About the Golden Age

The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper grew from my long time fascination with space opera. From Lois McMaster Bujold to Iain Banks, from David Weber’s Honor-verse, to Piers Anthony’s “Bio of a Space Tyrant” series to Heinlein and Bradbury, and all the rest. I (mis)spent much of my youth lost in the galaxies both far, far away and closer to home.

One of the things that always bugged me about these stories was the larger-than-life hero. Every stinking one of them is some rich, powerful, or otherwise advantaged individual and, almost inevitably, it’s their money, position, or power that either saves them, or dooms them to follow whatever path the story takes. That’s all well and good. The powerful hero — even the “lost prince” Luke Skywalker type — is an enduring archetype. It’s great escapist fun to put yourself into the shoes of the great and powerful, but I’ve always wanted a hero that was more like me. Kinda slow, self-doubting, and, above all, fallible in ways that are closer to “toilet paper stuck to my shoe” than “unable to coordinate galactic take-overs with star-crossed romance.”

So, for once, the hero isn’t the Captain of the ship. He’s not even an officer. He’s a broke, uneducated, orphan from a backwater planet at the edge of no-where. He’s not a “hidden prince” and he wasn’t adopted. He’s just an average Joe trying to make it in the universe when his mother is killed in a mindless accident and he’s suddenly left to his own devices.

Please don’t get too hung up on the physics. I know there’s a lot of “then magic happens” in terms of the Solar Clipper’s technology. Humor me. The story isn’t about the string theory behind the gravity keel or the precise application of blue-green algae in the air scrubbers. It’s about the people who spend months at a time sailing between the stars, not on a warship doing heroic battle with enemies foreign and fearsome, but on a freighter just trying to make a living.

So, think of this as a kind of Billy Budd meets the Vorkosigans and gets a job on one of their ships. I hope you’ll find it an interesting voyage.

The Author as a Young DogNathan Lowell
February, 2007

220 Responses to About the Golden Age

  1. J. Lowen says:

    I’m a big fan of Weber’s Honorverse. Very happy to have found the Golden Age of Sail It’s a excellent change of pace from space military. Ordered my first one from Amazon and I read in in one day. Before going to bed I ordered every title in paperback I found on their site. Looking forward to reading the rest. I prefer books to E reading & have not bought a Kindle/Nook.

  2. The Captain says:

    Most people reading ebooks haven’t purchased a Kindle or Nook, so you’re in good company.

    The rest of the series should be out in paper by year end.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the reads 🙂

  3. Beryl Gray says:

    Just started Quarter Share, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Its beginning reminds me of Heinlein’s Starman Jones.

    I followed a link to the Amazon Kindle page from Glenn Reynold’s “Instapundit.com” site.

    I do hope that this series holds up to the start. I’m always looking for the next good yarn.

  4. BigJack says:

    Loving the trader tales … I got Quarter Share for my Kindle and after reading it, I immediately purchased all the rest of the books in the series.

  5. Frank Gerlach says:

    I have enjoyed everyone of the Solar Clipper stories and hope you have many more tales of all the characters to tell us. Seriously I don’t remember when I a have read a better series. I’m sorry that I can’t read them again as I did when I first found your series. You know how it feels when you’re getting to the end of a really great story, how you’re sorry that end of the book is close and you’re wishing you were at the beginning-well that’s how I’m feeling having read the whole series and wishing I was just starting to read the first book. Please if it’s at all possible let us have more. Could we have some more please Mr Dickens? I bought the first kindle-wait I take that back I bought the first kindle but I wasn’t fast enough with my order so had to be on the waiting list until more were produced. I haven’t read any other way with the exception of one book that wasn’t made available for the kindle until the hard copy was published. I couldn’t wait as it was the last book in the series and the author had died. I’m speaking of the,”Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan, finished by Brandon Sanderson and nicely done. Whether it was as good as Mr. Jordan would have done, I’ll leave that to other more knowledgeable readers but I feel Mr. Sanderson finished it well with all the different story lines answered(I think). There was a lot going on with that story.

  6. Frank Gerlach says:

    I forgot to tell you that I enjoyed your Tanyth Fairport Adventures as much as the Solar Clipper books, well maybe not as much but close enough that I would not want to choose one over the other. I enjoy fantasy as much as the”harder” science fiction.

  7. Nicole Gilson says:

    Awhile ago a friend said that I should check out this great audio book. I waved it off at first cause I’ve never been able to handle audio books. I’m always doing stuff while watching tv or movies. When I read a book, that’s all I do. I’m pretty dyslexic and I have to concentrate on what I’m looking at. Every time I’d tried an audio book in the past, I’d get distracted and miss something like a good minute or two of story.

    But then I finally got Quarter Share on my phone, and I pushed play. I listened on the bus on the way to school (I’m in college). I listened between classes, while drawing, painting or computer work. And while cleaning, doing the dishes, cooking and doing laundry. I had my ear buds in if I had more than a minute with no one talking to me. I made it through all the way of Owner’s Share and I have to say, “I LOVE IT!”

    I’ve got chapter 1 of Captain’s share playing in my ear as I’m writing this. It’s the 3rd time I’ve gone through them. I just wanted to let you know how much I love your story. Ishmel is the best. Thank you.

    I have some questions if you don’t mind? I was wondering if there is any more about him? or others from his life? What happened to Bev? and Pip? 🙂

    again, thank you

  8. Dennis Duffy says:

    I was referred to Quarter Share by way of an online Traveller RPG fanzine article concerning literature that evoked the feel of the game universe, and boy were they spot-on! I started QS today and am on Chapter 19 – it is outstanding work!

    As I read I wondered if you had played any Traveller or other space opera RPGs – your universe is certainly reminiscent of the genre. Thank you, Mr. Lowell!

  9. The Captain says:

    Sorry for the late reply, Dennis.

    Yes. I played Traveller – very briefly. I also played an old BBS game that morphed into Alien Assault Traders that also played a role in forming the universe.

    The biggest influence was the idea that all the space opera stories we read are about people with power, largely military in nature, and almost always about large scale warfare. I wanted to explore the idea of the “everyday hero” and the possibility that space exploration was too expensive for mere governments. Thus the notion that we sent freighters instead of frigates. That what we each do to survive matters and is often heroic in its own quiet and understated way.

  10. The Captain says:

    Ack. Sorry Nicole.

    I’m writing the continuing story of Ishmael now. Yes, he meets Pip and you’ll find out more about what happened to him and where Bev is now. 🙂

  11. Will Rogers says:

    Hi Captain,
    I have really enjoyed reading your Solar Clipper series. When I initially read about “Quarter Share” on Amazon, I wondered why I would want to read it. The summary made it sound a bit boring. Wrong. I went through the first four books quickly and just finished reading “Owner’s Share”. I have read science fiction for over fifty years, and your books are entertaining and engrossing, but they also go beyond that. Through Ishmael, you show that perseverance and hard work will serve you well and help you advance in life. I especially liked the way that everything that Ishmael learned and all of his experience was useful when he became a captain and ship owner. I am a sixty six year old retired electronics technician from Spacex. I feel that everything that I learned in life led up to my job at Spacex and helped it grow from a small startup to the successful company that it is today. I hope that younger people read your books and are inspired to set goals and work to attain them. Your universe is the only sci fi universe that I would want to live in. Yours has real people doing real jobs and coping with everyday life the best that they can. Thanks

  12. The Captain says:

    Thanks, Will.

    New books on the way.

  13. David says:

    First, glad to hear the new books are on their way, and that your health is improving.
    Second, is the “Traveler’s Guide To Toe-Hold Space” new? How did I never notice it before? 🙂 Will it be an ongoing accompaniment to the new books?

  14. The Captain says:

    1. Thanks

    2. Yes. The Traveler’s Guide is a compilation of little snips I’ve been putting into the FB group. I collected them all in one place because I think they make a nice “extra feature” for people who take the trouble to find the site. The least I can do is leave them something interesting to stumble on 🙂

  15. Natalie Zybert says:

    I first encountered TANYTH FAIRPORT in the beginning of her trigolgy (which was included with a bunch of other ebooks from amazon for only $1.99), then was immediately hooked…had to buy the whole set, then all of the SOLAR CLIPPER series I could find (7 at the time) & had a marathon session reading for 3 days straight. I was absolutely devastated when Greta died. Then overjoyed to see the next book takes up where the last one left off, so of course, had been putting off reading the Shaman’s tales…now that I’ve read the first one, can’t find the other 2 that I’m sure I saw on amazon a few months ago. I’m curious as to what relation Otto is to the newest mess hand (Quarter Share) Sara Krugg. Was it Otto that Ish encountered in the flea that fateful day? Then later “encouraged” her to seek space & leave her abusive husband?

  16. The Captain says:

    The next book is Cape Grace and I haven’t written it yet.

    Otto is Sarah’s father. Otto was not on the orbital when Ishmael was.

    I’m not sure what you saw, but it wasn’t Shaman’s Tales 🙂

  17. Laura Lasley says:

    My husband discovered Quarter Share via Goodreads, I believe, and convinced me to give it a try. I’m now on Full Share and loving every minute! Your writing is reminiscent of Heinlein, yet clearly with your own flavor. I greatly appreciate the Everyman quality of Ishmael…including the “my parents were weird and gave me a weird name”. Ish’s unique viewpoint allows him to find solutions others may not have considered. The beefcake scene in Half Share is classic 18 year old male! It reminded me of one of my daughter’s friends in high school. The little bits of quotes from classic books interspersed are delightful.

    I’ve been under the weather this last week, and your books have been welcome company. I’m so glad that there is much more to your ‘Universe’ that I look forward to enjoying. I also appreciate the teaser introduction to your friend J. Daniel Sawyer in the back of Half Share. I look forward to reading more of his work.

  18. Laura Lasley says:

    PS. When I saw the list of authors that you love to read…my own list mirrors yours! Thank you for writing.

  19. Mike Madore says:

    I’ve just finished the “Solar Clipper” series. WOW !
    I’ve gotten tired of reading stories about the final conflict, alien attackers and earth’s last chance, a ship of fools captained by a black sheep commander, etc. etc. etc.
    I read the intro on Amazon and for the price I had to take a chance…best money I’ve spent on a book/series in a long time.
    I much prefer stories about exploration and “regular” schmucks although your “star” of the series is not really a “regular guy”…BoyToy hehehe.

    I am really looking for the next adventure.
    Thank you.

    My favorite of all time series is the Vorkosigans…Miles is the man…

  20. Mike Madore says:

    PS: I’ve downloaded and am listening to the podcasts…well done sir, very well done.

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