Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

This novel looks at the next phase of the internet, after a worldwide economic downfall. It is set in early 21st century Los Angeles. America is largely privatised, with the government only controlling selected compounds in an anarcho-capitalist model. Hyperinflation and electronic exchange plague the world. People withdraw into a metaverse – a virtual reality world called the Street. The metaverse is like a multiuser online world and is much the same as reality with the poor scorned and identified by low-quality avatars. Snow Crash is a virtual narcotic which is a virus, in reality, that causes computers to crash and the user to sustain brain damage. The Sumerian vernacular is the firmware programming language that works as the BIOS for a person’s mind. The novel strides rapidly through the adventure as it emphasises that we will bring all our real-world problems into any virtual world. It’s unusual Mark Zuckerberg named his virtual world Metaverse after this book, as this world is not a panacea but rather a replica of our dark society.

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