Well, I remembered this book quite fondly, and might have enjoyed continuing to remember it fondly, but it’s a little rough going some 30 years on and a second time through. The book starts at full throttle and is a lot of fun for a while. Hiro Protagonist is the world’s best hacker, swordsman, and pizza delivery driver until a an eff-up at the chain causes him to be late on a delivery. This normally wouldn’t be a big deal, except that all pizza delivery is now mob-owned and no one is ever late (twice). He runs across YT (Yours Truly) a 15 year old skate-messenger who tells Hiro that she’ll take the pizza to the place, and almost makes it. This sets off a chain of events that involves the mob, a virus designed to erase brains (more or less), ancient language coding, a talking version of Wikipedia that sounds a lot more advanced, but really is about 2005 era tech, and a giant floating city full of immigrants. And swords, and missiles, and chastity belts (well, offensive ones instead of defensive).
And again, it all really should be as fun as I remember it but two things comes through. One, it feels very much like a first novel, and would be granted all the first-novel grace we give to young writers, but it’s I think it’s a third novel, and I recently read novel number two, Zodiac, and thought it was really good. So this one just ends up deflating a little more for me. Second issue, the middle is actually boring. The tension is high at the beginning, and at the end, and low low low in the middle.