Sotheby’s has announced that it will be auctioning off a series of physical and digital collectibles linked to Neal Stephenson’s landmark 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, which has been credited with coining the term “metaverse.”
The collection includes an original manuscript of the book, a hand-forged sword inspired by the one used by the book's protagonist, and a generative art collection titled “Infocalypse” by artist Tony Sheeder. The digital art collection will be sold on Sotheby’s Metaverse NFT platform.
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The majority of the lots in the auction are being consigned by Neal Stephenson himself, some in partnership with artist Tony Sheeder, who collaborated with Stephenson on the Dioxin Posse graphic novel concept that provided the inspiration for Snow Crash.
Also, among the items up for sale is a sword and custom presentation box from the Snow Crash universe, crafted by award-winning Wētā Workshop, best known for their artistry and craftsmanship for some of the world’s greatest films including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, Blade Runner 2049, and Avatar.
The collection celebrates 30 years since the novel was published and its impact on Web3. The book’s exploration into the human experience in the digital world has played a significant role in defining what the metaverse might look like in years to come.
With its auction slated to open on February 27, the Snow Crash manuscript is estimated to be worth between $40,000 and $60,000. According to Sotheby’s, the draft features copious corrections and annotations made by Stephenson, and will reveal significant additions, changes, and deletions to the novel to the public for the first time.
Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science & Popular Culture, expressed her enthusiasm about bringing the lore from the novel to fans at a time when its cultural relevance has been revitalized. “Stephenson not only predicted technologies which we consider mainstream today, but his ideas have since gone on to inspire generations of inventors and entrepreneurs who shape the very fabric of our digital development,” said Hatton.
In the years since Stephenson published his novel, he has been busy developing the foundations for his own metaverse concept. In June 2022, he teamed up with crypto pioneer Peter Vessenes to begin building Lamina1, a metaverse-focused blockchain. In December 2022, the company created an ecosystem fund to distribute grants to Web3 developers.
Sotheby’s, which raised $17 million in its first NFT auction in 2021, anticipates the manuscript will fetch a price between $40,000 and $60,000 at auction. The Snow Crash manuscript is not only a unique historical artifact but also a symbol of the growing interest in the metaverse and the significance of science fiction in shaping our collective understanding of the digital world.