A more important question, though: how did the publishing industry fail this book? Someone should be paying Sergio De La Pava for the right to publish him; that work of this caliber is being published by a vanity press is depressing. The publishing industry prides itself on being a filter saving us from the mounds of garbage that are annually written; but honestly, this book could advantageously be pitted against almost any novel published in the past ten years by the big houses – especially the endless raft of New York novels. This is a book that deserves to be read more widely; in a better world, people would be reading this rather than Freedom.
By way of backstory, a couple of months ago we ran Scott’s rave for A Naked Singularity in The Quarterly Conversation, one of the first and only raves this book has received. (Though, Steve Donoghue’s rave in Open Letters Monthly is a notable exception.) Said book is a 700-page self-published novel published in 2008, and more and more people are saying whichever editors passed on this book really missed the boat.
Not to make too great of claims for a book I’ve never read, but lots of books that are now considered classic and even canonical were self-published in their day, some not really receiving due recognition (or the imprimatur of a publishing house) for a decade or more. I don’t know if that’s the case with Naked Singularity, but it certainly is a book that has inspired a lot of readers that I know and trust. At the very least, it’s exciting to watch something like this catch hold via these back-road Internet channels.