Escape Artists

PodCastle => Episode Comments => Topic started by: Heradel on May 14, 2009, 10:00:27 AM



Title: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Heradel on May 14, 2009, 10:00:27 AM
PodCastle 052: The Nalendar (http://podcastle.org/2009/05/14/podcastle-052-the-nalendar/)

by Ann Leckie (http://annleckie.com/).
Read by M. K. Hobson (http://www.demimonde.com/).

“Down here!” the voice said, and she looked down at her feet, and then crouched, her dull green dress puddling behind and beside her on the gray stone. On the top of her foot was a tiny, black lizard, hardly as big as her thumb, and that only including its long, bright blue tail.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I didn’t see you at first. I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for protection, or a guide.”

“You are from the Silver Isles, I can tell by your accent.”

“I am. And I need to be on my way, good day to you.” She gently lifted the lizard onto her finger, and moved her hand aside to let it step into the road.

It stood firm. “Why are you going upstream? Your home is in the south.”

Umri searched her memory for advice on being rid of a persistent god. She found none. “I like to travel.”

“I suppose otherwise you’d never have come so far from home,” piped the tiny lizard. “Take me with you! The captain won’t charge for me.”

“I’m sorry, god whose name I don’t know, but I don’t make long-term deals.”

Rated PG. Contains a journey down a river (note: is not Huck Finn).


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on May 15, 2009, 03:45:26 PM
I really liked this a lot.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that M. K. Hobson is about my favourite Escape Artists reader (followed closely by Elizabeth Green Musselman).

A well deserved hand ;) for Ann!

Quote
(note: is not Huck Finn)
Made me laugh.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Anarquistador on May 16, 2009, 10:31:37 AM
I thought this one was neat. It had a decidedly non-Western, almost Polynesian feel to it, with the lizards and the swamps and how characters were described as looking. I liked the portrayal of gods in the story, as being interdependent on their worshippers. There was something very real about that. Very cool.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Listener on May 18, 2009, 08:27:48 AM
I haven't finished listening yet, but I'd like to take issue with the line "decent men don't tie women up." I've found that many of us actually do, and that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly.

Just sayin'.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: eytanz on May 19, 2009, 03:51:37 AM
Loved this story. Great world building, with lots of thought spent both on little details and big things, but presented in such a way that it didn't bog anything down. And I really liked all the characters, even the slimy suitor/prince guy. My only minor nitpick is that it relied on a big coincidence - why did the skink approach the same woman that his would-be-king was interested in? I could see that the river was meddling in her affairs by setting the whole thing up, but she was clearly not colluding with the skink so I'm unclear on how that worked out. Anyway, that's a minor nitpick in a really great story.

Oh, and "Reasonable Expectations" is the best riverboat name ever.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Rachel Swirsky on May 19, 2009, 04:30:02 AM
Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. ;)

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. ;) Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: eytanz on May 19, 2009, 05:00:03 AM
Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. ;)

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. ;) Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.

She was trying to convince the slave she was distantly related to to untie her.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Listener on May 19, 2009, 07:58:04 AM
Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. ;)

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. ;) Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.

Right after Umri is tied to the wheel and her almost-cousin shows up with the cushion. It wouldn't have been in character to say "against their will", and it would've opened an unnecessary door in the story. It's just a personal comment. *eg*


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Listener on May 19, 2009, 08:01:46 AM
I liked the story, though I felt that Umri was TOO powerful a female character... like, she has all the skills a woman could possibly need. Not to say that such women don't exist, because many do, but for storytelling purposes I felt Umri had it too easy.

MK Hobson's readings are always good, but the voice for Umri was too close to her narrator voice, so occasionally it was hard to distinguish what was dialogue and what was narration.

The producer did not leave enough space for some of the section breaks, especially toward the end.

Still, overall quite good. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and the Pratchett-esque treatment of the small gods.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: SirJolt on May 19, 2009, 10:36:39 AM
Great exercise in building a setting, a lot of fun. The ending was unexpected enough to be fun without being a total shocker.

Overall a lovely story, I didn't immediately equate it with a South American feel, but I can definitely see why others did. I enjoyed it a lot, but I can't offer too much explanation for why; I guess that might be why I had so much fun listening to it.

I must say I'm also enjoying these longer than average episodes.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Anarkey on May 22, 2009, 10:02:49 AM
Oh yay!  I believe this is one of the only one of Ann's gods stories I hadn't read and now I'm all caught up (hint: this could be interpreted as an exhortation to write more of them)!  Loved the Nalendar herself, loved the setting and the imagery, loved the way the lives of the gods and the people are intertwined.

For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080707/marsh-f.shtml), The God of Au (http://annleckie.com/godofau.htm), The Snake's Wife (http://annleckie.com/snakeswife.htm). 

Oh hey, will you look at that?  I thought The God of Au was the horse one and it isn't.  I don't think I've read that one!  Woot!  It's like she actually DID go out and write and extra story because it's new to me! 

Also, there's a really good horse one, possibly my favorite of the ones in this world, but I can't remember what it's called or where it was published.  Maybe Ann will stop by the thread later and let us know (or, you know, update her website).


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Rachel Swirsky on May 23, 2009, 12:00:02 AM
By the horse one, I think you mean the piece of hers which will be appearing in Realms of Fantasy when it kicks back up again.

FTR, of the stories you named, God of Au is the oldest. So she didn't manage to sneak out and write it new for you. :)


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Ocicat on May 26, 2009, 03:56:09 PM
I thought it was a very fun story, and especially enjoyed the skink god.  And the general bit about how gods can't lie, but can deceive (which is a lot like something I use in my own little fantasy universe, though in that case it's dragons who can't lie).

The recording level was way too low though.  Even turned all the way up, I could barely hear it in the car.  So that got in the way of my appreciation quite a bit.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Wilson Fowlie on May 26, 2009, 04:11:02 PM
For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080707/marsh-f.shtml), The God of Au (http://annleckie.com/godofau.htm), The Snake's Wife (http://annleckie.com/snakeswife.htm). 

Anarkey, thanks hugely for these pointers.  I liked this world more with every story!


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Hilary Moon Murphy on May 26, 2009, 04:17:50 PM
I loved this story.  The gods are lots of fun, and piece was very clever.  Thanks so much for writing this one, Ann.

Hmm


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Anarkey on May 26, 2009, 05:26:33 PM
For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080707/marsh-f.shtml), The God of Au (http://annleckie.com/godofau.htm), The Snake's Wife (http://annleckie.com/snakeswife.htm). 

Anarkey, thanks hugely for these pointers.  I liked this world more with every story!

Yay!  I'm so glad to be able to share!  My librarian training often kicks in an 'if you like this, then you might also like x and y' on story comments and it's so nice when it pans out for someone else's enjoyment.  Also, I think this world and its stories, engaging and fun and intricate, can certainly benefit from more exposure.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Rachel Swirsky on May 26, 2009, 06:13:04 PM
Quote
can certainly benefit from more exposure.

mumble, mumble, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, mumble


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Hilary Moon Murphy on May 26, 2009, 09:51:48 PM

Yay!  I'm so glad to be able to share!  My librarian training often kicks in an 'if you like this, then you might also like x and y' on story comments and it's so nice when it pans out for someone else's enjoyment.  Also, I think this world and its stories, engaging and fun and intricate, can certainly benefit from more exposure.

Oh, another librarian.  How awesome.  I'm one too.  And thanks for sharing those other story links.  I agree with Rachel that an anthology would be a very cool thing indeed.

Hmm


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Loz on May 28, 2009, 02:41:53 PM
I'm a morally ambiguous librarian, I stand between the light and the dark...

The story was a fun way to pass the time, though the small God reminded me of Small Gods. And it's nice to have a hero who, at the end of it all, isn't ashamed to go back for the gold.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: cuddlebug on May 31, 2009, 07:32:45 AM
Another great story and very well read. Bravo! and I also enjoyed the emphasis of the notion that Gods depend on/feed on people's prayers, their belief in them, or rather their devotion and the ritualistic affirmation of said belief. The lizard or any god growing in physique, power and strength proportionally to the amount of blood spilled in their name is an image one could ponder for hours.

The skink was my favourite character by far, it was also the most thoroughly developed character in the story, whereas the protag's personality/back story/feelings or deeper motivations fell a bit flat for me.

All in all a very enjoyable tale.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: DKT on June 03, 2009, 11:25:54 AM
Kind of late catching up but add me to the list of people who really enjoyed this story. (Go Ann.) Everything about the blood sacrifices and the how infuriated the skink was that Umri's suitor/captor thought he could control the skink by his pitiful sacrifices, right after the skink complained about how awful they were. Funny stuff.

And another great reading by MK Hobson.

(And also thanks to Anarkey for the other Ann Leckie god stories. I'm looking forward to checking those out!)


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: DKT on August 27, 2009, 10:31:51 AM
I think we should have more Ann Leckie stories. I might start a petition.

Just sayin'!


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Swamp on September 24, 2009, 12:51:42 AM
For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods (http://www.strangehorizons.com/2008/20080707/marsh-f.shtml), The God of Au (http://annleckie.com/godofau.htm), The Snake's Wife (http://annleckie.com/snakeswife.htm). 

Hey, I knew this story sounded familiar.  I had read "Marsh Gods" a while ago, and even though I knew at the time that Ann Leckie had written it, I didn't put the two together until I read this comment thread.  I kept having this nagging feeling that I had read "The Nalander" before, but the plot and characters were all new.

As for this story, it was quite a delight.  There was a rich texture and history as a backdrop, but it didn't get in the way of the fun and adventure.  The dynamics and conversations between the characters was fresh and exciting as well.

Another thing that stuck in my head was the image of the skink god.  However, despite M.K. Hobson's performance of the little god's voice, I couldn't get the image and voice of the Geico gecko out of my mind.  I know that skinks and geckos are different animals, but hey, chalk one up for good advertizing, I guess.  It didn't ruin the story for me; in fact, it made it all the more fun.

(http://www.prospect.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/images/1_Three_toed_skink__photo_courtesy_Mark_Hutchinson__SA_Museum.jpg)   (http://eyecube.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/gecko.jpg)
Skink                                     Geico gecko


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Unblinking on December 14, 2009, 04:04:01 PM
I liked this one pretty well, though it was similar in concept to Small Gods.  That's not a bad comparison as that is easily my favorite of Pratchett's Discworld series (with Interesting Times as second, and Thief of Time as a third).

I hadn't realized until reading the comments thread that this was the same world as Marsh Gods, but it certainly makes sense.  I liked the little skink god--can I have one?

The one thing I didn't undertand, though it didn't bother me overly much, is how the skink lost his big power?  I got that he made promises he couldn't keep, but was that to do with the promise about the hand and the boundaries of the kingdom?  I didn't quite make a connection there, but I got the impression that all the clues were there, I just missed something.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Fenrix on September 17, 2014, 03:04:17 PM
Thanks for the heads up in the intro of the most recent story. I stopped that one right there and went back into the archives to pull the prior episodes out so I could listen to them relatively close in succession. I'm still working on finishing the archives, but I've been suffering from some audiobook intrusion.

I pictured him more like this, since I recall the detail mentioned that he had a blue tail.

(http://www.pwconserve.org/graphics/wildlife/herps/skink_5linedse.jpg)

I like skinks a lot. They hang out near the garage and eat crickets and spiders and other things I'd prefer to have eaten before they make it past the door.

This story is good stuff. I'll make sure the wife listens to it, since she recently got excited about Ann's work when she read the excerpt for Ancillary Sword. Thanks for running all of these.



Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: DKT on September 17, 2014, 03:38:15 PM
 ;D

Actually, I really ought to go back to those two and relisten to them myself!

Speaking of which, Fenrix - did you ever hear Hesperia and Glory (http://escapepod.org/2007/11/08/ep131-hesperia-and-glory/)? One of my favorite EA stories I had nothing to do with :D


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: Fenrix on September 17, 2014, 03:46:05 PM

 ;D

Actually, I really ought to go back to those two and relisten to them myself!

Speaking of which, Fenrix - did you ever hear Hesperia and Glory (http://escapepod.org/2007/11/08/ep131-hesperia-and-glory/)? One of my favorite EA stories I had nothing to do with :D


I have not, thanks for the tip. I'll save that one for the road trip coming up and have it be a surprise for us both. My gap on PodCastle back catalog is only about 50 stories. My EP gap is YEARS.


Title: Re: PC052: The Nalendar
Post by: DKT on September 17, 2014, 03:52:25 PM
Also, it's cute to see old posts I made thanking Anna for being smart and praising Ann Leckie.

Some things never change :)