Neal Stephenson needs no introduction. From coining the term Metaverse in his 1994 sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, to serving as Magic Leap’s Chief Futurist, to recently founding Lamina1 with crypto pioneer Peter Vessenes.
Now his legacy is coming to Web3. In partnership with Sotheby’s and Sir Richard Taylor’s WETA Workshop, the auction house is offering a number of unique, and at times bespoke, items from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash archives and lore, comprising physical and digital items connected to the book.
The auction celebrates the 30th anniversary of the release of Snow Crash, considered by many as one of the pillars of the cyberpunk genre and one of the most important works of modern science fiction, as well as an influential source code from the metaverse to cryptocurrency, mobile computing to augmented reality, and much more.
Over the past 18 months, WETA has been working with Stephenson in preparation for this moment of cultural significance to the gaming and Metaverse industries. WETA worked with the sci fi author to create a bespoke piece, a cultural and historical artifact, stemming from the unique mythology of his new and coming Snow Crash universe. This was done in the form of a Snow Crash inspired sword, scabbard and display case. While it’s hard to understand how bespoke this auction item is, the reality is that it has to be seen to be understood.
“The sword took us a year to create and is one of the finest pieces of craftsmanship WETA has created,” said Sir Richard Taylor, founder of WETA workshop. “The whole collection is then housed in a crate from a fictitious gaming company that in theory has owned this sword that has now come up for auction. It is an insane, inworld fusion of ancient craft with the digital age.”
Taylor adds that “the swords Tansu storage case itself is an, automated, internally driven, magnetically activated, very unique box, with hidden compartments, secret items, coded messages and other inworld special nods to the world Neal authored.”
This auction will not only celebrate Stephenson’s legacy and the lore of Snow Crash but could also serve as a springboard to expand the Snow Crash universe further. For Taylor, they are at the cusp of creating a body of creative work that blurs the line between the physical and the digital, which we have been affectionately calling ‘Masterworks for the Metaverse’.
A Piece of Cyberpunk History
Of particular interest to Web3 collectors, is a unique NFT.
“A 1-to-1 digital twin of the physical Snow Crash Tachi sword that is a seamless blend of the virtual and the physical one. Not only identically capturing every detail of its physical twin, but also showcases the beauty of the sword’s physical materials and craftsmanship in a virtual environment. It is our hope that the NFT Snow Crash sword will be part of future transmedia developments that Neal is exploring at the moment,” highlighted Taylor.
Web3 collectors are already raving about the opportunity to own this historic piece of sci-fi/Metaverse/ and Web3 history. For many buyers, it’s “a chance to own a piece of history that symbolizes humanity standing at the edge of a new epoch, as many continue to explore the digital frontiers of our future.”
The auctioned items includes a never-seen-before original typed and annotated manuscript, an original Snow Crash book cover artwork, and a beautiful, and masterfully designed and crafted, Snow Crash Tachi Sword. A real artifact from the fictional world of Snow Crash.
“Snow Crash is set in both the physical and digital realms, and to celebrate this, we also created the digital twin to the Tachi Sword in the form of an NFT. A highly accurate digital model, which not only identically captures every detail of the physical sword, it may also bestow its owner with special abilities in a yet to be disclosed transmedia project from Neal,” said Taylor.
The items have already amassed several high value bids and are being well received by collectors from around the world, including web3 and NFT collectors.
The auction ends on March 6, 2023 at 2 p.m. ET.