Atmosphaera Incognita S-1 Filing

Atmosphaera Incognita S-1 Filing

A review of the Neal Stephenson novella, Atmosphaera Incognita from Subterranean Press

Monday, August 19, 2019

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This review won’t age well, but if you want to read about a real estate deal with an overly inflated sense of importance, Atmosphæra Incognita is far more satisfying (but not as comical) as WeWork’s recent (August 2019) S-1 filing for their Initial Public Offering. The economics and technical detail (link to a model of structural design included, because @nealstephenson) of this thought experiment cum novella provide a far more realistic view of how one would go about building a 20KM high skyscraper than whatever WeWork Adam was trying to cook up for the SEC.

The story reads almost like a modern blog account by an employee recounting the hubris and scientific curiosity of their boss who resemble billionaires we know in various enterprises and positions of power today. One could almost see a spiritual sequel about a President purchasing Greenland to stage a Journey to the Center of the Earth-like expedition.

The hardback by Subterranean Press is wrapped in leather and adorned with illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith that feel both fantastical and almost Escher-esque. Limited to 400 signed copies makes it a gem of a collector’s item for the Stephenson fan and like many of his stories, si something you can open any year, remember what was happening in the world when you read it, and how inevitable it all feels.