A couple weeks ago I got a query from the publisher of A Naked Singularity, who appears to be the wife of the book's author, Sergio de la Pava. At any rate, it's a self-published title (through the service XLibris).
I know what you're thinking, because it was the same thing I thought, but the query pointed me to this review of the book at Open Letters Monthly:
No, we should all lose sleep over iUniverse and Xlibris and the like
because the sheer number of ISBN’d manuscripts makes it dead certain
we’re missing some great books. To one extent or another we all rely on
the vast publicity-network attached to the world of book publishing.
The editors at Open Letters, for instance, tirelessly pour
over publisher websites and book catalogs for upcoming titles, in
search of those that merit attention. But places like XLibris represent
vast oceans of books that are never featured in The New York Times,
that never receive even an extra dime of publicity money for mention in
a catalog. By this point (and we are still in self-publishing’s
infancy), it’s a statistical certainty that some of these books are
A Naked Singularity is a perfect example: it’s by
first-time author Sergio De La Pava, it was published by XLibris in
2008 with no fanfare and no acclaim, and it’s a masterpiece.
I don't know whether or not A Naked Singularity is a masterpiece, but I do know that the author of that review, Steve Donoghue, is a pretty tough critic who has read pretty widely.
I will also say that I've had a look at a review copy of the book, and the parts I've read have held up. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing, but the parts that I have read are definitely not amateurish.
If you read Steve's review you'll see that this is a rather lengthy, ambitous novel. If it's as good as the evidence so far indicates, this could be a major book that's flying right under the radar.
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