Greenpointers embark on heroic mission to rescue pulpy sci-fi novels

Captain Future: Greenpoint lovebirds Ash Kalb and Cici James are on a mission to save pulp science fiction from going extinct — by uploading the books online page by page.
Community Newspaper Group / Kate Briquelet

It is the year 2012 — and pulpy science fiction is vanishing from the galaxy. Can these earthlings from Brooklyn stop the tides of fate and rescue scores of forgotten paperbacks?

Greenpoint couple Ash Kalb and Cici James are on a mission to save the science fiction of the 1960s and ’70s by scanning the books and putting them online page by page.

“This isn’t just about great books,” said Kalb, a tech lawyer who founded the project, Singularity & Co. with his actress fiancée. “Nobody in the future will know if they’re any good or bad unless we scan them.”

The lovebirds acquired 2,000 weird tomes and plan to open a Sci-Fi print bookstore in DUMBO this spring — a space that will double as an office for their day jobs.

Their first selection is Terence Haile’s 1962 novel “Space Train,” a hilariously campy read about giant space crabs, suggested by renowned author Neil Gaiman himself.

But before they can put the book online, they must rove the planet in search of copyrights.

Kalb is on a hunt for the children of the siblings of the now-deceased Haile to get permission to put the book online.

Bud Webster, a liaison for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, said tracking down estates could be very difficult since people have little to go on except obituaries that mention family members.

“Some authors may never go out of print,” Webster said, referring to Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, whose estates are handled by agents. “But others seem to sink further and further into unfair obscurity every year.”

What will happen Michael Moorcock’s “The Winds of Limbo” (Was the Fireclown a power-mad charlatan — or the last hope of Earth?) or Jerry Sohl’s “The Altered Ego” (He was offered eternal life — The price, a living death!)?

Singularity & Co. plans to issue a new e-Book each month for little or no cost and will include a page outlining what was learned about the bygone author along the way.

“This is a detective project,” Kalb said. “If we don’t do it, they’ll be gone forever.”

For info on this heroic project, visit singularityand.co.

Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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