You've never heard of novelist Peter Riley or his book, Universes, and that's the problem the author has been facing for over a decade. Back in 1999 the former journalist wrote Universes, his first novel, but failed to ever land a publisher. I'm not sure why (a cynic would instantly assume it was rubbish) either, as the story about a physicist who dies and wakes up in an alternate universe dominated by cannibals certainly sounds promising. Whatever the reason his 10 years of searching has been all for naught. So Riley did the next best thing; he put the novel online. For free.

However, unlike most people who self-publish online, Riley is offering a cash incentive to anyone willing to read the entirety of Universes. Starting this July, he'll be holding a competition wherein he asks readers questions about his book. If you answer correctly, you may just win part of his $3,000 purse of prize money. It may sound like a strange way to build buzz until you read Riley's rather endearing explanation for doing so (via the Guardian):

"I'm hoping that publishing the book online and pretty well paying people to read it will get it noticed on the internet, and ultimately discovered by a legit publisher. Crass gimmick? You bet. But if it works, I won't look back. I'm 65 god-damned years old, this novel means more to me than anything in the world, and I'm desperate to get it published while I'm still alive. I know this may sound odd, but I feel western society needs this book. It's a contribution I feel I must make."

Again, the competition doesn't start until July, but you can go ahead and download Universes in your format of choice right now at the book's official site.

categories Movies, Sci-Fi