Snow Crash was written by Neal Stephenson and published

in 1992. The novel touches upon the topics of technology,

information, computer science, and philosophy. The main

character, appropriately named Hiro Protagonist delivers

pizza for Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizza Inc., but in the

Metaverse (Virtual Reality Network) he's a katana wielding

warrior. Hiro gets involved with the enigma of a new

computer virus that's infecting hackers everywhere. He

navigates the neon-lit streets with a mission of locating and

neutralizing a new villain who is trying to bring

forth the Infocalypse. Neal Stephenson paints a vivid world filled with astonishing multifaceted characters, diverse city states and uncanny

descriptions of future technology and global networking. For

instance a Google Earth-like system was described in great

detail with remarkably similar functionality to that common

piece of software we use to find directions, discover new

places and enjoy high resolution aerial images. Snow Crash

also addresses the issues of linguistics, history, religion as

well as politics, which are tremendously interesting and

compelling, however not as suited to my direction in this

particular project. For the purposes of my industrial design thesis I had focused on the development of the technology that was described in

the novel. Neal Stephenson provides rather detailed function

and use scenarios of these systems in the book. I chose to

focus on certain items described in greater detail since they

would hold a great amount of viewer interest in either a

feature film or a video game, while maintaining a style and

visual aspects a modern consumer of entertainment expects.

"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 thigh" Neal Stephenson. "Snow Crash." 1992.

This excerpt talks about a pizza delivery vehicle operated by

the main character. Vivid descriptions like this one made my

job as a designer relatively easy since not only did I get the

general aesthetic direction but also some indication of the

emotion that the product evokes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motion pictures--Setting and scenery; Video games--Design

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Stan Rickel

Advisor/Committee Member

Shaun Foster

Advisor/Committee Member

Peter Byrne


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at PN1995.9.S4 S62 2013


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