn't have the sound effects between chapters though. also the audio quality wasn't great

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fantastic. essential cyberpunk read

This is probably the best Cyberpunk book I've listened to. Yes even better then neuromancer and altered carbon book 1.

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  • Matthew Burd
  • 16-01-2020

I was wrong

trigger warning: Sexual assault I heard so many great things about this book and while I enjoyed the pace and the concepts explored in the story there is one thing I cannot just let go. Neal Stephenson hyper sexualizes a 15 year old girl throughout the book and then SPOILER ALERT he graphically describes her cumming as she is penetrated by her 33 year old rapist. because of this I cannot recommend the book.

236 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-08-2019

Couldn't finish, major content warning

There's an entire chapter devoted to an adult having sex with a fifteen year old girl. I've never put a book down faster, and I wouldn't have wasted my time if I'd known.

153 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Tuck
  • 16-10-2008

Classic Stephenson

It's been several years since I read this book, so thought it'd be fun to give the audiobook a listen. I do have to say that I think it's one of those books that is better read than listened to via audio. That said, I think the narrator did a good job capturing the book and it is a fun story. First released in 1992, the same year "www" was coined, it's interesting to see how many of his "predictions" have come true and how much sounds dated. Stephenson is someone who explains tech in detail - all of his books are that way - which I find fascinating. But, if in-depth explanations bore you, he's not the author for you.

116 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brent
  • 05-02-2003

A solid sci-fi novel

This book has a lot going for it. For starters the plot is great. A lot of twists and turns and you're never quite sure what's going to happen (or even what's going on). The characters are wonderfully crafted and the dialog is well written and entertaining. A wonderfully dry humor is mixed in well with the action. Also, major kudos to the narrator. He does such a great job that the audio book may very well be better then paper edition.

Part of the plot revolves around the study of biblical era documents, including the bible itself. I did sometimes find this part of the plot somewhat frustrating. But that's probably due to the fact that I know something about biblical exegesis, and the conclusions drawn by the characters in the book are wildly inaccurate. I suppose this frustration would be similar to the frustration felt by a physicist as he watched Star Trek. Or by a military tactician as he watched a Rambo film. It can just be frustrating to have a subject that you know about used as a plot device. Let's just say that you'll learn about as much about biblical study after reading Snow Crash as you'd learn about physics by watching Captain Picard use "and inverted tachyon beam to scan the wormhole."

Don't get this book if you'll be offended by the use of Christian and biblical events as a plot device. Also be aware that there is some profanity. It's not gratuitous, but it is fairly frequent.

But all of that aside, this is a really good book. If you're a sci-fi fan, you'll probably like it. If you're a cyber-punk fan, this is required reading. But even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you could very well enjoy this book. Just keep an open mind and buckle your seat belt. It's quite a ride.

275 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Eberhart
  • 11-05-2014

Great Story, Terrible Audio Quality

Any additional comments?

The story is engaging and fast paced and it leaves you with a lot to think about. Not to mention it's a great ride.

But the audio quality absolutely sucks. The narrator is fine, it just sounds like he was trapped in a tin box for the entire story. And chapters are buffeted by horrible sound effects and someone sing-speaking in gibberish. I get that it's trying to set a mood, but it's awful. And the worst part is that there are frequent brief episodes of completely different sound quality, that sound like they were added later.

If you can deal with the bad sound quality, this is definitely worth a listen. I really did love the story.

40 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 12-03-2011

Cool, but complicated

After reading the first two chapters, I thought Wow, I have found a new favorite author. The action was great and the characters interesting. Stephenson's metaphors and use of language are genius. I soon got lost in the complicated plot and what little I understood sounded extremely far fetched. If you are a layman of average intelligence like me you may find this a hard read, but the educated tech heads may love this book. I do want to read more of Stephenson.

127 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony
  • 09-03-2003

Excellent example of what an audiobook should be

Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I listen to audiobooks quite frequently and I can honestly say this is my favorite. A reasonably intelligent use of sound effects and excellent vocalizing make this a joy to listen to. I had originally read this in paperback and was quite suprised to find myself identifying MORE with the characters through the audiobook than I had in my original reading.

While this IS considered sci-fi and/or cyberpunk, don't let those terms scare you off. The envisioned future is pretty realistic and just 'gritty' enough to give you a good feel for it. Most of the technology is pretty conceivable and easy to understand - and very little of it is thrown in just because the author's supposed to be writing 'sci-fi'.

The audio version does bog down a bit in one or two spots. Some of the religious lingo/jargon/names was a bit easier to absorb in hardcopy. It's a lot easier to look back a page or two - or know you read that name just a minute ago and glance back over a paragraph or three - than it is to zap your MP3 player back 6 or 7 minutes. You might want to bookmark the beginning of such sections if you're either a die-hard fan or a theology major... Otherwise, listen through it and absorb what you can. You'll get a good idea where things are heading in short order.

63 people found this helpful

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  • Adam M.
  • 05-04-2018

NOT "Ready Player One"

I got this book after several people recommend it after hearing I loved Ready Player One. The ONLY thing this has in relation to RPO is the fact that people have an immersive online expierence. I made it a little over 1/2 way through this book and was asking WTF the entire time. I returned it after sitting through a LONG lecture on ancient biblical history and theory and mentioning a god who....well let's say "fertilized" farmers crops. If you are looking for another Ready Player One experience keep looking.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 03-10-2011

Unfreakingbelievable

A few years ago when I had become interested in the virtual reality of Second Life, a friend recommended Snow Crash to me. I had not heard of the book but having such a high regard for the friend, I kept it tucked away in my synapses. Boy am I glad that I did. This is a book about virtual reality that is very much like Second Life. But it is so, so much more. In fact I think that there is no end to the more. It includes Sumerian myth, a hero/protagonist named Hiro Protagonist and a landscape so much like modern-day America, you won't miss it. Hopefully you won't miss the book either. It is funny, hip and cool as can be. The book is mind boggling, outrageous and not like anything I have ever read.

63 people found this helpful

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  • james
  • 30-11-2017

4.28 stars..................not great...but almost

Snow Crash was in my library for a few months before I got around to listening. I started it a few times but didn't like the sound of the recording. The issue was not necessarily with the narrator but the quality in general. It is an older recording, so it is not up to par with current releases. However, I soon got used to the vintage recording and started to really enjoy it. I usually don't like sound effects in an audiobook, but the ones in Snow Crash somehow fit. This isn't your typical sci-fi novel. It's more complex. I really like this writer. I got Snow Crash as a Daily Deal, so it was certainly worth that. I would recommend Snow Crash to anyone who might like a well written, vintage cyber punk novel set in a dystopian future. Overall rating: 4.28 stars

20 people found this helpful

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  • Lily the Pink
  • 26-09-2015

Lose yourself in another world

This is a book that has found its medium. None of the author's descriptions, none of the information, is lost, which could so easily happen if it was turned into a film. But with the narration by Jonathan Davis, and the incidental sound effects, it's just perfect.

I bought this book when it was on special offer because I had a small refund voucher and I quite like science fiction. I could so easily have missed it! I think I have probably driven my whole family mad telling them how good it is and how it totally took over my journeys home for weeks. In fact I was so hooked I found I was still listening while I put the shopping away or started the evening meal.

It describes a world not very far in the future where people live in guarded enclaves and become citizens of franchised countries. Someone is trying to take over the minds of all the computer programmers in the world, and it's up to the main character, a brilliant programmer called Hiro Protagonist (yes, really, but I can forgive Neal Stephenson this one bit of self-consciousness) and his sidekick, YT a 15 year old female skateboard courier, to work out what's going on and save mankind.

That really doesn't do justice to Neal Stephenson's brilliant evocation of a world that could so nearly be ours, if things had developed differently. At first it's hard to work out what's going on but then the plot starts to unfold, and even the extended Sumerian history lesson in the middle falls into place. But it's not just about the lead characters. It has quite a cast list, all carefully voiced by Jonathan Davis, and all contributing to the story.

It's a terrific book, and I'm still trying to work out why.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 19-01-2010

A Manga mini-whirlwind

No plot spoilers here. My book club recently agreed this as a 7.5/10. As an audiobook it's well read, and, when I bought it, extremely good value. The storyline has minor flaws and the characterisation is argueably two-dimensional..but the author does an excellent job of telling an entertaining yarn with thoughtful and witty situations and asides in an overall entertaining package. This would obviously make a great Manga comic, and that is, I'm told, exactly what the author intended. In that sense the lack of depth of characterisation is understandable....in cartoon form this would be easier to allow the reader to infer. You get a lot for your money here...with some of the details and asides that flesh out this concievable (slightly sardonic) dystopia being enough to constitute a novella on their own. In the end, it doesn't necessarily deliver more than it promises, but it certainly doesn't deliver less.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R
  • 23-09-2010

A Perfect Blend

One of the difficulties with audiobooks, in particular with books that you've previously read, is finding a narrator who sounds right.

Snowcrash has been one of my favourite books for years and I was delighted to find that Jonathon Davis 'gets it'. The pacing of the story, the emphasis of the words and the voicing of the characters is pretty much spot on for me, so this audiobook gets five stars with no quibbles!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 08-04-2013

Great book and great narrator

This is one of my all time favourite books and listening to it read out loud was no disappointment.



The depth and tone of Jonothan Davis' voice perfectly matches the tone of the book. It is now imprinted in my memory with his voice. Excellent!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 28-12-2010

Great book but not ideal audio material

Neal Stephenson is a superbly imaginative writer, he shows this to great effect in 'Snow Crash'. The detail and invention of his 'Snow Crash' world is truly mind boggling.

Although I enjoyed the book, and the narration is superb, I think I would have preferred to read this on the page, as it were; although the narrative and plot hurtle along in good style, the characters are somewhat cartoon-like and two dimensional, serving largely as vehicles to carry the story, and this means that the fantasy backdrop has to carry the listener's interest for much of the 17 hours of the book - that's a long time.

One other point to note: you really need to have some knowledge and/or interest in computers and virtual reality to follow the plot.

Overall four stars, but my recommendation would be to read the book rather than listen to it.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robbie
  • 26-10-2008

Vivid pictures

I enjoyed listening to snowcrash its` pace variation fitted in well with my other activities. The two 'universes' worked well although I became confused with the different city-states in the real one (but my american geography never was that good!) As usual with this narrator the pictures are so vivid it beats HD TV.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Churchouse
  • 18-05-2015

Hours of delicious escapism

Any additional comments?

Snow Crash was an instant favourite when first encountered as a student in the 90s (studying ancient civilisations by day, gaming by night...) and 20 years hasn't dulled it's appeal. Having it delivered straight to your ear by the smooth, effortless voice of Jonathan Davis while your body is doing other things is a definite treat - shades of the Metaverse? Some of the technology and concepts have lost their initial impact due to the passage of time but the story does not feel dated. The pace moves from fast and furious to scholarly pauses and back again with ease. The unlikely main characters are engaging for both their abilities and their flaws; the burbclaves and franchised countries are all too believable for anyone who has come across "suburb snobbery" in a modern city. And I defy any dog lover not to moved by the Rat Things. An action packed, witty, intelligently observed, bizarre, tongue in cheek vision of our near future.The narration by Jonathan Davis is animated and excellently done. A voice actor that can believably be a teenage skater chick, a computerised librarian and a Vietnamese cyborg with ease, consistency and flawless movement between each is a joy to listen to.The final word? I wish there was a way to read/listen to Snow Crash again for the first time.

6 people found this helpful

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  • DP
  • 27-08-2019

wasn't for me

started listening based on recommendation as I really enjoyed Ready player one. To me this was just trying too hard to be futuristic and the story didn't capture me at all. having got to chapter 34 I've just called it a day and moved on as it's just not as good as the reviews let on in my opinion. Narrator was good though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • thomas christodoulides
  • 25-01-2018

good performance, but a hard slog overall

sorry, not for me. Not read a neal Stephenson book before and heard great things about snow crash but found it a hard slog. Although well written, there was too much technical exposition (especially the scenes with the librarian) but I suppose that's what to expect with a cyberpunk novel. I found the plot and pace too rambling too. Some effective world building and well described action at times though, and Jonathan Davis did an excellent job with the performance too. I won't go back to neal Stephenson after this though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Putman
  • 02-07-2016

death by detail

I've lost consciousness more times with this audible book than any other. Excrutiating levels of detail, the purpose of every button and switch on any device and every move or thought during action sequences is painfully spelt out.

Snowcrash is the polar opposite of Neuromancer and is only suitable for those devoid of their own imagination to fill in the blanks in a story.

2 people found this helpful