Podcast Review #66: Owner’s Share

Title: Trader Tales 6: Owner’s Share
Author: Nathan Lowell
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 23 December 2010 – 25 January 2011
Located: Podibooks, iTunes, Author’s Site
Formats Available: Podcast only (soon to be dead tree from Ridan Publishing)
Rating: PG

As all good things must come to an end. I know it is hard to believe after the many hours and many years of enjoyment that Nathan Lowell has brought us, but with Owner’s Share, the Trader Tales are officially at an end. I’m sure many of you were experiencing the same feelings I did when you started this story. Unbridled anticipation accompanied by impending doom. Ishmael Horatio Wang has become a living, breathing soul that many of wish would become flesh, and in our honest moments, has attributes we’d like to emulate. So…

On to the review.

Synopsis: A Trader’s Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper : Book 6

When Diurnia Salvage and Transport undergoes a change in management, Captain Ishmael Horatio Wang finds himself adrift in a sea of red ink, and intrigue. He dives in only to find that he is over his head in a universe where cut-throat competition takes on an all new meaning.

What price will he pay for his Owner’s Share? (stolen from Podiobooks site)

Production: Mr. Lowell’s sounds has only improved over the course of the Trader Tales. Whether this is due to improved equipment, a snazzy new recording booth, a better brand of coffee or experience, it really doesn’t matter. In his minimalist focus on the story production, he has no betters and few peers. (Note: I’m not a professional audio editor. I’m only giving (as always) my opinions as a listener.)

Grade: A

Cast: Nathan Lowell has, to date, remained true to his formula of providing his tales as a solo read. He is increasingly showing up in the cast of other’s stories, but continued to be a cast of one in his own. For this I am thankful. In episode 28, when xxxxx xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx, the raw emotion in Mr. Lowell’s voice effectively reduced me to speechlessness. In episode 29 and again in 30, as Ishmael effectively *xxxxxx xxx xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxx, Mr. Lowell pulls us by the force of his voice to see the future xx xxxxxxx xx xxxxxxxxxxxx xx.

*censored in accordance with Article 37

Grade: A+

Story: Owner’s Share is the fulfillment of the promise made throughout the Trader Tale series. It might not be the way you would like a story/series to end, but is definitely in line with the larger tale. Without spoiling anything, Mr. Lowell has stated in several forums and various times that this was the end of the Share Series, but not necessarily Ish’s stories. When I first heard that I was a bit afraid Owner’s Share with be no more than a transitional book moving Ish from his old life to his new (whatever that may be). Where OS does this, and remarkably well in my opinion, it does so much more. Each of the Share books has developed Ishmael and left him a different man than he started. Owner’s Share follows suit and I can promise you, Ishmael will never quite be the same.

Grade: A+

Verdict: Simple. Listen to it. You might, perhaps be  unhappy with where life takes Ish, but it is life, not a fairy tale. Keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

I declare the following an ARTICLE 37 FREE ZONE (While not truly spoiling, one could imply content. Don’t Read if you haven’t all ready listened.): Where does happily ever after leave you? Happy. For EVER. Not a lot to tell is there. You can’t really have it both ways gang. While we all WANT to believe that our favorite characters, of which Ish is high on the list for me, are drinking nectar and eating ambrosia in the far flung reaches of the galaxy, that isn’t going to make much of a story. Mr. Lowell could have given us this, but then would have had to taken it away to give us the promised continuing tales of Ishmael Horacio Wang. I’d rather end with the HOPE that Ish sees. That gives me the promise of allowing me to see this fulfilled. Grieve if you must, but realize, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Disclosure: So, I’ve never been given anything by anyone associated with this book. I’ve had conversations with the publisher of the Trader Tales series, Ridan Press. I’ve even had the blog “blurbed” on their site (a personal achievement). I have also during the course of the last several months come to thing of Nathan Lowell as a friend and have enjoyed our conversations on the net. However, none of this would keep me from recommending people not listen to this work if I felt that was merited. I am happy, however, to believe nothing further from the truth. (Seriously, you haven’t listened? What are you waiting for?)

Comment Pages

There are 15 Comments to "Podcast Review #66: Owner’s Share"

  • Thanks again, Odin.

    In addition to being the longest of the books at 17 hours and 200k words, it’s also the most complex. A lot happens behind the scenes so that what Ishmael sees is consistent and logical, even if not actually visible to the reader. Everything in the book happens for a reason, but there are some things that I just don’t tell–at least not in the story. (There’s a spoilerific reveal out there on the web but I’m not going to link to it here.)

    Another interested facet of this book is the sheer amount of commentary that it’s evoked. In the week since the book has been marked complete, nearly 7,000 people have heard the last episode. I guess it’s not too surprising that a few dozen people have engaged in a spirited (and sometimes unfortunate) discussion across the various threads. At last count the main podiobooker thread has around 800 comments and the multiple threads on the Trader’s Diary have nearly that many. The fan forum has exploded with over 500 posts and some very heated discussions. It’s obvious that this odd universe I’ve created resonates with a lot of people.

    Some of the discussion has been hard for me on a personal level. One of the facts of life I had to come to grips with years ago is that whatever you write, somebody will take issue with it. The level of critique for this last book has made a lot of that previous criticism seem like the scrawled “coulda been better” on the bottom of a freshman comp paper. I suppose, in a lot of ways, it was.

    Part of the dynamic is that I’m out there. I answer the posts and play on the forums. That’s sometimes a double edged sword.

    Part of the reality is that people came to this volume with a lot of expectations. In most cases, I not only didn’t fulfill those expectations but ground them firmly under foot.

    The fundamental reality is that I try to make every book better than the last. I try to work on some aspect of the story telling that I may think I haven’t done as well in previous works, and to explore facets of the story and themes that I haven’t covered yet. At some point, I’ll fail. I think – after eight novels – there’s probably some significant evidence that in reaching for one aspect I may have fallen down in another. I think that’s probably a requirement and I’m ok with that. In each work there’s the opportunity to grow and the promise (at least for me) that the next one will be better. Of course, there’s always the chance that it’ll crash and burn, ending my career in a blaze of ignominy, but I’ll keep rolling the dice there.

    Thanks for the support over the years and I’m looking forward to telling many more stories in the future.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks for the comment Nathan!

      From my point of view, I think you have succeeded in making each book a bit tighter and “better” than the last. I truly believe Owner’s Share will have people talking for quite a while. I know that it has all ready initiated uncounted conversations for me.

      If the commenters have issues with the story, that is their issue and when they show they can do better, then I’ll take their criticism seriously.

      Thanks for these stories. I can’t say it enough.

  • I love the Shares Series because they are so true to life. Sometimes there is not a lot going on, but that doesn’t make life boring. As well as being true to life, I never expected a Disney ending. I’d rather have more of Ish than a happily ever after. Tortured, human heroes are so much more real.

    Again, if you want pink and fluffy, watch the Carebears.

    To sum it up, the more Nathan writes, the better. And I wouldn’t change anything about him or his stories for anything in the world.

  • MickB says:

    Life is full of hanging threads, and Ish’s life is no different. It was good to see a couple of things from previous books tied up here, the reveal about ‘Over Easy’ and the welkie section were particularly touching, but this latest trader’s tale has left things wide open for a whole new world (or galaxy).

    I think this was a fitting end to a wonderful, engaging set of stories and I am very happy to know that Ish will continue his voyages elsewhere.

    Thank you, Nathan!

  • I have a lot I could say about “Owner’s Share” but some of it would be spoilers, so for now:

    I can not recommend this story and series highly enough! This book is the last of a series, so one really should start at the beginning; if nothing more than because they are REALLY good.

    I am excited about the prospect of owning all the books in this series in ebook, signed paperback, and signed hardback. Yes, I must have them all 😉

    I can understand why some people might not be happy with the closing chapters of this novel, but I do not agree with them. I think it is a more than fitting closing bookend to this story. I was personally touched, and I even had to fight back a few tears in the listening to “Owner’s Share” (and that almost never happens).

    After having some time to think about the series, I am having to fight the urge to re-listen to the whole thing all over again (after I re-listened to the other books during the release of Owner’s Share). When time permits, I probably will.

    Finally I am profoundly grateful to Nathan Lowell for writing this novel series. He has accomplished something fewer writers do in a surprisingly short time without sacrificing quality of story or performance. And he’s given the podcast version for FREE! (But feel free to donate a few buck over at Podiobooks.com, to help out)

    I have rarely enjoyed or felt as fortunate for listening to any novel series (and yes that means the ones I paid good money in a books store for) as I have this one. If you get a quarter as much as I do from this series, you will be blessed 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks for the comment Richard! I agree with you whole heartedly, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have to fight past the lump in my throat during the famous episode 28 and again in 30.

      Thanks again and have a great day!

  • Nathan has come to be my favorite podiobooks author. I was searching through podiobooks, what is years ago now, looking for a science fiction/space opera story. I just wanted a story set out in space where people can travel from planet to planet – I wanted to know what that kind of life would be like. All I could find were stories about aliens, or epic military battles etc. That wasn’t what I was looking for. Then I stumbled onto Quarter Share. It is still to this day my favorite podiobook. Now I know very well six books later what it would be like to live in a time where space travel is possible. I really like the kind of story Nathan tells, about the everyman. It was refreshing to read all through his experiences as he grew up. I must say I’ve been through the entire series 3 times now 🙂 Spoilers aside, article 37, this last book did exactly what I wanted it to; give me one last long adventure with Ish, and then let me know that his journey is not over. I am so happy about this fact. Thank you Nathan for all the great books, a great series, and I’m so happy I can buy them in print! I can’t wait to read more stories about Ishmael, as well as his other books.

  • TerminusVox says:

    Owners Share gives us a hell of a culmination to a six-part series.

    I had a thoughtful post written out before I hit a wrong key on my phone & erased the whole dang thing. Maybe I can get to that later from a real keyboard, lol.

  • Michael says:

    I’ll put my hand up and say I was not happy with where Nate took us, but I think the book is excellant, and will recommend to everyone. 🙂

    Nate is one of the reasons I got off my duff and finished my work and podcast it, so looking at the fan reaction has given me lots to think about. By golly some of the critiques out there are just over the top.

    • odin1eye says:

      Yes, the are. I wonder about some of the outpouring to be honest. BUT.. I have to say, even the angry ones.. I’d love to have the skill to make people care that much about my characters. In that sense, cheers Nate!

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Scott Roche says:

    I’ll put my own thoughts on the interwebz this week. I’ll say that I was FAR from disappointed (though I was saddened by some of the events in the story). The thing I love about OS is that it does an excellent job of finishing the arc of Ish’s career/story. It doesn’t close it so we get to see more of him (I hope, I hope) but at the same time it frees Nate up to play in his other universes.

    It is unfortunate that people are hating on it. It’s not surprising given the nature of fandom. When you achieve a certain level of notoriety it’s inevitable I suppose. I’d say that one shouldn’t take it personally, but how can you not? I mean I feel a little offended for Nate so I can’t imagine how he feels.

    Anyway, great review as usual and a great ending to a fantastic series.

    • odin1eye says:

      Looking forward to seeing your thoughts and I appreciated your sharing here. I have to agree, not only do I feel a little defensive on Nathan’s behalf, I also feel like defending Ish. And seeing as he’s fictional (as much as I’d like to believe otherwise) that’s saying a lot.

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