H is for Hiro Protagonist

I was on the fence for “H”, waffling between this guy and Humbert Humbert from Nabokov’s Lolita. Ultimately, I went with Hiro mainly because I got a better initial doodle of him on Saturday night, but also because there really is no description of Humbert in Lolita–or, rather, there is no reliable description of him. Humbert describes himself as being rakishly handsome, but like the rest of his narration in the novel, that’s a bit dubious.  Instead, I went with this guy: cyberpunk hacker, expert sword-fighter, pizza delivery guy… Hiro Protagonist.

H is for Hiro Protagonist – From Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson

One interesting thing I stumbled upon when working on this is a website that uses police composite software to generate images of literary characters based on their written descriptions. There’s a write-up on it here. It’s a cool idea, but I thought the image if Hiro it generated just looked like an Asian guy with dreadlocks, rather than a mainly African-looking man with Asian-ish eyes, as per the description in Snow Crash:

Hiro has cappuccino skin and spiky, truncated dreadlocks. His hair does not cover as much of his head as it used to, but he is a young man, by no means bald or balding, and the slight retreat of his hairline only makes more of his high cheekbones…. Beneath this image, it is possible to see Hiro’s eyes, which look Asian. They are from his mother, who is Korean by way of Nippon. The rest of him looks more like his father, who was African by way of Texas by way of the Army.

Here’s the pic the software came up with:

Next week: “I”…

You can find all the AlphaBooks entries to-date at the AlphaBooks tumblr: http://alphabooks.tumblr.com. You can also follow many of the entries as they’re posted in real-time by following the #AlphaBooks hashtag on Twitter on Mondays.


  1. Bryan Fordham says:

    Glad you went with Hiro. The beginning of Snow Crash is still one of my favorite opening scenes

  2. Ben says:

    @Bryan – Yeah, Hiro was fun to draw. I haven’t read Show Crash in ages, but I do indeed remember the opening scene. I need to catch up with Neal Stephenson, though. I read this, Cryptonomicon, and Diamond Age, but not much else.

  3. Bryan Fordham says:

    I loved Cryptonomicon. Snow Crash was pretty fun, but got a wee bit odd for my taste. Haven’t read any of his other stuff, though I’m tempted to.

    Have you read Gibson’s Neuromancer? That was my introduction to Molly, my favorite character from that novel, and my suggestion for ‘M’ :)

  4. Ben says:

    @Bryan – I read Neuromancer and Burning Chrome for a SF class I took in high school and that hooked me on Gibson. “M” is a letter there’re a lot of choices for, but I’ll for sure throw Molly into the mix. I think I’ve got at least one other Gibson character in my list of “possibles”–maybe Johnny Mnemonic?

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