Thursday, May 1, 2014

20 Books: Snow Crash

This is part of a sub-series of postings based on the "20 Books Cybersecurity Professionals Should Read Now".

Neil Stephenson is one of the leading authors in the "cyberpunk" genre, which I covered in a prior posting about Neuromancer.  Not surprisingly, he has 3 of his works on this list.  Snow Crash (1992) is the earliest of the three, so figured we'd start with this one.

Set in the near future where the United States (and probably the world) has broken down into a large number of sovereign enclaves.  Most everything is privatized, including roads and mail service.  The internet (cyberspace) is known as the Metaverse.

A new virus has been released which is both a computer virus and a neurological virus.  The nominal heroes of the story, hacker Hiro Protaganist and Y.T., must work to figure out the mystery behind the Snow Crash virus before its too late.

While that seems fairly straight forward, Stephenson's works include a LOT of other concepts.  We get ideas about language being a virus, and that our development of multiple languages was a defense from having a single language and its vulnerabilities.

Some of the concepts in the book actually inspired real systems, such as Google Earth.

Because of the interesting ideas in his works, I recommend checking Stephenson out.

No comments:

Post a Comment