Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Summary from Goodreads:
Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison--a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately.
I just re-read this book for the first time in a very long while. I loved it with a passion the first time I read it when it first came out. I had read Stephenson's Zodiac and had been keeping an eye out for his next book. Snow Crash was exactly what I was looking for while waiting for the next William Gibson book to be released. For me, reading this book again was like a reunion with long lost friends. I mean, how can you not love a book hero/protagonist named Hiro Protagonist?? And he's the best sword fighter in the world -- in the metaverse, anyway. In this vision of the future, the only pizza delivery company is owned and run by the Mafia -- CosaNostra Pizza, Inc. --- and all pizzas are delivered in under thirty minutes or else. This book is just so much fun, but at the same time there is so much to think about. The state of the world where many people can't afford to live in actual houses, but live in storage units, corporations own and run burbclaves, where the wealthy families live, the mob is just another corporation. Many of these ideas have been around in science fiction for awhile, but I really enjoyed Stephenson's vision here. I was especially intrigued with the idea of hacking the brain and the Sumerian history/mythology was fun too. Hiro and Y.T., the fifteen year old Kourier and his sometime business partner have great sarcastic voices with lots of social commentary.
I thought this book stood up to re-reading and would definitely suggest it to friends - especially as a follow up to Gibson and other cyberpunk type books.