SO AT THE RECOMMENDATION OF MY BROTHER, I’ve been reading Nathan Lowell’s Solar Clipper books — here’s the first one — and they’re kind of unusual because, by the standard of science fiction not much happens. No alien attacks, no space pirates, just running a ship and trading. But they’re still interesting and good! And while Lowell’s style isn’t much like Ayn Rand’s — more like a Heinlein junior — this passage from Captain’s Share is pretty pro-commerce:

He looked at me curiously. “What was your main objective, Skipper? Improve the ship’s reputation?”

I shook my head. “You can’t improve reputation by focusing on reputation, Avery. You always earn it by your actions.” I stopped to think for a couple of heartbeats. “I almost didn’t take the berth because of the Agamemnon’s reputation on the docks, but once I was here, my main goal was simple. Make money.”

He cocked his head to one side. “Isn’t that rather cold, skipper? Make money?”

“Maybe,” I shrugged. “But it’s why we’re out here. It’s why the ship exists. We’re all out here because we make money. If we didn’t make a living at it, we couldn’t do it.”

I wish more people understood that basic point.