Podiobook Review: Quarter Share

I’m guessing at least half, if not more, are asking, “What the heck is a Podiobook?” Fair enough. Before the review, I’ll give a quick overview from Podiobooks.com:

The term podiobook was coined by Evo Terra to describe serialized audiobooks which are distributed via RSS, much like a podcast. Listeners to Podiobooks.com can choose to receive the episodes of their books via an RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from this site. Some listeners keep the audio files on their computers, some transfer the book to CD, but most transfer the file on to their MP3 player so they can listen no matter where they are.

OK, so now that you’re versed, let me get into the review of one my personal favorites, Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell.

Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell

Listen to the Quarter Share Promo or Get the Whole Book Free

Author’s Web Site


When Ishmael Wang is orphaned by a flitter crash, he must make some hard decisions about how to survive in a Company-owned universe. With limited time and fewer options, he lands a job as the newest hand on the Solar Clipper Lois McKendrick and learns there’s more to life than making coffee. Join Ish, Pip, Big Bad Bev, and the rest of the Lois McKendrick’s crew as they sail the galaxy in search of profitable trade

High Point

It’s a general thing, but since you get invested in Ish, you feel a part of his successes (both big and small) as he gets his “space legs.”

Low Point

The first few chapters take awhile to get up to speed, but you’re interested enough in the character and style of the novel to stay tuned.

The Scores

Originality: While totally common in old seafaring tales to have the main character start at the bottom of the ship, it’s not all that common in Sci-Fi. Most of the time we’re given the captain and officers point-of-view. 5/6

Story: It’s an enjoyable tale, but not a story like we’re used to. It’s more a narrative of Ish’s life on board the Lois McKendrick. And that’s not a bad thing at all. What it’s missing a good, solid antagonist or well-defined goal. 4/6

Imagery: Lowell does a good job of describing the surroundings, but excels at Ish’s internal feelings and moods. 4/6

Characterization: These are real-life and interesting characters. 5/6

Emotional Response: This is Lowell’s gift, you genuinely like Ish and the crew and find yourself longing to walk the hallways with them and perhaps sample some of that epic coffee. 6/6

Production: Nathan’s voice and style has been called “fireside chat-like” and it’s really fitting. Aside from the occasional noise from papers being shuffled, it’s a good and clean recording. 5/6

Overall: I found myself plowing through this book in a matter of days and couldn’t wait to grab the next book in the series, Half Share. 5/6

Total Score: 34 out of 42

Note: For Podiobook reviews, the usual Book Review rubrick is being used with Production replacing Editing (which will include editing, but will also include sound quality and voice acting/narration).

10 replies on “Podiobook Review: Quarter Share”

  1. It sounds interesting, but I’ve always had problems with listening to books – I lose focus and miss big hunks of the story. I poked around the author’s website and couldn’t find any links to ebooks or pdfs (or even a dead tree copy) – is it only available in this format?

    • Well, I just finished it, and I’ve begun Half Share. I discovered that two podiobook episodes equal about one morning dog walk, and since my dog doesn’t need my full attention to take care of his business, I can focus on the book without fear of missing anything.

      This reminds me – quite favorably – of a Heinlein juvenile book, and Mr. Lowell, if you’re still lurking about I must express my thanks for creating a most enjoyable story. I fully agree with TheAngryMob’s assessment – you’ve made these people real and believable, and have gotten me invested in them (so much so that I kicked myself last night in the grocery store where I was listening to the last episode of this for not having had the foresight to have grabbed the first episode of Half Share before heading out).

      Speaking of Half Share, I grabbed the first five episodes this morning and I’m currently debating with myself as to whether or not I should listen to more or attempt to prolong the enjoyment for as long as possible.

      Oh, and Mr. Lowell, if you’re still here there’s one more thing – please let us know if you do create a dead tree version, since I would most happily shell out some coin to add it to my library!

      • Glad you liked it Sean. I plan on doing reviews of the rest of the series, but I have quite the backlog of Podiobooks to review and want to “share the love” as much as possible, before doing a sequel. My thinking is: If you liked #1, you’ll probably like #2, 3, etc.

        • Quarter Share – Done
          Half Share – Done
          Full Share – on the last episode.

          The funny thing was, those walks got longer and longer…

          Still, I was surprised by the decidedly adult turn the next two books took – especially the chapter in Half Share where he gets the new clothes (I refer to that in my head as “The one where Ishmael learns he has a nice rear”). It was tasteful, but somewhat out of the blue, and although it works in the context of the situation – people are going to have sex, especially when cooped up for months at a time – it jarred with the content and tone of the book up to that point. I’m assuming that Full Share’s going to end with a cliffhanger (which will drive me mad, I hate loose ends), but they’re all enjoyable ‘reads’ and I’m definitely going to mention them to my friends who are into Heinlein.

          • Hmmmm…. spoiler tags not working? Now? if that’s right, that means I used the wrong brackets above.

            Damn, we need a preview to keep me from doing that. Sorry everyone! Sorry!

  2. I commute anywhere from 3 – 6 hours a day and listen to a lot of Podiobooks. I wanted to pipe in to say that Nathan’s series following Ishmael are individually among my favorite audio books.

    They each hold their own as far as keeping you captivated, but taken together they weave an amazingly rich tapestry. Equally compelling, though a bit different, is “South Coast” which is in the same universe, but stays planet-side and follows a young shaman’s life journey in a fishing village. All of Nathan’s works are well worth the listen!

    As an aside, I’m not affiliated with Podiobooks.com in any way, but my wife and I are hosting a Podiobook themed costume party at this years Balticon May 22-25 near Baltimore, Maryland.

    If anybody will be in town for Balticon I encourage you to stop on by (kicking off 11:00pm on Saturday night) – there will be lots of authors on hand to meet and mingle and we’ll be having a costume contest with signed book prizes as well as other fun stuff planned!

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