Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Violence in Snow Crash

The gratuitous violence omnipresent in Snow Crash's Reality - no less than the bloodless death of the Metaverse - speaks to the waning of affect and depthlessness of cyberpunk fiction and of postmodern society. In the novel, Hiro and Y.T. move the story forward while huge battles featuring countless gory deaths break out in the background, between Russian Orthodox forces, the Mafia, the Enforcers, drug dealers, and private armies. As Y.T. notes, what makes Kouriers worthwhile is their interchangeability - one Kourier is as good as another. In the same way, the teeming humanity of Snow Crash is completely interchangeable. There is no emotional impact to their deaths - they are mere background dressing, surface. The reflections in contemporary society are ubiquitous - violence in movies, television, video games, and the network news carries little emotional weight, it is mere background action, information, and infotainment.

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