By Sound Alone: An open-source and free novel with cargo submarines. Also a pigeon.
February 18, 2024 10:11 PM   Subscribe

By Sound Alone: An open-source and free novel with cargo submarines. Also a pigeon.
I chose to release my submarine novel for free under a Creative Commons license because I am committed to the open-source ideal. Unfortunately, it seems that no publisher would ever touch CC these days, and (more distressingly) lots of readers won't consider it because of our sad cultural heuristic of "free novel = awful". And then the book also doesn't fit nicely into any particular category. It's not really science fiction (the science is realistic). It's not really alternative-history (Hitler doesn't win the war). And it's not even a good fit for submarine novels (the submarines in it are cargo subs, not war subs — it also has strong female leads.) I fear I've doomed the thing to obscurity from the start. But I put years of work into it. I re-wrote it many times. I had it professionally copy-edited. People who do read it, love it. I love it. But this promotion stuff sucks. So if it sounds even vaguely appealing, save me by giving the book a shot! And then tell someone else about it…

I wrote this novel By Sound Alone.

It's packed with submarine action, newly released, and absolutely free, non-commercial, no-strings-attached (in e-book form). I'm just hoping (in a real DIY fashion) to get all the serious adventure and submarine nerds out there to read it. (...If you don't read it, who will?)

What's it like in 50 words or less? Fundamentally, it’s a cross between 1970s trucker culture and 1960s submarine movies. It’s kind of a slurry of Das Boot, Road Warrior, Deadliest Catch, Patrick O'Brian, and Smokey and the Bandit.

Plus, it has diagrams! (Oooo diagrams. How can you resist diagrams? If I ran the world, every book would begin with a diagram or map.)

What makes it different than all the other submarine stories?

The book isn't about war submarines, it's about cargo submarines. It's set in an alternate-timeline mid-century world where international shipping is largely carried out underwater in submarines built for hauling goods. Despite this fiction, the book also commits to realistic submarine operations and mechanics. Some readers have told me: "It's like Serenity on a submarine." I've never seen Serenity, so you'll have to take their word for it. All readers tell me it's "well-written" and "cinematic."

If this piques your interest, you can one-click download a free e-book (in many different formats) here:

I'm releasing it under an open-content/free Creative Commons license, so feel free to share widely. (I didn't write this thing for money, I wrote it for the geeky love of greasy old mechanics and machines!)

How about a bulleted list to make your life easier?
  • It’s free. Open-source-style free.
  • It’s a page-turner. Full of submarine action and excitement!
  • There’s characters you’ll love, and characters you aren’t sure you love by the end.
  • Realistic mid-century mechanics — no magic tech in this book.
  • It’s cinematic — full of visual descriptions that put you right there in the control room of the submarine.
  • It’s well written. (That’s what people tell me anyway.)
  • It was edited by a professional (who was not the author).
  • It’s got women in leadership positions in a submarine story (it passes the Bechdel test) — how’s that for unusual?
  • It has got a lovable homing pigeon. (Something for the bird lovers. Probably the only book you’ll ever read that has both a submarine and a pigeon.)
  • It’s gritty and grimy and full of foul language. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Role: Author
posted by kunstcleaver (4 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'm sold! I'll be back with an update after I read it. :)
posted by Literaryhero at 5:03 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I read and enjoyed it, the little plot twist caught me off guard. Kudos to you for having a vision, seeing it through and sharing.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 6:46 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much! You made my day.
posted by kunstcleaver at 6:08 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

I don't read MeFi projects frequently so I just saw this. Thanks for the book, I'll try to comment again, or update this comment, after I've read it.
posted by TimHare at 6:36 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]

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