Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday eBook Review: Once is not enough

Nathan Lowell, Quarter Share


Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 523 KB
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982514549
  • Publisher: Ridan Publishing (May 2, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003KGBH3K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  (138 reviews)

1. Short review:  

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Quarter Share was light and easy to read.  When a book is easy to read, much effort has gone into making it so.
     Some books are roller coasters:  Blackhawk Down, The Hunt for Red October, New York Dead.  Some books are a walk in the park:  Little Women, The Little House on the Prairie, Two Years Before the Mast.  Both types can be enjoyable.  Nowadays, roller coasters are in fashion with the New York publishing houses and walks in the park are out.  Thanks be to the small press Ridan Publishing for not bowing to fashion.
     Quarter Share is not a roller coaster.  Quarter Share is reminiscent of Two Years Before the Mast.  It is a book about ordinary people coping with everyday problems . . . in a space merchantman.  The book is low on tension but high on personal interaction.
     I think the book's biggest shortcoming is that everybody gets along.  In a crew of at least forty members, I would expect some tension between crewmen.  Maybe a fist fight or two.
     I would also expect there to be more quarter-share crew aboard than just Ishmael and Pip, the protagonist and his messmate. 
     If you want a roller coaster ride, this book will not give you that.  But if you want a walk in the park, this book gives good value for your money.

2.2. What I did not like:  Typos, typesetting errors, and one odd word choice.  Examples:  In the first chapter, 'later' was written where 'latter' was intended; there is one instance where closing quotes were given but the same speaker continued in the following paragraph; the one odd word choice was 'acclimating', used where 'becoming accustomed' would have been better.  I mention it because it kicked me out of my reading mind-set.  'Acclimate' to me relates to weather and climate, not to shipboard routine; 'accustom' or 'habituate' is better for that.
     If you play the pro game, play at the pro level.  Were Mr Lowell an indie author, I might be inclined to give him slack.  (Probably not.)  But Mr Lowell published through Ridan Publishing, a small press.  Ridan Publishing had the job of editing and proofreading Quarter Share.  They dropped the ball.

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  I and others like me.  I am an avid blue-water sailor--sailboats, not powerboats.  I read science fiction.  I have read Two Years Before the Mast, Moby-Dick, and the entire Horatio Hornblower series.  When I was young, I read the whole of the Tom Swift and Tom Swift, Jr, series.  So did I get the audience right?  Lessee . . .
     Call me Ishmael.  Yeah I know, but in this case it's really my name:  Ishmael Horatio Wang.  My parents had an unfortunate sense of humor.  If they had known what I'd wind up doing with my life, they might have picked a different one--Richard Henry Dana, perhaps.
     So the book begins.  What do you think?  Did I get the audience right?

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.  No worries.  No profanity; one 'darn'.  No sex.  Some left-handed hints at nudity but nothing overt.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  Yes.  Looking forward to Half Share.

2.6. Other:  I sampled Quarter Share first by podcast here  I learned two things:  1) I don't like having books read to me, and 2) I liked as much of Quarter Share as I heard. 
     To me, there are two downsides to the Solar Clipper series. 
     The first is the name of the series:  Solar Clipper.  From that name, I expected tales of lightsailships cruising our solar system.  'Taint so.  As mellow as Solar Clipper sounds, I think Stellar Clipper would have been better. 
     The second--and this is big--is the production schedule.  As of today, only Quarter Share and Half Share are available on Kindle.  I want 'em all, and I want 'em now.
     One last item.  Ishmael refers to the space between the stars as the 'Deep Dark'.  I like that.  It is an evocative image.

2.7.  Links:
Nathan Lowell @
Trader's Diary @


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    Cheryl Kaye Tardif,

  2. Hi, didn't know about the "Two Years Before the Mast" book. Would you have other recommendations for that "audience" ? Thanks

  3. Other sailing or sailing-related books that I have enjoyed:

    Patrick O'Brian, Aubrey-Maturin series (start with _Master and Commander_ or _Letter of Marque_; O'Brian is high on technical details; you will feel like you are aboard a sailing man-o'-war)

    Denton Rickey Moore, _Gentlemen Never Sail to Weather_ (tales of a modern cruiser)

    These are all the titles that come to mind at the moment.

  4. @ SFReader:

    I read a book, but I could not recall the name of the author nor the title, so I searched Amazon for 'sailing'. There are many, many good books on sailig listed there (such as _The Annapolis Book of Seamanship_). I found the book whose author's name eluded me before:

    Joshua Slocum, _Sailing Alone Around the World_

    No one has written a better book on sailing. It is available free online here:

    and here

  5. Thanks for the suggestions ! Will look into them!
    I had a try at the Aubrey/Maturin books but can't say I had as much fun reading them as with the Hornblower ones.
    Aside note : with "sails in space", I have also read the "Hope" series by Feintuch, and the "Honor Harrington" series by David Weber, preferring the first one, even though the hero is quite a "maniac" ...