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Nathan Lowell – Quarter Share

December 11, 2010

Considerations both financial and temporal (i.e., my ridiculously long car commute, for which there is no viable public transit replacement) led me to turn to podiobooks as a supplement to my Audible habit.

Happily, my first listen was Quarter Share, which has a lot of fun launching the naval coming-of-age story into space.  The first in a series dubbed The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, Quarter Share covers the coming of age of one Ishmael Horatio Wang (yes, the first line is “Call me Ishamel.”), who winds up serving aboard the Solar Clipper Lois McKendrick after the death of his mother leaves him no choice but to abandon the corporate-run planet where she worked and they lived.

Lowell’s direct style and sense of the pacing necessary to pull off a serialized project convinced me of the merits of podiobooks when a couple of years of hearing about them hadn’t.  Hard SF may find themselves unhappy with the lack of hard SF (…as when are they not?), and I had my quibbles–for instance, that some of the protracted discussions about the fairly self-evident mechanics of trading left me wanting to scrub the audio forward and make up for it by playing a few hours of Tradewinds 2 when I got home–but they were minor.  There’s no big bad here (although I can think of an antagonistic force that might get developed later in the series), no space-operatic action scenes, and not much by the way of romance; rather, Lowell’s focus is on the day-to-day, and I found myself looking forward to adding the daily life of the Lois McKendrick to my own.

Quarter Share and the other books in the series are available to download at podiobooks on a voluntary gratuity basis, and Lowell has also begun releasing print versions.

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