What if we sent freighters instead of frigates? In a universe run by corporations, where profit matters more than life, how can an orphan with no skills, no money, and no prospects survive? When Ishmael Wang's mother dies in a senseless accident, he's given a choice: leave the planet on his own, or the company will remove him. To avoid deportation Ishmael finds work as a mess deck attendant on an interstellar freighter. Find out what Ishmael must do to earn his Quarter Share.
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While in search of authors new to me I noticed this one coming up. It’s a rather different approach to science fiction in that it’s really a coming of age story that just happens to be set in the distant future. The futuristic setting provides the framework of the story rather than being the focus. It is a very gentle story, and I found it surprisingly engaging. If you are looking to set your phasers on maximum then you’ll have to set a course elsewhere because this is about a young man making his way in the world or rather galaxy. It is about encountering problems and overcoming them, about making friends and relationships in a new environment. Looking for a direction in life when the one you had always imagined for yourself is ripped away from you unexpectedly.
It’s a warm story and the author clearly has a lot in the way of human empathy. The narration feels right bringing the feel of almost classical fiction to the reader. Personally I like my battles and a good dose of “the engines canna take it” but this story kept me engaged. There is a good amount of detail that has gone into the way that this future universe works and how the trading ships operate which comes through. The characters also have a genuine feel to them.
Even given the premise I have to say I don’t think it’s perfect. I found it a little strange that virtually everyone that Ish, the lead in our story, came directly into contact with was actually genuinely nice. It’s hard to imagine hard-working crews of deep space freighters being quite so friendly across the board. You’d expect at least some kind of harder element to show up. I also have a bit of a beef about the length of the book. Something like an hour of this one is dedicated to a free introduction to the next in the series. Positive is that they are obviously planning to release more of the series for those that will continue with it. Negative, that seems a bit much to me, free previews are nice but some might feel that’s being used to pad this relatively short book into appearing more than it is . . .
That aside, and I’m still not 100% sure why but I enjoyed the maturity from the author of just writing a story set in the future. “The Golden Age” gives a good feeling for the his intentions. So if that appeals this one may well be worth one of your credits. Just put your phaser back in its holster first
When I like someone, I kinda follow them, so when I saw that Jeffrey Kafer posted about a new sci fi. I was like, Oh, yes please!
I did learn that it wasn't the usual kinda sci fi I read or have started to listen to, but that didn't mean I did not enjoy this.
The author Nathan Lowell has really done something different here. This is a very character driven book with people you can soon fall in love with. The main character Ish, has just lost his mum in a tragic accident, and with no parents and no job he's about to be forced off planet, so he takes the first thing offered to him because he's no choice.
The kid finds himself on the Lowis, (sp) and embarks on a very different way of looking at things, something no one on the ship has seen before.
Ish soon makes friends with the people in his department, Cookie and Pip. Even though he shows Pip up, he finds time to actually help the other youngster, and they become not only friends but partners in crime too, getting up to all kinds of trading adventures.
Pip, however, isn't having much fun, after losing everything he had in a trade gone wrong, it's the captain and Ish that help him here, and they begin to form a co-op with the ships best interests at heart.
The narration from Jeffrey is great, he's perfect in first person POV and the inner mind of a youngster finding his feet, not only with the fleet, but amongst other people is interesting and very well done. Jeffrey delivers a lot of emotion with hardly any effort and all the characters come alive. I was especially fond of Bev and Dianne. :) even Francis and Cookie. :)
I do think that there should have been a little more conflict for Ish on the ship. Although he's never been off planet before, the people he meets, all seem a little too nice. Maybe that's because Ish himself is just so nice, he never seems to fire up over much, doesn't really grieve for his mum, and I think I'd really like that, even if it wasn't in the first section of the book, but defo towards the end. The closest we get to that is when he remembers packing up on the planet, and moving to his new quarters, (but I'm not sure if that was actually in the second piece, as there was a few chapters in there for free.)
I am really interested in seeing what the gang does now though with their trading empire. I wonder what can go wrong, and what other relationships are going to form. It seemed Ish was starting to become attracted to some of his female friends on a different level, he kinda doesn't mention that from the planet. about his other friends, or any potential girlfriends.
Thanks for an awesome new series to follow, and I look forward to more! :)