The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

A Trader’s Tale

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I am currently reading A Trader’s Tale, by Nathan Lowell, a space opera about growing up and learning to find a place in the universe.

Most space operas deal with the adventures of space cadets in some kind of military organization. Lowell’s books, by contrast, stay away from cliches and provide us with hours of delightful immersion in the world of Ishmael Wong, a charismatic, and intelligent, but otherwise average kid, who finds himself thrust into the world shortly after his 18th birthday, and the dead of his mother.

Ishmael has to learn to survive, and even thrive as a member of a trading space ship. The story does without the exaggerations many other space adventures relish, and reads like a light picaresque novel mixed with pinch of beautiful American realism, but without the heavy existential overtones, or saccharine outlook.

Like all good literature, the books have a way of siping into life and perceptions. Although I’ve only listened to the first two and a half books of the series (Quarter Share, Half Share, and Full Share), I find myself looking forward to spending time with Ishmael, Pip, Brill, and the other characters, and when I am not reading, I am inspired to apply Ishmael’s outlook to the rest of my life.

Through the books, I can see my daily duties as an adventure, and a set of challenges and opportunities to make the world a little bit better. It has been a long time since I’ve interacted with literature capable of touching me at such a deep level. I actually don’t believe it has happened too often since I got my literature degree.

A Trader’s Tale is a vindication of hard work and ingenuity without being preachy, or overly romantic. It is really hard to encapsulate the story, but it is immersive and a pleasure to read.

Note: Lowell’s series is available online as a podcast. If you download the free audiobooks, and enjoy them, don’t forget to make a donation, or, at the very least, to tell a few people about them. Authors like Lowell deserve to be supported and encouraged. Also, I accidentally deleted this post, so here it is again. The original one contained a kind response from Mr. Lowell himself


Written by Hector

November 24, 2010 at 4:54 am

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