Following on from the patterns set by humans in the past, he creates what might be described as an electronic city. It is not made out of matter, but exists as a complex amalgamation of software, pixels, bits, sound and imagination. It"s funny that we need to model our electronic world on the city. It"s a great metaphor for hypertext, but that"s only the beginning. We know that the city is about communication. We know that the city deals with people interacting on a high level. Stephenson suggests with his Metaverse that it is possible to create a city entirely distant from the haptic, based entirely on the concept of ideas, information and communication.
So why do we strive to emulate physical reality in cyberspace? The Metaverse in Snow Crash comes so close to reality that it almost lies atop of it, just like the life size map of the Empire in the Borges Fable [see Baudrillard, Simulacra & Simulation]. Avatars, designed to mimic the physical bodies of real people walk streets which look like real streets. Inhabitants within the Metaverse, check in at the office, they locate documents in folders in filing cabinets, they find information in libraries. How antiquated can you get?
Whatever, you might find in our
physical world down here on earth, you are sure to find in the
Metaverse. Except of course it's not
quite as good, because there are gaps in the software: no skies,