Rated PG. Contains Dying Worlds, Flying Monsters, and Other Fun Stuff
The Ascent of Unreason
by Marie Brennan
“I want to make a map of Driftwood.”
Watching Last cough up his wine at the words wasn’t the only reason for Tolyat’s declaration, but he had to admit it was part of the appeal. The man was a guide, and had seen so much, experienced so much, gone so many places, that it was hard to crack his shell of burnt-out weariness. One pretty much had to say something so outrageous it should never be uttered by a sane man.
Tolyat leaned back, and nearly fell out of his hammock. They were in Kyey, where the local people had given over most of what remained of their world to the cultivation of some plant with an unpronounceable name, whose chief virtue was the production of tough fiber. The Kyeyi ate a little of it, sold a lot, and used the rest to make practically everything around them. Even the walls were mostly fiber, woven between the occasional piece of imported timber.
Despite coughing, Last balanced on his hammock like he’d been born Kyeyi. He wiped his chin and set his wine horn on the table — more fiber, mixed with mud and baked hard. Even the wine was a byproduct of that damned plant, from the liquid drained off during fiber extraction. Tolyat thought it tasted like fermented rope, but Last, for some inexplicable reason, liked it.
Last said, “Only idiots bother trying to make maps of Driftwood.”
About the Author
Marie Brennan is a former anthropologist and folklorist who shamelessly pillages her academic fields for material. She most recently misapplied her professors’ hard work to the Hugo Award-nominated Victorian adventure series The Memoirs of Lady Trent; the first book of that series, A Natural History of Dragons, was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and won the Prix Imaginales for Best Translated Novel. Her collaborative novel Born to the Blade, written with Michael R. Underwood, Malka Older, and Cassandra Khaw, was recently published by Serial Box. For more information, visit www.swantower.com or her worldbuilding Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/swan_tower.
About the Narrator
Wilson Fowlie has been reading stories out loud since the age of 4 and credits any talent he has in this area to his parents, who are both excellent at reading aloud.
He started narrating stories for a wider audience than his wife and children in 2008, when he answered a call for readers on the PodCastle forum. Since then, he has gone on to become PodCastle’s most prolific narrator.
He’s also narrated for many other podcasts, including all of the Escape Artists casts, StarShipSofa, Tales to Terrify, Beam Me Up, Cast Macabre, Dunesteef Audio Fiction magazine, and the Journey Into… podcast. He fits in all this narrating between his day job as a web developer in Vancouver, Canada, and being the director of a community show chorus called The Maple Leaf Singers.