The last time we see Y.T.'s mom in Snow Crash, its to pick her daughter up and take her home. The second to last time, she's being interrogated by the Fed (her employer), because they keep their employees under surveillance and they know Y.T. has been growing suspicious of their activities, and broke her mother's computer.

In this second to last scene, Y.T.'s mom is in a darkened room, strapped in place, injected full of chemicals, being asked questions by a computerized voice.

"What is it you want to know?" she says. "Why don't you just come out and ask me directly? Let's talk about this face to face. Just sit down together in a room like adults and talk about it."

She feels another sharp prick in her arm, feels numbness and coldness spreading all across her body over an interval of a couple seconds as the drug mixes with her bloodstream. It's getting harder to follow the conversation.

"What is your name?" the voice says.

The Feds know Y.T.'s mom is hiding something here and she's in pretty dire straits. But this scene ends, and next time she shows up, everything appears to be fine and she's being reunited with her daughter. It seems entirely inconsistent.

How could Y.T.'s mom have gotten herself out of the mess she was in in the scene above, and been able to arrive and tie everything up in a happy ending?

1 Answer 1


There's no canon answer, but I think the following two aspects of the situation probably apply:

  1. Y.T.'s mom didn't do much of anything.
  2. From the Feds' point of view, Y.T. had been neutralized and was off the board.

Firstly, Y.T.'s mom wasn't hiding much, or doing much of a job of hiding anything. She was reticent to describe her daughter's crazy behavior and repeat Y.T.'s allegations against the Feds, but they already knew more than she did, and the drug-influenced questioning probably made that abundantly clear to everyone.

So she's in trouble. Maybe even BIG trouble. But Fed trouble. Marietta is going to really slam her on her review this year. She can kiss her chances of a pay grade rise goodbye for the next, oh, lifetime or so. But she's not going into the Hoosegow. She didn't technically do anything except not be forthcoming the second they started questioning her. Not enough for them to detain her once:

Secondly, after they interviewed her, they trapped and bagged Y.T. Using - I'm looking at this through a Feds eyes, here - heroic measures, they captured a prime player that was opposing the conspiracy of which they were a part. And they handed her over to Rife. They didn't stick needles in and question her, they didn't clap her in the Clink, they quietly handed her over to the boss and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

...and that's where it ends, for the Feds. By the end of the novel, they know nothing about what's going on. The coup on the raft, Y.T.'s escape... it's incredibly unlikely they know anything about that. At best, they know that the bomb was defused by Hiro, since that happened in a public place. The helicopter chase, the pooning, the showdown at the airport... It's unlikely that the only Fed on the helicopter manages to even call anyone and tell them about the helicopter being grounded, and he doesn't even know her name:

The new guy looks crestfallen. "Greg Ritchie," he says.

Then, when no one seems to react, he jogs their memory. "President of the United States."


"Don't mind me," Y.T. says, when Ritchie looks her way. "I'm a hostage."

Even if he did call, there's no way it percolated through Fedland with any speed or informational value... certainly not enough to connect to Y.T.'s mom.

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