I have been enjoying making notes on Snow Crash. I am not as far through as I had hoped, but part of this is figuring out how quickly I can do this kind of analysis. Of course, I was still working on typo and consistency edits for Bluehammer until a couple of days ago so that was occupying a lot of my time.
Despite that, I wanted to post about what I have read so far and to give a root location for others to make their observations.
Spoiler warning: I’m going to be talking about character and plot elements now.
I have notes on 21 of the 71 chapters. I have been trying to collect the same information that I use for chapter notes when I am writing: start point, characters, action, and end point, as well as some location information. Oh, and the page number. I will put this into an outline when it’s done.
Reading this book again, I am reminded of how effortless the storytelling seems.
The analytical questions I had were about structural nodes in the story, chapter linkage, and chapter purpose. I’m not going to address the structure and linkage questions yet, but I have been very struck by how each chapter has multiple roles within the storytelling: in chapter 11, for example, the MC Hiro Protagonist* has a sword fight with another patron of The Black Sun, a virtual bar. In this short sequence, we learn that Hiro knows how to use a sword, that he is a consummate coder, and that his boast of being the greatest the greatest living swordfighter is whimsical but not unfounded.
It’s also very notable to me that characters and concepts are introduced lightly in earlier chapters so that they are familiar when they are used. For example, the presence of bouncers in The Black Sun is mentioned in passing in chapter 7, but they swing into action without further introduction in chapter 9.
To combine these two observations, chapter 21 is important from a plot point of view (it is when the extent of the mafia’s interest in YT is revealed) but it is also loaded with elements that become important later: YT’s mother’s job, Uncle Enzo’s skills from Vietnam, the safety features of a Kourier’s uniform, and the common reason why Kouriers and special forces in Vietnam don’t wear helmets.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now.
How is your reading coming along?
[*] one of the great names in literature.