By Sound Alone
March 9, 2024 9:57 AM - Subscribe

In a slightly skewed-off timeline of mid-20th-century Earth, the surface of the ocean has become a contested place. International shipping is forced undersea, carried out by subs fitted for transporting cargo. Captain Sylvia Percy and her small crew run one such boat, the "Prospect". They fight a daily battle to keep their rusting submarine from dropping into the depths. It's just another grimy job until they find themselves pursued by a military sub driven by some inexplicable violent purpose. To survive, the crew of the Prospect push the machine that is their home to the very edge of its capabilities, while still trying to make their delivery on time.

This is a free book by fellow mefite kunstcleaver so let's talk about it! In addition to submarines, it features a pigeon.
posted by adamrice (6 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Some googling suggests this is the site for reading online. Sounds sick; I support basically everything about it. Doubt I can be back with a review any time soon, though.
posted by dick dale the vampire at 3:25 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

Today I learned Fanfare pages sometimes have more links at the bottom, so my other comment was redundant. Oops.
posted by dick dale the vampire at 3:27 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting it here! That's exciting.

Indeed, the best place download a free copy is from my actual page for the book: But I also put it up for free on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Google, if that's your e-reading jam. It's non-commercial open source, so feel free to copy and share widely. (You can buy a paper copy from Amazon and B&N too, just be aware that all the money goes to those companies -- I set the price as low as they would allow me to.)

I'm happy to chat about it, and would love to hear what you think, even if it's stuff that you think should be fixed.
posted by kunstcleaver at 10:00 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]

It was a quick and enjoyable read.

There's only a small hint at Percy's backstory, and less for the other characters on the sub. We know more about Cassandra than the rest of them.

I was surprised at the amount of smoking happening in a confined space where fresh air would be at a premium.

Some of the scene descriptions were turgid. Some of those darlings need to be murdered.
posted by adamrice at 3:51 PM on March 12

"Quick and enjoyable" has to be one of the finest compliments a person could give to a book that clocks in around 400 pages. Thanks!

I was a little shocked myself to find out they were smoking like crazy on real-world submarines right up into the 80s and 90s. Check out this very-BBC documentary from the time:

As for kill-yer-darlings, I'm sure you're right that some pruning couldn't hurt. But the thing is that while clear and concise writing is ideal for business writing (which is what we're taught in school), when it comes to fiction, I'd like to see _more_ ornate language, not less. I want more Cormac McCarthys and Robert Penn Warrens in the world. But how are we supposed to get more ornate writing if we are always telling people not to practice it? So I consciously wanted to push myself in that direction for better or worse. But I do hope it didn't end up being too distracting!

(I apologize if you weren't really looking for a personal response. You're among the first few dozen people to finish reading it and post something public about it, so there you go. Though that also means when I say "thanks for reading!" I feel quite a bit of genuine gratitude towards you personally.)
posted by kunstcleaver at 6:52 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]

Due to serious inescapable responsibilities, I only just finished reading this. I liked it a lot. The writing really captres the claustrophobia of the submarine and the story, even the non-action parts are gripping. I'd like to read more in this universe, and actually would like to know more about how the world is set up. Good stuff!
posted by Literaryhero at 4:32 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]

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