Jarett Kobek's novel ATTA (semiotext(e)) offers a fictionalized psychedelic biography of Mohamed Atta that circles around a simple question: what if 9/11 was as much a matter of architectural criticism as religious terrorism? Here's an excerpt that addresses this question.
He gathers his luggage, makes his way through customs, presents his passport. His visa is in a new name. MOHAMED ATTA. He walks out of the terminal and finds a commuter bus. He travels on a highway towards the city. New York’s skyline rises in the distance. A unique horror. Direct in line of sight is the Empire State Building, an Art Deco stab at the sky. To the right, smaller buildings surround the Towers like acolytes encircle a false messiah.
The bus dives into a tunnel and leaves him on the street beside Grand Central Terminal. He enters the building, walks to its main course. The rush of people amuses him, reminds him of home. He stares at the ceiling, yellow astrological idols of Greek origin against teal background. So many false gods in America.
Atta leaves Grand Central, walks south on Park Avenue. On 40th Street, he realizes that he moves in the wrong direction. He turns right, navigates west. Each and every building is enormous, of unthinkable size. Skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper after skyscraper.
He reaches 6th Avenue, Avenue of the Americas. He looks south. The Towers dwarf the city. New York is a land of giants until you encounter its titans. Solid rectangle erections of architectural arrogance, total modernist faith in the ability of buildings to shape lives, of the architect’s belief that he can control his vision and utilize it towards good.