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Please help me to identify this book that I've read in early 00s (but might be bit older):

  • While there are no cyborgizations, big portion of the book takes place in the Virtual Reality, hence you can call it a cyberpunk. Other characteristic elements of this genre like fall of governments in favour of commercial corporations is also present.
  • Main character is half black, half Japanese part time programmer, but his day job is pizza delivery. On both jobs he always carries his ancestral katana.

  • Above mentioned pizza delivery is controlled by Mafia - with the collapse of USA, the "Family" became legal organisation. If the delivery takes longer than 30 minutes, the Don himself gives you his apologies and provides you with Italian citizenship.

  • Second protagonist is a foul-mouthed teenage girl working as a skateboard courier. She also wears quite nasty anti-rape device.
  • The main villain is (if my memory is right) somewhere from the fallen Soviet Union. He butchered a submarine crew, stole one nuclear warhead and declared himself "a country with nuclear armament" thus making himself protected from criminal law (since you can't arrest a country).
  • The main story involves a computer virus, somehow related to Sumerian (?) goddess, that generates a "white noise" images making people go insane.
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    Eeek, I feel now like asking for a "title of a book where little guy has to throw a ring to a volcano"... I knew almost everything about it except the title.
    – Yasskier
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:46
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    I'm most amused by the fact the the bullet points list a "second protagonist", but the book's primary protagonist, whose name is HERO PROTAGONIST, is listed as the "main character".
    – Ross
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:59
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    @Ross: the main character's name is "Hiro Protagonist". His mother was Japanese, after all :)
    – db48x
    Oct 12, 2016 at 22:16
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    Sounds like a normal day in Shadowrun...
    – JFBM
    Oct 13, 2016 at 6:53
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    If you copy and paste the title of this post word-for-word into Google, Snow Crash is one of the first results.
    – David
    Oct 13, 2016 at 15:57

2 Answers 2

109

That's definitely Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Hiro Protagonist is a hacker and pizza delivery driver for the mafia. He meets Y.T. (short for Yours Truly), a young skateboard Kourier (courier), 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 selling it to the CIC, the for-profit organization that evolved from the CIA's merger with the Library of Congress.

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    Somehow I was half-way through re-reading the book before I noticed it wasn’t just Hiro’s surname that was a joke.
    – PLL
    Oct 13, 2016 at 18:06
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    I listened to the audiobook and thought it was "Hero Protagonist". Oct 13, 2016 at 20:29
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    I haven't even read the book and this was my first thought Oct 14, 2016 at 6:37
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    @NateDiamond I heard it mentally as "hire a protagonist".
    – SQB
    Oct 14, 2016 at 7:33
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    @pll: It is rather impressive just how many people only realize late in the book, if at all, that it is a parody of the cyberpunk tropes of the time. Stephenson is just too good a writer; we accept the exaggerations and absurdities because the world he creates is self-consistent, the characters are well drawn, and the story barrels along like a roller coaster, carefully designed to be just on the edge of tearing itself apart but never crossing that line. Quite an impressive bit of sleight-of-hand.
    – keshlam
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:30
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Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.

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  • Thanks, that's it. Just for the future reference, please provide in answers bit more information than just a link :)
    – Yasskier
    Oct 12, 2016 at 21:39
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    Fair enough, but I figured the question already had all the important details
    – db48x
    Oct 12, 2016 at 22:15
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    @db48x The point of having details in the answer is to show that the book you found matches the OPs description. Oct 13, 2016 at 7:43
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    +1 for adding the name of the author (which the other answer does not).
    – luator
    Oct 13, 2016 at 12:14

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