I think we all, at Flying Island Press, look up to Nathan Lowell. And there are many reasons, not the least of which is that he’s a really, really, nice guy. He’s a prolific writer who started out by podcasting all of his stories and has made the “Big Time” getting his stories published on paper. He’s like the local guy who made good. He is who we all want to be; A published writer.

He started, at least as far as I understand it, with his “Solar Clipper” series. The first story being, “Quarter Share”. I was fortunate when I started listening to them, downloaded from www.podiobooks.com, there were already three of them out, and the fourth soon after. I got a full dose of Nathan right off the bat and listened to them over and over. A few months after I listened to the first one, I participated in Nanowrimo and set publishing on podiobooks as my goal. It took me three years, but I finally did it.

I had just finished listening to a 24hour audio book called “The Pity of War.” It was an economic historian’s view of the First World War. Interesting, but heavy stuff. I wanted something to relax with and enjoy. So I re-listened to “Owner’s Share”, the last book in the Share Series. I remembered listening to it as each episode was released, and when it was over, I thought it ended wrong.

Of course, Nathan set us up for this, early on. Back when Ishmael was flying out from Port Numar after graduating from the Academy, he watched movies with old ladies, and some time in there he says something about the hero is never allowed to be happy.

It was like Yan finally catches up with Yin in this last book. The first few books, Ishmael can almost do no wrong. He can make an amazing cup of coffee, he can woo the captains of other ships, and sets up the swap meet co-operative without staining his Henry Rubiat clothes.

In this last book, he grossly misunderstand romantic cues from the perfect woman, establishes trust in untrustworthy employees. He also completely misjudges his former bosses daughter.

While the previous story, “Captain’s Share” had to be the most exciting and action packed episode, this one would have to be the most emotionally altering episode for Ishmael Whang. I’m sorry he didn’t get to end up living happily ever after. I would have considered it justified for all he has been through and would have been completely satisfied with its ending. Maybe he’ll find his place in another side story. He’s still considered young in this universe.

One thing Nathan shows in his stories is though millennia pass, many things still remain the same. People will have relationships and wear, they’ll still drink coffee from a mug, and eat bacon and eggs for breakfast. There is only one expression he used in Owner’s Share that I can’t forgive, is when Ishmael says, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” In all the previous books I never heard anyone refer to time other than on the 24 hour clock. And with the talk of Ticks, Stans, and Stan Years, they probably would have switched to a digital time, like one hundred hours in a standard day, and one thousand seconds in a standard hour.

All snarky comments aside; I’ve loved Nathan’s universe, the shares, the ships, the stations, the swap meets and the deep dark. This final episode gave me what I love most about Nathan Lowell’s stories, and that is engaging characters, a fascinating story set in a believable background.


Philip ‘Norvaljoe’ Carroll is a staff editor at Flying Island Press and lead editor of the Pieces of Eight Benefit Issue: Teen Suicide Prevention. He wants to be a novelist when he grows up, but most of all, wants you to go to www.horroraddicts.net, find the Masters of Macabre contest, listen to it, and vote for him. His is the last story of the five. (thanks)


  • Funny you mention that clock thing.

    In the world of digital clocks, that phrase gave me pause while I was writing it. Would a broken *digital* clock be right? Ever? Would it be blank? Would it blink 12:00? Unlike an analog clock with hands frozen in place, a digital clock really doesn’t break the same way.

    I finally went with it because it’s the kind of old fashioned saying his mother might have used.

    I probably shoulda hung a lantern on it. Something to think about as it makes the transition from podcast to text.

    Thanks for the kind words. It’s been a lot of fun bringing these stories to life and sharing them with everybody.

  • I don’t have a problem with the clock phrase at all. There are innumerable sayings in today’s world that we use as figures of speech, yet we’ve lost the literal meaning of the words themselves in the mists of time. So wouldn’t such sayings be common in Ishmael’s world as well?

  • Jeff Hite says:

    I have only had one problem with the “Share” books it is only a minor thing, but I notice that I eat a lot more snacks while I am listening to the books.