Race and racial discrimination are a very large part of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, but they do not manifest in the way we would expect. In Stephenson's future world, race becomes defined more by who you work for rather than what your genetics are. Residents and employees of the various Franchises are granted a sense of exclusive community as per their "citizenship," and come to distrust and even feud with those from other Franchises.
Hiro Protagonist is defined from the second page as someone who kicks ass:
"Since then the Deliverator has kept the gun in the glove compartment of his and relied, instead, on a matched set of samurai swords, which have always been his weapon of choice anyhow. The punks in Gila Highlands weren't afraid of the gun, so the Deliverator was forced to use it. But swords require no demonstrations" (2)
I had serious trouble organizing my thoughts while writing this, partly from confusion induced after watching eXistenZ, but here are a few of my thoughts the movie and book together.
As I was reading Snow Crash, the most consistently jarring ( as in, taking me out of the story ) aspect was Hiro's swordplay. Though he's the greatest hacker in the world ( both real world and Metaverse ), he's equally proud of being the greatest swordsman. He carries his katanas everywhere, and uses them extensively-- not just in the Metaverse, but the real world. A modern-day samurai, with the emphasis on " modern-day ".
One of the things I found most interesting about Snow Crash was its treatment of information. Clearly in this world information, or "intel" abounds. The desire for information takes precedence over privacy, as exemplified by Hiro's experience with the Mob, described at the very beginning of the novel, "he's in their database now...retinal patterns, DNA, void graph fingerprints, foot prints, palm prints, wrist prints, every fucking part of the body that had wrinkles on it and digitized it into their computer" (6).
I don't know if anyone here has ever watched Heroes, the television show, but whoever was in charge of the script for that show apparently loves Snow Crash. There's the fact that they also named their protagonist Hiro (though I was prepared to write that off as a coincidence, because it is still a play on words). And then I came across Odessa Texas (which is where most of the action is centered in the first season). No way is that a coincidence, right?
I thought I might take a look at the use of color in this novel. After all, the story has a lot of powerful imagery, and it was originally meant to be a "computer-generated graphic novel", so the design of the imagery must have demanded a lot of attention. Even the title of the book, "Snow Crash," is a term with some intrinsic color qualities. A snow crash displays "white noise", "a pattern of black-and-white pixels" (73-74). The black-and-white of the snow crash is a very bad thing: it's associated with nonsense, an extremely primitive fault with a machine.
That is all.