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Quarter Share

A Trader's Tale from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, Book 1
Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Nathan Lowell (P)2016 Podium Publishing
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  • Marc
  • 29-09-2016

Nathan vs Jeffrey

I downloaded these stories some time ago directly from Nathan's page. They were free, so I gave them a chance and was pleasantly surprised at how the story carried forward.

*** This is not a cut at Jeffrey. His performance was nicely done. However, Nathan's reading was exceptional. I was surprised to find that you hadn't used his.

I have no personal experience with the civilian side of nautical service, but think this might be a good rendition of the merchant marine concept taken to space faring. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Nichol
  • 25-05-2016

An Easy Listen

Where does Quarter Share rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I am a big fan of all of the Tale's from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, and Quarter Share was my introduction to this universe. This was the first time I've seen a slice of life style story set in a sci-fi world. Normally, if there are spaceships there are either aliens, and/or war. And those stories have a place in my heart, but until I first listened to Quarter Share, I had no idea I even WANTED a story about the day to day life of a furturistic merchant marine. Now I've looked for others, but have yet to find one that compares to this series.There is something timeless about the story, so that, if not for the occasional tech, and science talk, Ish's story feels like it could take place in any time or place, be it today, or 200 years ago.Also, the further the series goes along, the more you feel like your looking at the early years of some great and important figure, and learning how he found his ideals and beliefs.

What did you like best about this story?

I like the timelessness of the story. I also like the spirit of cooperation this story inspires. Ish doesn't set out to change the spacer culture, or to make Pip a better crewman. He just wants to learn, and to make things better for everyone, and it's recognized by others, and people generally respond to it positively.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Ish and Pip begin private trading, and ultimately organize the co-op.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Our Journey Through The Deep Dark

6 people found this helpful

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  • bluestategirl
  • 23-01-2017

Excellent Narration / Fantastic Book!!!


Quarter Share is intelligent, well written, tells a familiar yet original story, and has a fully fleshed out main character whose story you'll care about. (It was also perfect for me over the last few chaotic months when all I wanted to do was stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head while the world went to hell in a hand basket. Hello Hell!)

However, if you are not anxiety prone, and want a action packed sci fi to read, move along -- this isn't it. This is the nuts and bolts of life on a merchant space ship with all the attendant excitement of visiting ports of call and making deals on cargo. Our guy is bright, works his way up the chain of command with alacrity, and he has nice friends. However, very little happens beyond that. No wars, aliens, romance, or even disagreements between the crew -- like watching spiffy paint dry on the prow of a really pretty ship. NIce, but really, there are more interesting things to read if you are so inclined.

So of course, I've already bought book 2! (It's looking to be the start of a crazy 4 years, and I need my sleep.)

Younger guys might really like it since it does have a Horatio Hornblower thing going, without the whips and the scurvy.

BUT -- And I'm embarrassed to admit this -- this is an edited version of this review. Originally I wrote the following: ". . . this book was NOT helped by Jeffrey Kafer's "Joe Friday, just the facts, mam" delivery. His monotone precision was a literal yawn, and his blank blandness added zero emotional nuance. It's a shame really. The MC is 18 when it starts, so a younger, more enthusiastic performance could have added much, including the sense of a real young man's life being lived."

WRONG. After reading the entire series (and it's a nice long one), and listening to Jeffrey Kafer's performance in every book, I am convinced that the series wouldn't be as great as it is without him. Consequently, I have placed a dunce cap on my head and spent some time in a corner contemplating the mistake of first impression reviews..

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: For everyone!

Fun Fact: I was on the Exxon Valdez in 1989 (not kidding). I traveled with my ex on the ship from New Orleans to Houston, where we disembarked before it continued on to infamy. I learned that living on a merchant ship was a weird half-life situation full of tedium, monotony, unrelenting engine noise, vibrating metal walls and floors, and ok food. In short: dreary. So, like the characters in this book, getting off ship to relax in port was the ONLY thing keeping the crew sane. Just saying.

But what most people don't know about that particular ship is that the big oil companies lobbied Congress to pass a law allowing companies like Exxon to ship their oil in the cheaper, lighter, single hulled tankers, like the Valdez, to save profits. So, instead of the safer double hulled tankers that they used to run -- that single hull tanker split in half and dumped it's cargo.

So of course they blamed the captain.

Thanks Congress!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-09-2016

Good But Not Nathan Lowell

What did you love best about Quarter Share?

I adore these stories. I've listened to them for years and I own the hard copies! The overall story line would have to be what I love most.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ishmael is the main character but I have always loved Cookie.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeffrey Kafer?

Yes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Like I said, I love these books. However, I feel that Audible/Jeffrey Kafer dropped the ball a bit on the recording details. I have listed to Nathan Lowell's performance of these books and Mr. Kafer is mispronouncing many of the names and descriptive words. I would have hoped that the performer would have talked to the author of the book to see how to pronounce the "odd ball" items. It kills me to be expecting "Roo-by-a" and hear "Roob".

7 people found this helpful

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  • peter van ettinger
  • 10-05-2016

a coming of age in space story

Where does Quarter Share rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

this books ranks in the top 10 percent as far as books that I have read

Who was your favorite character and why?

my favorite character is pip the reason why is I have a hard time identifying with the main character Ishmael but Pip is me in many ways. this is a coming of age story and the struggles this secondary character goes through are the same types of struggles I would have,. pip also has my sense of humor and reacts to problems in the same way I would react.

Have you listened to any of Jeffrey Kafer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Jeffery kafer does a good job. I have listened to before reading The empires Corp series by Christopher gnutella.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

no...

Any additional comments?

I first listened to this book six years ago. the author had released it free on the internet and actually read the book himself. I am excited to see it on audible and in print because it truly is science fiction of a different type and does not fit the stereotypical science fiction story, there is no climatic battle or life changing story in fact you will spend most the story waiting for the story to start unable to put it down because the book begs you to continue reading till you get to the end and realize you want to hear more of this authors work.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-05-2016

The delightful start to an enjoyable journey

Quarter Share is the first of Nathan Lowell's Trader's Tales, detailing the journey of Ishmael Horatio Wang ("call me Ishmael") from a raw, quarter-share, green newbie on the Solar Clipper Lois McKendrick, to the owner of a trading ship himself.

Quarter Share is not high adventure, but quiet pleasure. No one is in great peril, no wars or murders or shoot-em-ups happen. So if your tastes run to MilSF, this probably isn't for you.

What Nathan Lowell gives us is a a _good story_. One we can listen to and enjoy. Jeffrey Kafer's narration is good, with no over-dramatization and good pacing -- much in the style of the author's own reading of the book earlier as a podcast. Highly recommended, and I can't wait for the rest of the series.

10 people found this helpful

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  • M. Pannenberg
  • 27-10-2016

Nice easy story without drama

It's a pleasant listen. Nothing ever goes wrong and everyone is nice to each other. I can only imagine that this is because it should really be the first part of a larger book.

What really bothers me is that the book is advertised as over 7 hours long, but when you check the chapters you'll notice the last one is 1 hour by itself. Turns out that's the preview for the next book. That just feel underhanded and scammy. I like the story but am not sure I want to support this practice by buying the rest of the series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • River
  • 27-06-2019

Had Potential but don't bother.

I really like the idea of this plot and the writing style is not bad. However, not much of anything happens and the rest of the series is basically a wish fulfillment borderline harem story.

I really liked the setting and enjoyed a lot of the beginning and middle. I wanted to hear more about the world and the way things are done. I was actually looking forward to seeing the MC grow from a green kid into a professional space trader. I really thought that it would be interesting. Unfortunately most of the process of him learning about the ship and him qualifying to move up is just kind of hand waved due to how super, amazing, uber, . . ect . . ect. . .ect. . . brilliantly smart and amazing he is. Yet he still has the mind of a young boy going through puberty.

I can overlook the juvenile outlook that the MC has on life due to his age. What I can't forgive is that every single time a new female character is introduced the book proceeds to talk on and on about how sexy they look and almost never develops any of them past sex object. The book does make sure to describe them as strong independent women but has them all act like horny teenagers.

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  • James K. Freeman
  • 27-07-2018

Nice narration but, oh my, what a boring story

A space adventure about...... flea markets? Narrator does a great job with what is essentially a lifeless and boring story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D.A.
  • 16-04-2018

Boring Enough I Missed the Ending...

...then didn't bother to rewind and hear it.

Feels like a teenager, or an unimaginative merchant marine, wrote this. There isn't a plot really to speak of and I am not exaggerating when I say there is no conflict. There isn't even a character that doesn't get along with the main character. I say "main character" because protagonist implies someone you root for or has an nemesis or antagonist or any kind of challenge against them. The main character Ishmael has none of these. The author is almost undoubtedly a white american male because even though Ishmael works for what he has, he uses an unacknowledged privilege of everyone helping him for no discernable reason and the world never actively or even passively tries to keep him from his goals.

All the characters are very flat and one dimensional, or in Ishmael's case non-dimensional(seriously, you could replace his character with an empty pillow case and no one would notice). The few female characters have no depth beyond their physical characteristics that the author seems to think are extremely important to prattle on about. Oh my! One of the engie girls dresses goth/punk?? ThAt'S cRaZy!! Tell me more about how she has piercings!

I like how this is like a memoir of a trade-ship crew through a small lens of scifi, but I don't like how such an interesting concept is made incredibly boring. Literally nothing happens. There are no stakes, there is nothing at risk. At no point was I the least bit worried about or interested in Ishmael's well being. Ishmael coasts through life without anything to challenge his progress or low stakes desires. Even the world it takes place in is drab and grey and makes me nostalgic for dish water. This book needs some serious punch-ups or editing or ghost writers, because as it stands I can't see it appealing to anyone.

Narrator Jeff Kafer feels amateurish as a voice actor, all his voices sound the same. And slow down, Tex! It's not a race. You can speak at the speed people regularly speak to have a conversation, rather than trying to rush through it like you have a bus to catch after the recording session.

I had high hopes for this series but I would NOT recommend it.

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  • Simon
  • 12-05-2016

Genuinely Interesting Concept

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 

8 people found this helpful

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  • Tom
  • 29-08-2017

Not Star Wars no Jedi but lots of Trade Talks

[{"type":"Overall","question":"Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? ","id":231,"answer":"Possibly. This read less like science fiction and more like a business marketing class. Although we are meant to be moving between star systems we could as easily have been on the Dover Calais ferry. This is very definitely not the Starship Enterprise."},{"type":"Story","question":"What was one of the most memorable moments of Quarter Share?","id":197,"answer":"Actually right at the beginning. Our main Character Ishmael Horatio Wong (I kid you not), finds himself orphaned, effectively bankrupt, and homeless in one foul swoop. The morality of throwing a child (for the purposes of the book he has just turned 18) onto the street and moving them off planet is glossed over. I found myself wandering what would have happened if Ishmael had been a couple, even one year year younger. I find it odd that there is no safety net, no hardship fund that the university could have extended, and apparently no media service interested in taking up the story and shaming them into doing something. This is after all meant to be an advanced society that has moved off planet, but apparently left charity on Earth. "},{"type":"Performance","question":"Did the narration match the pace of the story?","id":221,"answer":"Hmm! The narrator is not the right narrator for this book. There is nothing wrong with him and he does the job well, but the main protagonist is 18. At no point in my listening to this book did he sound any less than 36 and usually somewhere in his mid-40\u0027s. The narrator makes him sound wise beyond his years simply by talking. He is 18 and meant to be finding his feet in the world and yet he comes across as someone who has just changed from one middle management job to another. He is 18 where is the sex. At that age whether you want it or not your hormones are fizzing and your body is responsive and none of that is here in this narration beyond a few furtive looks and a bit of blushing. "},{"type":"Genre","question":"Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?","id":245,"answer":"No. However, I did finish it within 24 hours as it is an hour shorter than advertised padded out with an hour from the next book."},{"type":"Misc","question":"Any additional comments?","id":-1,"answer":"I will continue with one further book as I am interested enough in the characters, but if they remain as they are I will not return for a third book. I note with interest that the books get longer as the series proceeds I hope that this is an indication of a more complex story line."}]

1 person found this helpful

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  • kanundra
  • 16-05-2016

Different, but amazing.

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! :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Poppey
  • 03-04-2017

Not a Bad Start

Something a little different. This is a series with a slow burn. It is not my usual listen and I had anticipated after a short time into the book that I would finish the book and leave it there.

However, not so. It is a story, to put it very simplistically, about housekeeping! It starts of with a young lad, whose mother has died, having to fend for himself, so he signs on as a deck hand, more or less.

The story gradually unfolds and although not full of battles and fighting, it is a gentle tale of what goes on onboard ship within the crew which have become, more or less, like a family.

I am now hooked and about to start the second book.