For every classic sci-fi novel that's seen reprint after reprint and found its way into the hands of generations of readers, there are more that never quite made it that far. Walk into any used bookstore and there's a good chance you'll find one or two, a book you might never have heard of, or a lesser-known early work by a titan of the genre, that's been left to fade away in its yellowing paperback form forever. Well, one company's out to change that, and they want your help.
Two years ago, Singularity & Co. started a Kickstarter campaign called "Save the Sci Fi," with the goal of tracking down out-of-print sci-fi novels, obtaining the copyright to those novels and re-releasing them as cheap or even free ebooks. The effort to raise $15,000 to start this movement garnered the attention of everyone from Cory Doctorow to the New York Times, and the campaign ultimately raised more than $50,000. Since then, Singularity & Co. has re-released three dozen sci-fi novels, opened an online shop and set up a Brooklyn storefront. Now they're out to liberate more sci-fi classics, and they're looking for a little more help from backers.
Singularity recently launched a "Save the Sci Fi: The Next Generation" Kickstarter campaign, again asking for $15,000 to track down, gain the rights to and publish out-of-print sci-fi novels. The project's goal is to track down a different book each month, obtain or clear the copyright with the help of a legal team, then produce and release a new ebook format, complete with Singularity & Co.'s own notes on what they learned about the book and its author along the way. It's a project that's done for the love of science fiction, but it also has an interesting symbolic meaning: These are books about the future, and yet without a little help, they won't reach the future.
"We’ve seen too many sci fi books that are out of print, out of circulation, and, worst of all (given the subject matter) unavailable in any digital format. Meaning, as of now, these books may never be seen in the future imagined in their pages. That’s just not right."
According to the Kickstarter campaign, the funds raised will go to tracking down paper copies of the books, covering legal costs to obtain the copyrights, improving the company's scanner, expanding their digital and physical reach and more. With more than than three weeks of fundraising to go, the effort has already raised $2,000 more than its goal, but the more money Singularity & Co. raises, the more books they can potentially bring to light, and rewards range from a book club membership to tons of free e-books to t-shirts and posters. So, if this sounds like something you're into, check out the campaign video below, then head over and chip in.