Manuscript of book that coined the term 'metaverse' to be auctioned by Sotheby's

Quick Take

  • Sotheby’s is going to auction the manuscript for “Snow Crash,” published in 1992 by Neal Stephenson and known for having coined the term metaverse.
  • Other pieces, like a sword inspired by one of the characters, are also going under the hammer.

The manuscript of the cult classic novel "Snow Crash," the book known for coining the term metaverse, is going up for auction online.

The never-before-seen manuscript is expected to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000, Sotheby's said on Thursday.

"Half of my life ago, with my head full of computer graphics lore and visions of a satirical cyberpunk future, I sat down to write Snow Crash," the author, Neal Stephenson, said in a press release from Sotheby's. "Last year, at the 30th anniversary of the book’s publication, I pulled the old manuscript out of storage and looked at it for the first time since 1991."

The sale will also include the typesetting manuscript of "Snow Crash," as well as 35 mm slides used to pitch the project — which was originally conceived as a graphic novel — and a hand-forged tachi sword inspired by the weapon wielded by the novel’s protagonist.


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"Taking place in a neoliberal society run by corporations and ravaged by hyperinflation, the dystopic novel provides a prophetic look at the future, foreshadowing the vast possibilities of cyberspace; from cryptocurrency and open-source intelligence to corporate espionage and control," Sotheby's said.

Alongside the auction, Sotheby's is selling an NFT collection (Infocalpyse) with images related to the graphic novel project that preceded Snow Crash, "Dioxin Posse."

Bidding opens Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

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About Author

Catarina is a reporter for The Block based in New York City. Before joining the team, she covered local news at and at the New York Daily News. She started her career in Lisbon, Portugal, where she worked for publications such as Público and Sábado. She graduated from NYU with a MA in Journalism. Feel free to email any comments or tips to [email protected] or to reach out on Twitter (@catarinalsm).


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