Love at first page

I think I’m in love.

In a moment of distraction, I picked up Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash just to have a peek. I intended to read it later because I’m already reading several books at once, but then… THIS opening paragraph >>

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He’s got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachno-fiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.

I’m a sucker for a good opening paragraph anyway, but this one has everything: a killer narrative style, a strong voice, new language, a wren hitting a patio door (!), and the promise of a well-built and detailed world…. oh my. This is some mighty fine story-alchemy.

The next few pages carry it on. Read and wallow in this Goodness>

The Deliverator’s car has enough potential energy packed into its batteries to fire a pound of bacon into the Asteroid Belt. Unlike a bimbo box or a Burb beater, the Deliverator’s car unloads that power through gaping, gleaming, polished sphincters. When the Deliverator puts the hammer down, shit happens. You want to talk contact patches? Your car’s tires have tiny contact patches, talk to the asphalt in four places the size of your tongue. The Deliverator’s car has big sticky tires with contact patches the size of a fat lady’s thighs. The Deliverator is in touch with the road, starts like a bad day, stops on a peseta.

Right after this (warning: minor set-up spoiler), it’s revealed that the main character, “the Deliverator”, is a high-speed pizza delivery boy who has never delivered a pizza in more than 21 minutes. Also, his name is Hiro Protagonist. That makes me so happy.

The secondary character is a skateboard Kourier with a chest that “glitters like a general’s with a hundred little ribbons and medals, except each rectangle is not a ribbon, it is a bar code” (to give her access to certain areas), and she carries an electromagnetic poon, which looks like “some kind of strange wide-angle intergalactic death ray” and is used to hook cars so she can get a speed-tow. When Hiro busts out some dodgy manoeuvres to try to shake her off his car, she communicates with him by casually slapping stickers onto his windows that say stuff like, “THAT WAS STALE” or “SMOOTH MOVE, EX-LAX.”

This is all right in the opening pages, and that’s me hooked. I’m all in. My other books are forgotten… left looking on forlornly as I head off into Mr. Stephenson’s world. Farewell.

 

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