Lovers of Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel, Snow Crash, may have some trouble finding the right words to describe what they’re feeling now that a television series based on the iconic cyberpunk story has been reported as “in development” at HBO Max. The seminal book, often hailed as a must-read for sci-fi fans, attempted the leap from page to screen on multiple occasions before now. But, like a detained Kourier, languished for years, prevented from going. This time could be the real deal though, especially considering the talent behind the project, as well as HBO Max’s urgent need for good, original content.
Deadline reported on the announcement of this new attempt at a Snow Crash adaptation, highlighting the team of creators who have already signed on for the project. A team that includes: Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 21 Jump Street), director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), and co-showrunner Angela Robinson (who wrote for series including True Blood and How to Get Away with Murder).
One of the covers of Stephenson’s novel. RA.AZ
No other details have been provided regarding anything like number of episodes, budget, or if Stephenson himself will serve as some kind of supervising producer, but Deadline does say that the show is a drama series, which means we can likely expect hour-long episodes. It could also be speculated—very speculated—that the series will be a limited run, and not necessarily sprawl for seasons on end through the story’s world made up of “burbclaves,” corporate-owned state entities, and action-packed pizza deliveries. This is because Cornish already wrote a feature film adaptation of the book back in 2012, which could possibly imply he already has a relatively tightly packed story in mind. (But again, just speculation!)
For those who haven’t had a chance to get lost in the bizarre, thrilling, sometimes overwhelming world of Snow Crash, the most important thing to know is that the story takes place in 21st century Los Angeles, sometime after a major economic collapse, and centers on hacker and pizza delivery driver, Hiro Protagonist, and skateboard Kourier, Yours Truly (Y.T.), as they pursue the source of a mysterious, harmful drug known as “Snow Crash.” In the book, Snow Crash can take the form of a powerful narcotic or even a digital file, and opens people up to receiving a neuro-linguistic virus that can reprogram their brains.
“Snow Crash” by @nealstephenson is 1 of 2 books @Google ‘s Sergey Brin says changed his life http://t.co/yIQHKPYCQd pic.twitter.com/AfZDE1jTtQ
— Book Patrol (@bookpatrol) July 21, 2015
The book’s iconic take on a virtual-reality version of the internet, dubbed the “Metaverse,” is one of its most popular aspects, and has been cited as a big influence on Ready Player One—a much later VR-centric novel that has already managed to find its way onto the silver screen. Snow Crash is also often credited as the impetus for the widespread use of the word “avatar” when referring to one’s persona in the digital world.
Obviously it’s too soon to get our hopes up that this is the Snow Crash adaptation that will actually come to fruition, but considering the novel’s popularity and influence on the sci-fi genre, the stars have to align at some point. “All information looks like noise until you break the code,” after all.
What do you think about the possibility of a Snow Crash TV adaptation? Will HBO Max finally be able to deliver the delicious, steamin’ series that nobody else could, or is the project going to cost too many Ed Meeses to pan out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Feature image: Bob Lee