Podcast Review#56: Double Share

Title: Double Share
Author: Nathan Lowell
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 4 July 2008 – 17 July 2008
Located: PodibooksiTunesAuthor’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast only (soon to be dead tree from Ridan Publishing)
Rating: PG

Continuing our series of reviews focussing on The Master of NaNoWriMo, Nathan Lowell, today I’m looking at Double Share, the fourth book in the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper series.

I have to admit that Double Share is my favorite book of the Share series. This week. While I was listening to it. Last week Full Share was my favorite. Hmm.. I wonder what my favorite will be next week?

On to the review.

Synopsis: A Trader’s Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper : Book 4

When he graduates from the Academy at Port Newmar, Ishmael Horatio Wang reports for duty in his first assignment as an officer. When he gets to his new ship, he finds things are not exactly the way he’d learned in school. The coffee tastes like used engine oil, the ship has no heart, and the nearest decent tailor is two quadrants away. What’s a new Third Mate to do? Will he be able to trust Billy? (stolen from Podiobooks site)

Production: Mainlining all the share stories (again), it is I know hard to imagine this, but Mr. Lowell’s production continues to incrementally improve. Don’t believe me? Well, download them all again. Well, unless you never delete them. What? Don’t judge me!

Grade: A

Cast: Nathan Lowell. Seriously, if he outlives me, I want him to read my obit and podcast it. Yes, he’s that good.

Grade: A

Story: Double Share is the first of the Share series that I feel is centered around a single point of conflict. For some this might be a great thing. For me, it is fine. I don’t mind it. The part that still grabs and holds me though is the “everyday spacer” that continues to roll throughout the story. I am so glad that by including a conflict, Mr. Lowell didn’t throw out the journeyman learner that Ishmael Wang has now become the personification for me.

The story picks up at the end of Ish’s stay at school and is on his way to his first officer’s birth. It is funny, but having discussed this with two friends, they were a little saddened not to have had “the college years” included. I really wasn’t expecting them to be. Since Quarter Share, the stage for Ish has always been the deep dark. Time in port has always been a diversion rather than the story’s destination, so thrusting Ish immediately back into this role made much sense to me.

Grade: A

Verdict: This is a pivotal tale in the series because it moves Ish away from being “crew” and into being “command”. I loved it and definitely think you will too.

*Non integral Spoiler Alert – I loved the fact that Ish was unable to earn his shuttle certification and that he graduated only in the top third of his class. As good as Ish is, it is more about his personality and his work ethic than his intelligence and giftedness. Mr. Lowell threaded the needle perfectly and came up with a hugely likable and sociable character that is hard to let go of at the end of each story.

Grade: A+

Disclosure: ummm… nothing new since last week.. still waiting on the check. Or advanced reader copies. Or a South Coast Welkie… oh well, guess my (star) ship just hasn’t come in yet. (In other words, nothing offered or accepted.)

Comment Pages

There are 12 Comments to "Podcast Review#56: Double Share"

  • MickB says:

    This is my favourite in the series, too, I think. If the ‘Share’ series was a single book, this really feels like the first major plot point, ie the point at which Ish is taken out of the comfort zone he’s built up over the previous books and thrown in at the deep end (and us along with him). We really get to see another side of the universe that has been carefully constructed around these characters and it is a whole world away from ‘The Lois’.

    Things that were set up in the first books (‘bad’ ships, bunk bunnies, etc.) are explored in more detail, giving us a real appreciation of why ships like ‘The Lois’ have their rules for very good reasons.

    In some places this makes for an uncomfortable listen, with a good deal more conflict than previous books, but for me it is that conflict and how Ish deals with it that makes this my favourite (though it’s a very close-run race).

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks Mick! I really appreciate well thought out comments. Or poorly thought out comments. Heck. I just like comments, but truthfully, I do know what you mean. I have to admit that each book is my favorite while I am listening to it, with the exception of Half Share. While I loved it, it is still the red haired step child compared to the rest of the stories, at least for me. Thanks again!

  • When it came time to do the second trilogy, as much as I hated leaving the Lois behind, it was necessary. Once he got his ticket, he needed to go to another ship and be separated from all his friends. It’s the nature of the beast. I also intended it to get much darker, much less “Pollyanna-like” for the second half.

    One of the ways that I wanted to show Ishmael’s growth was through his observation of the world and what he sees in it. In the first three books, he lacked sufficient experience or perspective and his story reflects that by being simple — even simplistic. It wasn’t that bad stuff didn’t happen. It was just that he didn’t see it — in large part because very little of it happened to him.

    In Double Share, he’s five standard years older and has been through his bachelor’s program. He’s still very young but is now more aware of things around him. He makes several serious mistakes in his actions in this book, but they get swept aside by circumstances … not unlike what happens to a lot of us. Not all youthful pecadilloes end in tragedy.

    I wanted to explore some of the darker side of the universe that only got hinted at before and I was worried that moving him onto a dirty ship was too cliche. In truth, you can tell a lot about a crew by the condition of their vessel. After I thought about it for awhile, I decided to go with the dirty/gritty environment for the dirty/gritty story. It gave me some great opportunities for derogatory nicknames for the ship.

    — MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW —
    My intent for the ending of this book was that he’d “lose” and that his insubordination on the bridge during the drills would land him on the docks with his grav-pallet in tow. I’m not sure that wouldn’t have been a “better” story, but it wouldn’t have been an “Ishmael” story either, if that makes any sense.

    The biggest controversy in this book — from a listener’s standpoint — is the “missing audio” that he never listens to. He went to a lot of trouble to make it work, and then the only piece that might mean something gets pushed aside for reasons that Ishmael believes are valid.

    I’m mean like that.

    Thanks again, Odin. I can’t wait to read what you have to say about Captain’s Share.

    • odin1eye says:

      I’m in the midst of Captain’s Share at the moment. One of the things that I find each time I listen to the Share series is that I recognize more names from the series from/on Twitter. I love how you do that. Of course, my favorite cameo is from Captain’s Share. .^)

      • Michael says:

        I too am looking forward to the review of Captains Share! Which I loved… (except for the dock side relationship and how that went… I felt that was unnecessary )

        • odin1eye says:

          LOL.. Thanks again Michael! Well, next week’s review will have at least 2 readers then! I think I’ll disagree with you on that other point though. Why? LOL.. well, I’ll be writing that review sooner rather than later!

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