Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson) - Bantam - 1992 - 470 pages

Stephenson's third novel (after The Big U and Zodiac) is a divergence from present time and an adventure into a speculative but possible future where laws and governments have failed; and where crime syndicates hold power with worldwide franchises.  Our hero (Hiro Protagonist) and his young female platonic friend, Y.T. (Yours Truly) make their living as couriers (in Southern California) delivering digitized pizzas and other stuff on various vehicles including high-tech skateboards with magnetic harpoons.  Hiro is also a well-respected computer hacker who spends much of his time Metaverse (virtual reality) writing code and dodging viral threats.  There appears to be no hope for the return of organized government but all parties are seriously concerned about religious fanatic like L. Bob Rife who is trying to conquer the real and virtual worlds with ancient Sumerian gibberish.  With amazing skill, the author ties it all together into a fast-paced, technological thriller of sorts.  This was the first novel by Stephenson that proved that he capable of writing about much more than post-college hijinks.  [JAM 8/3/2017]