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I listened to a sci-fi audiobook about 10 years ago. I'd like to revisit it, but I can't remember the title.

Here's what I remember: The protagonist is a delivery girl with a hoverboard. American neighborhoods are now walled corporate compounds. She gets into trouble and adopts an enormous Maori ally/love interest. The villain is a Vietnam vet CEO and at the end, he faces off in hand-to-hand combat with the Maori. I remember them hunting each other in the dark. It seemed like it was at an airport.

Thank you!

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    The first bits sounded a bit like Snow Crash...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 4:22
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    Good call, it sounds like a misremembering of snow Crash. Uncle Enzo is a Vietnam vet and faces off against Raven at LAX.
    – Joelogon
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 5:27
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    @JohnRennie Not technically a hoverboard, but Y.T.'s skateboard is definitely technologically enhanced. Raven is certainly "enormous", and a love-interest/ally, and his Aleutian origin could be misremembered as Maori. "Snowcrash" seems a good ID to me. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 8:59
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    The boards in Snowcrash are powered and have enhancements. I can easily see those being mistaken for hoverboards - Smartwheels use sonar, laser range finding and millimeter wave radar to identify mufflers and other debris. Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes. Each spoke telescopes into five sections. On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom, swiveling on a ball joint. As the wheel rolls, the feet plant themselves one at a time, almost glomming into one continuous tire. If you surf over a bump, the spokes contract to roll over it."
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 12:54
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    I also immediately thought Snow Crash, and although Y.T. isn't the primary protagonist, (Hiro Protagonist is) she's certainly a major character. The burbclaves (walled communities) and everything else match up reasonably well (Aleut vs. Maori for Raven isn't tooooo far out of bounds if you're remembering "indigenous people, but specifically not Mayflower/Custer/Trail of Tears 'Native American'") Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 14:52

1 Answer 1

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I know people in the comments said this approximately three Ice Ages ago (given Internet time reckoning), but as nobody has turned this into an answer...

This sounds a great deal like Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

Matching points:

  • "The protagonist is a delivery girl with a hoverboard"

One of the main characters is Y.T., a teenage delivery girl with a fancy high-tech skateboard. She meets the main protagonist - Hiro Protagonist - during a failed delivery run and the plot continues from there.

  • "American neighborhoods are now walled corporate compounds."

One hundred percent straight from the book. The U.S. is carved up into myriad corporate fiefdoms exactly like this.

  • "She gets into trouble and adopts an enormous Maori ally/love interest."

Not exactly. Raven is a seemingly-invincible Aleutian native and the main bad guy's henchman (more or less). He kidnaps Y.T. and there's clear evidence that she is -- despite her better judgement -- attracted to him. She's a reluctant companion to him, at best.

  • "The villain is a Vietnam vet CEO and at the end, he faces off in hand-to-hand combat with the Maori."

Uncle Enzo -- the head of the Mafia corporate fiefdom to which Hiro (and Y.T.) are indebted, could be misremembered as a villain, but he's more or less a good guy. (As these things go...) He does indeed face off against Raven in hand-to-hand combat at the Los Angeles International Airport in the manner you describe.

Check out Snow Crash and see if any of that rings any bells!

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  • ^_^ No worries. I wasn't confident enough in the match to post it as an answer.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 17:44
  • Thank you for the assistance everybody! Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 6:17

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