PodCastle 052: The Nalendar

by Ann Leckie.
Read by M. K. Hobson.

“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).

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11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Hover said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    A great story. It feels very ‘whole’ but manages at the same time to make you want to accompany Umri in the future. Very, very sweet.

    One questions though: the would-be prince’s name is ‘red hot imk’? Not really being able to make sense of the name distracted me from listening some times.

  2. 2

    Hover said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    forgot: and great reading by M.K. Hobson too!

  3. 3

    Rachel said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

    I checked the text. It’s spelled: Rilhat Imk.

  4. 4

    scatterbrain said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

    Enjoyable and colourful, but I’m doubtful if I’ll remember it.

  5. 5

    Erica said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

    Very expressive reading. I think the story really lent itself to audio form–a lot of good dialogue and opportunities to perform voices.

  6. 6

    Thomas said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

    I really enjoy the telling of this story. expressive and lively, and spot on. The story seemed to have a formula ending. Mean man gets his due, cute sweet maiden gets her wish and the impish god/trickster/conman gets left out in the cold. I was disappointed that I knew the ending before it came. This is an all too reoccurring ending in fantasy (and other genres). The story was very inviting and was looking forward to an unexpected ending. It did not happen.

  7. 7

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    June 23, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

    Hm. Everything I was gonna say has been said!

  8. 8

    Natasha said,

    June 26, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    I liked the story, but it suffered from the all-too-common flaw of unpronounceable names. Just as the first commenter heard “red-hot imk” I heard “real-hot imk” and was confused. The protagonist’s ultra long name provided for a moment of comedy, but that wasn’t enough to suffer through hearing the narrator attempt to say it, twice. The rolled Rs in the middle of names sounded too odd – almost pretentious – coming from someone speaking with a typical American accent. It’s like when your friend comes back from Cuba and is all of a sudden pronouncing it “COO-ba.” Maybe it’s just me, but I also strongly disliked the voice given to the little skink god, falsettos sound just as bad on a woman as on a man. I would have rather read the story to myself, I think.

    Other than the names and voices though, the reading was great and I really enjoyed the story. Yes, it was a bit formula, but that’s not always bad. It was fun and interesting, and I liked the world it was set in.

  9. 9

    Dead Gods « A. is A. said,

    June 22, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    […] time later a story came up on PodCastle called “The Nalender”.  It was about small gods who feed of belief, and a system of power based around that idea.  I […]

  10. 10

    Ann Leckie’s short story: The Nalendar | Rachel Swirsky said,

    February 29, 2016 @ 7:25 pm

    […] short stories by Ann. It originally came out in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, but you can listen to it and read Ann’s thoughts about […]

  11. 11

    Ann Leckie’s short story: The Nalendar | Alas, a Blog said,

    February 29, 2016 @ 7:29 pm

    […] short stories by Ann. It originally came out in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, but you can listen to it and read Ann’s thoughts about […]

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