The original manuscript of Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash – the book that coined the term “Metaverse” – is being auctioned by Sotheby’s, according to a page on Sotheby’s official website. The auction is part of a February 23 series entitled “Infocalypse” that includes six physical and six digital items related to the famous book.
The original manuscript is in Lot 2 of the series. It is “wrapped in genuine Xerox 4200 paper,” secured with masking tape, and includes “corrections and annotations in blue ink by Neal Stephenson’s hand.” It also has the title of the book written by the author on the spine of the book with a felt tip pen.
A “revised typesetting manuscript” will also be auctioned under lot 4. This is a later version, filled with additional handwritten notes and author’s revisions.
Other physical items to be auctioned off as part of the series include the original painting used as the cover for the mass-market paperback edition of the book in 1993, a leather jacket that would be used in a video advertisement for the graphic novel, and slides , used for the graphic novel concept and a real sword inspired by the one carried by the book’s protagonist.
In addition to these physical items, the series will also feature digital art NFTs inspired by the graphic novel concept that preceded Snow Crash.
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Released in 1992, Snow Crash is set, according to the publisher’s description, in a dystopia where most people live in small warehouses. It followed the exploits of the protagonist Hiro, a pizza delivery man who has to fight bandits to deliver his pizzas. Hiro spends all his free time in a virtual world called “The Metaverse” where citizens go to escape the misery of everyday life. But a computer virus turned the denizens of the metaverse into “nothing more than a quivering cloud of bad digital karma.” The novel’s plot revolved around Hiro’s attempts to figure out how to stop the virus.
According to the Washington Post, the book sold over 125,000 copies. Since the book’s publication, virtual reality enthusiasts have increasingly used Stephenson’s “metaverse” term to describe the emerging virtual world being created by VR technology, and in recent years it has become a commonly searched buzzword.
The rise of the metaverse has opened up new career opportunities for some and helped reshape Web3 gaming.