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Real World or Fake World? Science Fiction not only deals with science in todays world, but also with science in the future. In the futuristic novel Snow Crash, by Neal Stevenson, and in the movie The Matrix computers become a huge part of the future society. Even though technology advances so much in futuristic societies, these futuristic societies still share some of the same aspects of todays world. Snow Crash and The Matrix express what life in the future might become. Both the novel and the movie have similarities and differences. Snow Crash is a novel dealing with the near future.
Even though the characters live on the west coast of the Americas, the whole world has been destroyed by humans. In this book the main characters and any other human are able to freely choose between two worlds. The Matrix also takes place in the future. The Matrix is a futuristic time when the world has become dark and gloomy from the result of machines that were built by humans taking over and controlling their creators. Already there are similarities between these two works. Slowly the humans destroy their own civilizations over time in one way or the other. One aspect the future holds in these works is the idea of having two different worlds. In the film the two different worlds are the realistic world in which machines use humans as energy sources, and the matrix. In the matrix humans are unaware they are in a fake world unless they are freed and detached from the system which controls them. Until they are detached or if they are never detached, humans have no idea of what the real world is. In the novel the characters are totally aware when they go into the fake world which is referred to in the novel as the metaverse. In the novel the real world is so destroyed that the metaverse is a way for society to get away from it and be who they want to be instead of who they are. Humans are able to choose who their avatar, or what their character is, in the metaverse. They are free to be who they want to be with only a few limitations. For example, they are not allowed to be any size they want to be because if they decided to be a large avatar there would be a metaverse filled with giants overwhelming the other avatars.
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The difference in the metaverse is that the humans are putting themselves into this fake world. The two different worlds are both associated with the future in the novel Snow Crash and also in the movie The Matrix. There are also dangers presented in both of these futuristic works. In the movie The Matrix there is a danger of the conscious human beings entering the matrix. They can die while they are plugged into the matrix since their mind and soul dies and there is nothing left to control their physical bodies. Because of this when they are in the matrix they always have the chance of getting killed, but they do it anyway. They take the risk because they feel the need to get into the matrix. They feel they have responsibilities to free the people of the matrix so they will be able to also live in the real world and be concious of what is going on. In the novel the peoples motive is a little bit different. The characters are fully aware of where they are and feel the need to help the people by getting rid of this new drug, snow crash. If something unexpected happens in the metaverse they just get disconnected. The effect of the drug snow crash can be related to the real lives of the people in The Matrix. Snow crash is a drug that ruins a person in the metaverse as well as outside of the metaverse. The drug paralizes the body and scrambles up the character in the metaverse. The body is still there but the mind cannot function properly anymore. This can be related to the way humans are in the film when they are plugged into the matrix by the machines. Their bodies are used to get energy from so that the machines are able to function. The bodies remain motionless, similar to the way a body is when it has been in contact with the snow crash drug. The main characters also have similarities and differences. In the novel the main character is Hiro Protagonist and in the movie the main characters name is Neo.
Both of these names give an idea of who they are in the storyline. Hiro is for the hero in the story and Neo is for new. Hiro tries to save the day when he researches the new drug snow crash. He also is a swordfighter who made up his own rules in the black sun and a pizza guy who works for the mafia. Since Hiro is a master coder he helps to create the metaverse. This gives him an advantage because he is able to understand the metaverse, especially the Black Sun where he spent most of his time. The fact that Neo does not know the difference between the two worlds is where Neo starts off with a disadvantage. In the beginning Neo is unable to understand and read the matrix. Neos special part in the movie as the main character is the ability he eventually develops to be able to read the code of the matrix. He is also a fighter like Hiro. He is able to defeat anyone because of this ability to read code that he develops. Unlike Hiro, Neo receives the title of being the chosen one. Neo represents the new life or the new hope that is created by him being the chosen one. Both of the main characters have curious minds, and they are quick learners which helps them adapt to their special roles. The second main character in the novel is YT and in the movie Trinity. Both of these characters are females. They support the main characters. YT is Hiros side kick or partner and Trinity is part of Neos support system and also a lover. They both believe in the main characters. YT risks her life in order to gain information for Hiro. For example, when YT is with Raven he gets drugged, so she risks her life to go and talk to Hiro to let him know what is going on (383,3). Trinity also helps Neo by her love she has for him. She saves him with her kiss when he is killed in the matrix. The role of the secondary character supports todays idea of females not being as important as males. Females are slowly moving away from that stereotype. When these stories were created the authors probably believed they would be related to better if the main characters were males and not females. That is one reason why these two characters support the main characters in these science fictions. The future society in the book does not have very many values at all. In Snow Crash the federal government does not really mean much to the people unless they are employed by them like YTs mother. She is an applications programmer. All federal workers have to take polygraph tests and get their blood drawn at random times for the government when they ask for it. This means there is no privacy in their lives because the government is able to access any information the person knows or has done. The government controls their workers. This is also true of the matrix but in a different way. The machines are able to control most of the humans and keep them contained in the matrix. This way they have control of any decisions and actions the humans make because they are not real. Whatever they decide does not matter in the real world, only in the matrix. Unlike the humans who live in the real world, like Trinity, Morphius, and Neo, they cannot control where they are and have no way of determining what they are going to do next. In the film the government in the matrix is controlled by agents. They are the super characters who are able to read code and move like no one else until Neo comes along. The agents feel threatened because this has never happened before. They have never been challenged before so they are used to all of the control. The governments are a very strong part of the future in both of the stories. The technology in the stories are all dangerous. In the movie the machines take over the human population. They need the humans to survive because of the energy they get from the humans. The machines control every aspect of the matrix except for the part where the humans are able to go in and out of the matrix with the use of telephones. They get to control when they are in the matrix and when they are not in the matrix unlike the people with no choice. The humans are a big threat to the machines because they can mess up the matrix and their whole energy source. In the novel technology is used to get away from the real world on purpose. Machines have not yet taken over the human population in this science fiction but they have the potential because of this new drug snow crash. Snow crash leaves people brain dead and unable to think for themselves. Without the role of technology there would be no snow crash.
Therefore, technology has been implied as a negative aspect of the futuristic world. The head of the mafia, Uncle Enzo, in the book can also be related to the character Morphious in the movie. The head of the mafia has control of characters and Morphious has control of his ship. He runs operations and commands just like Uncle Enzo. They both have people dedicated enough to them that they would give up their lives to serve Uncle Enzo or Morphious. Both of these characters have a lot of respect from the other people in the science fictions. Uncle Enzo also fathers YT in a way because she did him a favor. He gives her a dog tag that is supposed to protect her. Morphius is like a father figure for Trinity. He brings her into the real world and teaches her what she needs to know. Both Uncle Enzo and Morphious influence the secondary characters. The end of the novel can also be compared to the end of the film. Both of the endings do not really end the stories. The characters just continue to go on with their lives without any direct or specific end. After Neo has discovered his ability to see through the matrix, he has unlimited possibilities to what he is capable of doing. He just flies away in the ending, leaving room for the audience to question. A similar ending is presented in by Snow Crash. Nothing stops in the novel. YT is picked up by her mom and life goes on. Again there is an unlimited amount of possibilities to what can happen. This leaves the reader or viewer in a puzzled state of mind. These endings kind of support the idea of science fiction. There is no definite way the future will be because the future is unpredictable. People are only able to make guesses about the possibilities. The Matrix and Snow Crash deal with technology and the way the future can be. The two works have many similarities and differences. They both come together because they are both science fiction. They both leave the mind wondering about how the future will be one day. The sad thing is that only time will be able to tell what the future turns out to be, and who likes to wait?
The Matrix. Dir. The Wachowski Bros. with Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn. Warner Bros, 2001. DVD. Stevenson, Neal. Snow Crash. Bantam Dell 1992.