The original manuscript for "Snow Crash," 1991-1992
March 6, 07:02 PM GMT
40,000 - 60,000 USD
Typed manuscript, unbound. [iii], 1-515 pp., printed rectos only. Corrections and notations throughout in NEAL STEPHENSON'S HAND in blue ink, each corrected page marked in top right corner with blue star. Wrapped in original Xerox 4200 Paper wrapper, masking tape. "SNOW CRASH (0)” written on spine in NEAL STEPHENSON'S hand in black Sharpie.
THE AUTHOR’S ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT FOR THE PRESCIENT NOVEL SNOW CRASH
Listed among Time Magazine’s Top 100 All-Time Novels written in English since 1923, this science fiction satire shaped the future of technology as we know it today. Published in 1992, Snow Crash is credited with coining the term “Metaverse” and popularizing the use of the term “avatar." The world of Snow Crash not only predicted the vast possibilities of cyberspace – from cryptocurrency to open-source intelligence to corporate espionage and control – it also served as a foundational text for several of today’s technologies. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast host David Barr Kirtley stated in a discussion of Snow Crash that when he started compiling a list of which inventors and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley cited the text as an influence or inspiration, “I just kind of stopped at a certain point, because it was basically everyone.”
The story follows the aptly named Hiro Protagonist, a katana-wielding computer hacker working as a “Deliverator”– i.e., a pizza delivery guy for the Mafia – who stumbles upon a plot to distribute the drug/virus/religion “Snow Crash” to every individual in both the real world and the digital world of the Metaverse. Aided by a fifteen-year-old “Kourier” named Yours Truly, or Y.T. – the original character in the Dioxin Posse graphic novel concept (which would be abandoned, and then reborn as Snow Crash the novel)– the duo work to take down the distributor of Snow Crash, the communications magnate and religious cult leader L. Bob Rife, as well as the assassin in his employ, the murderous Raven.
“All information looks like noise until you break the code.” – Hiro Protagonist in Snow Crash
The cult following and impact of Snow Crash cannot be overstated: the book was rumored to be required reading at Facebook (now Meta), and was confirmed to be mandatory reading for Microsoft’s Xbox development team. Xbox’s co-founder, James Allard, cited the novel as a huge influence in his work and even used the Xbox gamertag “HiroProtagonist,” and the concept was a clear influence of director James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar films.
A major theme throughout the book is the power of information and the various media through which communication can be achieved. For example, the "Snow Crash" virus can be acquired as information through the Metaverse, or as a biological virus carried by the blood of the infected. The type of communication that Snow Crash enables – top-down and for the purposes of control – is contrasted with the Metaverse, which has the potential to allow for the free exchange of information and experience between millions and millions of people.