Neuromancer was my first literary exposure to cyberpunk, and it’s pretty good–but, man, is it a slog. I get what Gibson was trying to do, but the style was very dry, and self-indulgently noir in a way that I found off-putting. And nothing. Effing. HAPPENED. I mean, I know it did, but the whole thing felt incredibly slow. I much preferred Count Zero, actually, as well as the Burning Chrome compilation. Snow Crash, on the other hand, was extremely engaging, though it was (IMHO) more mainstream; while the tech was in it, there were a lot of other things going on. That being said, Neal Stephenson can’t write a damn ending to save his life. Great ideas. . .and then GRIND go the brakes. I don’t think that anything else needed to happen, but I think that they conclusion needed to be paced better. It’s not that I wanted an epilogue; I just wanted to avoid narrative whiplash.
To me, Neuromancer is left-brained, Snow Crash is right-brained. And this is coming from someone who thinks the whole brain hemisphere thing is only slightly less bunk than, say, astrology and phrenology. But you get what I mean. IMHO, Snow Crash is the more satisfying read, but it all comes down to personal taste. Neuromancer established the cyberpunk genre as a mainstream movement, and Snow Crash morphed it to post-cyberpunk (and, IMHO, mainstreamed it even more in the process; the inclusion of the spiritual in his books is compelling, but it’s also a bit of a sop to people who aren’t as into the hard technical elements).
I think that Snow Crash is the better book, but Neuromancer is the more important book. But YMM most definitely V.