Snow Crash is a science fiction novel by American writer Neal Stephenson, published in 1992. Like many of Stephenson's other novels it covers history, anthropology, religion, computer science, cryptography and philosophy. Stephenson explained the title of the novel in his 1999 essay "In the Beginning... Was the Command Line" as his term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. Stephenson wrote about the Macintosh that "When the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television set—a'snow crash' ". Stephenson has mentioned that Julian Jaynes' book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind was one of the main influences on Snow Crash; the book presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus.
The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah. Snow Crash was nominated for both the British Science Fiction Award in 1993, the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1994; the story opens in Los Angeles in the 21st century, an unspecified number of years after a worldwide economic collapse. Los Angeles is no longer part of the United States, as the federal government of the United States has ceded most of its power and territory to private organizations and entrepreneurs. Franchising, individual sovereignty, private vehicles reign supreme over the landscape. Mercenary armies compete for national defense contracts while private security guards preserve the peace in sovereign, gated housing developments. Highway companies compete to attract drivers to their roads and all mail delivery is by hired courier; the remnants of government maintain authority only in isolated compounds where they transact tedious make-work that is, by and large, irrelevant to the dynamic society around them.
Much of the territory ceded by the government has been carved up into sovereign enclaves, each run by its own big business franchise or the various residential burbclaves—suburban enclaves that were inspired by the quasi-sovereign gated communities legalized in California by the Davis–Stirling Common Interest Development Act. This arrangement resembles anarcho-capitalism, a theme Stephenson carries over to his next novel The Diamond Age; as described in both novels and the short story "The Great Simoleon Caper", hyperinflation has sapped the value of the US dollar to the extent that trillion dollar bills—Ed Meeses—are nearly disregarded and the quadrillion dollar note—the Gipper—is the standard'small' bill. Hyperinflation encouraged people to use electronic currency, exchanged in encrypted online transactions and is hence untaxable. For physical transactions, they resort to alternative, non-hyperinflated currencies such as yen or "Kongbucks". Hyperinflation has negatively affected much of the rest of the world, resulting in waves of desperate refugees from Asia who cross the Pacific in rickety ships hoping to arrive in North America.
The Metaverse, a phrase coined by Stephenson as a successor to the Internet, constitutes Stephenson's vision of how a virtual reality-based Internet might evolve in the near future. Resembling a massively multiplayer online game, the Metaverse is populated by user-controlled avatars as well as system daemons. Although there are public-access Metaverse terminals in Reality, using them carries a social stigma among Metaverse denizens, in part because of the poor visual representations of themselves as low-quality avatars. Status in the Metaverse is a function of two things: access to restricted environments such as the Black Sun, an exclusive Metaverse club, technical acumen, demonstrated by the sophistication of one's avatar. Hiro Protagonist is a pizza delivery driver for the Mafia, he meets Y. T. A young skateboard Kourier who refers to herself in the third person, during a failed attempt to make a delivery on time. Y. T. completes the delivery on his behalf and they strike up a partnership, gathering intel and selling it to the CIC, the for-profit organization that evolved from the CIA's merger with the Library of Congress.
Within the Metaverse, Hiro is offered a datafile named Snow Crash by a man named Raven who hints that it is a form of narcotic. Hiro's friend and fellow hacker Da5id views a bitmap image contained in the file which causes his computer to crash and Da5id to suffer brain damage in the real world. Hiro meets his ex-girlfriend Juanita Marquez, who gives him a database containing a large amount of research, positing connections between the virus, ancient Sumerian culture and the legend of Tower of Babel. Juanita disappears; the Mafia boss Uncle Enzo begins to take a paternal interest in Y. T. Impressed by her attitude and initiative, he offers her freelance jobs. Hiro's investigations and Y. T.'s intelligence gathering begin to coincide, with links between the neuro-linguistic viruses, a religious organization known as Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates and a media magnate named L. Bob Rife beginning to emerge. Juanita's research showed that the ancient Sumerian ur-language allowed brain function to be'programmed' using audio stimuli in conjunction with a DNA altering virus.
Reamde is a technothriller novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 2011. The story, set in the present day, centers on the plight of a hostage and the ensuing efforts of family and new acquaintances, many of them associated with a fictional MMORPG, to rescue her as her various captors drag her about the globe. Topics covered range from online activities including gold farming and social networking to the criminal methods of the Russian mafia and Islamic terrorists. Reamde begins by introducing two members of the Forthrast family who reconnect at an annual family reunion: Richard "Dodge" Forthrast, a middle-aged man, the second of the three Forthrast sons, Zula Forthrast, John's adopted Eritrean daughter, Richard's niece. Richard is described as "notable enough to merit a contentious Wikipedia entry", having achieved fame and a net worth of nearly one billion dollars by founding a company that designed and operates an MMORPG called "T'Rain". T'Rain is a fantasy-themed virtual world with an extensive mythological backstory, incorporating an economic system intentionally geared towards meeting the needs of conventional players as well as gold farmers, who specialize in converting in-game currency to actual hard currency.
Richard owns a cat skiing resort in British Columbia, his chequered past includes having been a marijuana smuggler. Richard decides to offer Zula a job at his company. Zula and her boyfriend, visit both the reunion and Richard's resort, located near the US–Canada border where Richard used to run drugs. Desperate for money, Peter sells a database of stolen credit card numbers to a shady contact; the transaction results in a ransomware virus infecting the deal broker's laptop, which contains the only copy of the database. The virus, named "REAMDE", affects T'Rain players by encrypting any valuable files and extorting in-game gold in exchange for a key to decrypt those files; as a consequence of the in-game payment method, chaos has been building in the virtual world around the region holding the ransom drop points. Peter and the middleman attempt to comply but take too long, the middleman's ultimate client, the Russian mob, with the assistance of their own IT support, manage to find them in Seattle.
After their predicament is explained, the gangster, notes the middleman has compromised too much of the criminal organization's activities, murders him in Peter's loft, takes Peter and Zula hostage. Ivanov has been siphoning common funds for risky profit schemes and is trying to save face before his associates punish him for his losses. With information Zula obtains from her employer, they travel to Xiamen, PRC, to track down those behind Reamde and kill them. Upon arriving in China, Zula, a Hungarian hacker offering the mafia IT support, Sokolov, a former Spetsnaz security consultant hired by Ivanov, search the city for Reamde's perpetrators locating their apartment; the Russian security team prepares to raid the gold farming team, composed of young Chinese men, only to be misdirected by Zula into a random apartment, which coincidentally happens to house Islamic terrorists preparing to bomb an international conference soon to take place in the city. Ivanov murders Peter, Abdallah Jones, a black Welshman, the head of the Islamist cell and a wanted man by the UK's MI6, murders Ivanov following a destructive battle within the building.
The gold farmers flee the building as a fire sets off the stored explosives and causes it to collapse. Jones proceeds to flee, kidnapping Zula as he goes; this crucial turning point in the plot introduces Olivia, an MI6 agent who located and was gathering intelligence on the elusive Jones in anticipation of assassinating him. The story separates into four main threads at this juncture: Zula and Jones as they flee from the scene. Jones hijacks a taxi that takes him and Zula to a dock where some of Jones' network take them aboard a boat. Csongor comes close to killing Jones but fails, while Yuxia is taken captive for her part in the attempt. Jones' men sail to an airport where he coerces Zula into helping hijack the private jet that first brought her and the Russians to China; the jet's pilots are pressed into service, flying everybody off-radar and into the snowy wilderness of Canada, where they are killed. Zula reveals her relation to Richard to keep herself alive, Jones continues to drag her around as Canadian terrorist cells are called upon to join with him.
Several civilians are murdered for their vehicles as more passably Western cell members are brought in for what will be a major attack on the Las Vegas Valley, once the US border can be crossed. They aim for Richard's use Zula as leverage to gain his assistance crossing into Idaho. Csongor and Marlon try to chase after Jones and rescue Yuxia, they make their move on the terrorist trawler after Jones and Zula have left but manage to save Yuxia and kill all of the terrorists on board. They have to learn how to sail, running out of gasoline, until they find themselves in the Philippines, making their way to a modern city where Marlon can begin to assemble his T'Rain crew to start picking up all of the Reamde extortion money and use it to assist the three of them as they try to figure out where to go next. Sokolov, hoping to kill Jones and save Zula, tracks down Olivia after their brief encounter in the immediate afterma
A debut novel is the first novel a novelist publishes. Debut novels are the author's first opportunity to make an impact on the publishing industry, thus the success or failure of a debut novel can affect the ability of the author to publish in the future. First-time novelists without a previous published reputation, such as publication in nonfiction, magazines, or literary journals struggle to find a publisher. Sometimes new novelists will self-publish their debut novels, because publishing houses will not risk the capital needed to market books by an unknown author to the public. Most publishers purchase rights to novels debut novels, through literary agents, who screen client work before sending it to publishers; these hurdles to publishing reflect both publishers' limits in resources for reviewing and publishing unknown works, that readers buy more books by established authors with a reputation than first-time writers. For this reason, literary communities have created awards that help acknowledge exceptional debut novels.
In contemporary British and American publishing markets, most authors receive only a small monetary advance before publication of their debut novel. For an example of an unusually high advance: in 2013, the anticipated City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg captured the attention of ten publishers who started a bidding war that ended with Knopf buying the rights to the book for 2 million dollars; the book's film production rights were purchased soon after by producer Scott Rudin. For similar reasons that advances are not large—novels don't sell well until the author gains a literary reputation. There are exceptions, however; the novel saw huge sales because she had an established audience, publishers were willing to run a large print run. By comparison, bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey sold 14,814 copies in its first week, or popular novels, like Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, only receive small initial print runs. Debut novels that do well will be reprinted as sales increase due to word of mouth popularity of the novels — publishers don't run large marketing campaigns for debut novelists.
There are numerous literary prizes for debut novels associated with genre or nationality. These prizes are in recognition of the difficulties faced by debut novelists and bring attention to deserving works and authors; some of the more prestigious awards around the world include the American Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the French Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, the British Guardian First Book Award, the German Aspekte-Literaturpreis and the Japanese Noma Literary Prize. The New York Times commentator Leslie Jamison described the big, very public, "to do" about debut novels and novelists created by these book awards, as associated with the excitement of finding authors and writers without established legacies. In the same piece for the Times, Ayana Mathis describes the debut novel as a "a piece of the writer’s soul in a way that subsequent books can’t be", because the novel is a work of passion and a product of all of their life before that moment. An author's first novel will not be as complex stylistically or thematically as subsequent works and will not feature the author's typical literary characteristics.
Huffington Post's Dave Astor attributes these to two forces: first that authors are still learning their own unique style and audiences are more willing to read works from unknown authors if they resemble more conventional styles of literature. As examples, Astor points to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman and Charles Dickens' The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, all of which lack the complexity or stylistic characteristics which audiences praise in the authors' work. Sometimes, instead of writing novels to begin their career, some authors will start with short stories, which can be easier to publish and allow authors to get started in writing fiction. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest attested usage of "first novel" is from 1876. However, the term is much older, with instances going back to at least 1800; the Oxford English Dictionary doesn't have an entry for "debut novel." The earliest usage of "debut novel" in the Google Books database is 1930.
The Google Books Ngram Viewer shows it becoming more used after about 1980, gaining in popularity since
Massachusetts the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, New York to the west; the state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history and industry. Dependent on agriculture and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, higher education and maritime trade. Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine.
Plymouth was founded in 1620 by passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution; the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements.
In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U. S. state to recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university, Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most regarded academic institutions in the world.
Massachusetts' public-school students place among the top tier in the world in academic performance, the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the United States for citizens to live in, as well as one of the most expensive. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett derived from a Wôpanâak word muswach8sut, segmented as mus "big" + wach8 "mountain" + -s "diminutive" + -ut "locative", it has been translated as "near the great hill", "by the blue hills", "at the little big hill", or "at the range of hills", referring to the Blue Hills, or in particular the Great Blue Hill, located on the boundary of Milton and Canton. Alternatively, Massachusett has been represented as Moswetuset—from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock in Quincy, where Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish, hired English military officer, Squanto, part of the now disappeared Patuxet band of the Wampanoag peoples, met Chief Chickatawbut in 1621; the official name of the state is the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
While this designation is part of the state's official name, it has no practical implications. Massachusetts has powers within the United States as other states, it may have been chosen by John Adams for the second draft of the Massachusetts Constitution because unlike the word "state", "commonwealth" at the time had the connotation of a republic, in contrast to the monarchy the former American colonies were fighting against. Massachusetts was inhabited by tribes of the Algonquian language family such as the Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc and Massachusett. While cultivation of crops like squash and corn supplemented their diets, these tribes were dependent on hunting and fishing for most of their food. Villages consisted of lodges called wigwams as well as longhouses, tribes were led by male or female elders known as sachems. In the early 1600s, after contact had been made with Europeans, large numbers of the indigenous peoples in the northeast of what is now the United States were killed by virgin soil epidemics such as smallpox, measles and leptospirosis.
Between 1617 and 1619, smallpox killed ap
Interface is a 1994 novel by Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George and published under the joint pseudonym Stephen Bury. Reprints of the novel have credited the work to George, it is a thriller, set in the then-future year of 1996 when a shadowy coalition bent on controlling the world economy attempts to manipulate a candidate for president of the United States through the use of a computer biochip brain implant. It was described by writer Cory Doctorow in 2007 as an "underappreciated masterpiece". Illinois governor William Cozzano suffers a stroke. Meanwhile, in a separate subplot, African-American Eleanor Richmond and living in a trailer park, discovers that her husband has committed suicide in their repossessed former home. An underground business coalition called the Network arranges for Cozzano to have a biochip implanted and for him to run for President of the United States; the Network is made up of a number of large fictional companies, with parallels in real business entities. Richmond, after verbally humiliating a local racist cable TV Public-access television talk show personality, running for Senate, has since found herself working in the offices of a Republican Colorado senator.
After an event where she accused the citizens of Colorado of being welfare queens, she finds herself in the public eye as a candidate for Cozzano's running mate. The Network's ability to perceive public opinion, skewed on the night of the vice presidential debate by a twist of fate, makes them select Richmond as vice presidential candidate, their canny act of public relations work enables Cozzano to save his Presidential campaign. President-elect Cozzano is shot at his inauguration by a psychotic former factory worker who has learned of the entirety of the Network's plans, he dies instantly. Richmond becomes the first female President of the United States. Eleanor Richmond, protagonist William Cozzano, governor of Illinois Mary Catherine Cozzano, his daughter and a neurologist Cy Ogle, campaign manager Dr. Radhakrishnan, neurosurgeon
A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. There are several forms of role-playing games; the original form, sometimes called the tabletop role-playing game, is conducted through discussion, whereas in live action role-playing, players physically perform their characters' actions. In both of these forms, an arranger called a game master decides on the rules and setting to be used, while acting as the referee. Several varieties of RPG exist in electronic media, such as multiplayer text-based Multi-User Dungeons and their graphics-based successors, massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Role-playing games include single-player role-playing video games in which players control a character, or team of characters, who undertake quests, may include player capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics.
These electronic games sometimes share settings and rules with tabletop RPGs, but emphasize character advancement more than collaborative storytelling. This type of game is well-established, so some RPG-related game forms, such as trading/collectible card games and wargames, may not be included under the definition; some amount of role-playing activity may be present in such games. The term role-playing game is sometimes used to describe games involving roleplay simulation and exercises used in teaching and academic research. Both authors and major publishers of tabletop role-playing games consider them to be a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Events and narrative structure give a sense of a narrative experience, the game need not have a strongly-defined storyline. Interactivity is the crucial difference between traditional fiction. Whereas a viewer of a television show is a passive observer, a player in a role-playing game makes choices that affect the story; such role-playing games extend an older tradition of storytelling games where a small party of friends collaborate to create a story.
While simple forms of role-playing exist in traditional children's games of make believe, role-playing games add a level of sophistication and persistence to this basic idea with additions such as game facilitators and rules of interaction. Participants in a role-playing game will generate an ongoing plot. A consistent system of rules and a more or less realistic campaign setting in games aids suspension of disbelief; the level of realism in games ranges from just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story or credible challenge up to full-blown simulations of real-world processes. Role-playing games are played in a wide variety of formats ranging from discussing character interaction in tabletop form to physically acting out characters in LARP to playing characters in digital media. There is a great variety of systems of rules and game settings. Games that emphasize plot and character interaction over game mechanics and combat sometimes prefer the name storytelling game; these types of games tend to minimize or altogether eliminate the use of dice or other randomizing elements.
Some games are played with characters created before the game by the GM, rather than those created by the players. This type of game is played at gaming conventions, or in standalone games that do not form part of a campaign. Tabletop and pen-and-paper RPGs are conducted through discussion in a small social gathering; the GM describes its inhabitants. The other players describe the intended actions of their characters, the GM describes the outcomes; some outcomes are determined by the game system, some are chosen by the GM. This is the format; the first commercially available RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, was inspired by fantasy literature and the wargaming hobby and was published in 1974. The popularity of D&D led to the birth of the tabletop role-playing game industry, which publishes games with many different themes and styles of play; the popularity of tabletop games has decreased since the modern releases of online MMO RPGs. This format is referred to as a role-playing game. To distinguish this form of RPG from other formats, the retronyms tabletop role-playing game or pen and paper role-playing game are sometimes used, though neither a table nor pen and paper are necessary.
A LARP is played more like improvisational theatre. Participants act out their characters' actions instead of describing them, the real environment is used to represent the imaginary setting of the game world. Players are costumed as their characters and use appropriate props, the venue may be decorated to resemble the fictional setting; some live action role-playing games use rock-paper-scissors or comparison of attributes to resolve conflicts symbolically, while other LARPs use physical combat with simulated arms such as airsoft guns or foam weapons. LARPs vary in size from a handful of players to several thousand, in duration from a couple of hours to several days; because the number of players in a LARP is larger than in a tabletop role-playing game, the players may be interacting in separate physical spaces, there is less of an emphasis on maintaining a narrative or directly entertai