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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Boy Makes Good, 5 July 2011
This review is from: Quarter Share (Solar Clipper Trader Tales Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Ish ("Call Me Ishmael--No kidding.") Wang is living an uneventful, late adolescent life with his college professor mother on a planet owned and controlled by a single company. Ish's mother dies suddenly in a crash, most of her estate is liquidated to cover damage to the crop field she crashed into, and Ish must leave the planet because he can't afford to live there anymore. You can almost see him shaking his fist angrily at the sky and cursing the author.

Motivated to change his circumstances, Ish signs on to a space freighter for entry-level wages and a "quarter share" of each trip's profit. Ish impresses everyone by studying for all four half-share rating exams at once, motivating one of his less ambitious shipmates, organizing a private trading cooperative, and inventing a new way to use ship sewage to grow mushrooms. He also works out, learns to cook, and is utterly oblivious to several female crewmates' romantic interest in him. Sometimes you want to shake your fist at him angrily.

There isn't much excitement in this story, just the slow, steady progress of Ish and his friends as they learn about the ship, their jobs, and each other. One of them gets mugged and loses some money. They are always worried that their private trading plans--for leather belts and such--won't turn a profit. But things always work out. And they are overly-intimidated by the ship's senior officers, who go out of their way to help and mentor them. The readers see the half-hidden smiles behind the officers' hands that Ish and company apparently fail to understand.

Comparisons to Robert Heinlein's juveniles are obvious and appropriate, particularly to Citizen of the Galaxy and Farmer in the Sky. This book is an enjoyable read if you don't expect too much from it. Yes, it isn't shoot'em up space wars. Neither is it the kind of concept-driven, Big Idea book that is science fiction at its best. It's good SF comfort food. The second course is waiting in Half Share.
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