Battle Royale!

Jake Karlsruher

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….

Neal Stephenson: Who would win in a fight: Raven or Anakin Skywalker?

Sci-Fi aficionado Jake “Kar-El” Karlsruher: Let me first say that a fight of this epic-nitude could tear a hole in the Universe….or the Metaverse…or the Galactic Republic.

God: I’ll allow it.

Jake:  Good.  Then let me tackle the question, Neal. Now I have to ask, which Anakin?

Neal:  Well phrased.  Let’s use yellow-eyed, slay-all-the-younglings Anakin.

anakin-thumb

Jake:  Fair.  Well, Anakin’s got the whole Midichlorian thing going for him.  Allow me to level the playing field.  We’ll set the battle in the Mustafar Region, in a scene similar to that of the closing duel in Revenge of the Sith.

George Lucas: Granted.

Jake:  That way, Raven can get his surf on and Anakin can demonstrate both poor gymnastics and bad acting (“Don’t try it Anakin, I have the higher ground!”  “You underestimate my power”)

Neal: Mr. Kar-El, please stop free-associating and stay on topic: the fight, sir.

Jake: I apologize, I digress.  But, before we get to the fight, we need to examine each character’s motivation; a fighter is only as strong as his desire to win. Both Raven and Anakin are filled with passion.  Raven hates America, and wishes beyond all else to see its destruction.  Unfortunately for him we are in the Mustafar Region, not America.  However, he also feels a strong loyalty to his cause, the one that saved him from his troubled ways.  Skywalker, on the other hand, feels no special allegiance.  Throughout all of the new movies, Anakin is generally confused about his purpose (or maybe that’s just Haden Christiansen).

Haden Christiansen:  Heard that.

George Lucas: Can’t argue with facts, Haden.

Jake: If I may continue, George *he sulks*, I was going to get to the fight.  Raven will quickly find that his glass knives are useless; they will melt from the heat of the lava. Limited to only his spears, Raven quickly loses any advantage he held.  I’m going to give the edge to the guy that can move stuff with his mind.  After a couple triple back flips and poor dialogue, I see Anakin lopping Raven’s head off… and then the nuke goes off.

Neal: Uh-Oh, probably should have seen that coming

George Lucas: F#@!

Haden: Huh?

God: Wow, I am so flooding you guys.

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I Fought the Law and the…..Law Lost!

by Evan Schrager

Stephenson’s depiction of the future world is rather extreme-the laws of our current society seem to have vanished. The pizza delivery cars are allowed to drive at ludicrous speeds (no pun intended). I like his introduction of the “pooning” concept. I think the new magnetic device is a realistic invention that could exist in the future. The Kouriers can be compared to a futuristic hitch hiker-except it is their decision whether or not they “grab a ride”. And if these pooning devices really did exist, attaching to any old car would certainly be illegal. Y.T.’s escape from The Clink also expresses the lack of law enforcement in future America.

Stephenson’s future society is obsessed with the flow of information. Obsessed. There are an abundant number of hackers, whose job it is to find more and more information, ‘til they drop dead. In the meantime, they hope they hit the jackpot by finding out some extraordinary piece of information that somebody in the world needs. The Metaverse allows for the exchange of this information smoothly, through the hypercards. Computer viruses still exist and serve the same purpose they do today, as they crashed Da5id’s computer.

Snow Crash immerses you in the new society-immediacy is definitely achieved in scenes such as the pizza delivery, as well as the fight between Raven and the group of crips in the high grass. An example of hypermediacy can be seen as well, in the sword fight between Hiro and the Nipponese businessman. He cuts him up into pieces, but we know that it was a fake sword fight-the victim’s body frame lay on the floor without insides. This is an obvious reminder that the sword fight was not real. But he can’t respawn for about 5 minutes. Sucker!

While the rules of society seem a bit absurd, the people in the story still act like human beings. The lack of law leaves room for villains such as Raven to wreak havoc at their disposal. His “super-knife” scares me because it passed the metal detector test-what if people with cruel intentions decide to bring them onto a plane in the future, slicing and dicing whoever they wish? In order to prevent our society from becoming the society in Snow Crash, we must uphold the law under all circumstances.