Rated R: Contains violence, some language, and the coolest, most dangerous library ever!
Editors’ note: This episode originally aired as PodCastle 200. We are reissuing it to celebrate PodCastle’s 10th anniversary. This story was tied for fourth/fifth position in a listener vote that was held to determine PodCastle’s most-loved episodes over the past decade.
Norm Sherman as the Narrator
Peter Wood as Lazlo
Dave Thompson as Casimir
Wilson Fowlie as Master Molnar
M.K. Hobson as Astriza
Graeme Dunlop as Lev Bronzeclaw
Anna Schwind as Yvette
Ann Leckie, Alasdair Stuart, Talia, Occicat, and Marshal Latham as the Librarians, Indexers, and Vocubavores
and Rachel Swirsky as the Head Vocabuvore
In The Stacks
by Scott Lynch
On the clock outside the gate to the Manticore Wing of the library, the little blue flame was just floating past the symbol for high noon when Laszlo and Casimir skidded to a halt before a single tall figure.
“I see you two aspirants have chosen to favor us with a dramatic last-minute arrival,” said the man. “I was not aware this was to be a drama exam.”
“Yes, Master Molnar. Apologies, Master Molnar,” said Laszlo and Casimir in unison.
Hargus Molnar, Master Librarian, had a face that would have been at home in a gallery of military statues, among dead conquerors casting their permanent scowls down across the centuries. Lean and sinewy, with close-cropped gray hair and a dozen visible scars, he wore a use-seasoned suit of black leather and silvery mail. Etched on his cuirass was a stylized scroll, symbol of the Living Library, surmounted by the phrase Auvidestes, Gerani, Molokare. The words were Alaurin, the formal language of scholars, and they formed the motto of the Librarians:
RETRIEVE. RETURN. SURVIVE.
About the Author
Scott Lynch is an American fantasy author who wrote the Gentleman Bastard series of novels. His first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was purchased by Orion Books in August 2004 and published in June 2006 under the Gollancz imprint in the United Kingdom and under the Bantam imprint in the United States. The next two novels in the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves, were published in 2007 and 2013, respectively.
About the Narrators
Your narrator is the the King of Kitsch, the Sultan of Strangeness, the Odin of Oddity, the Nadir of nonNormalcy, Mr. Norm Sherman. You’ve probably heard Norm over at our sister podcast, Escape Pod, where he is Editor. And if not there, you’ll surely have heard him over on his own podcast, the Drabblecast, strange stories by strange authors for strange listeners, such as yourself. And if not THERE, well, just about anywhere in the genre pod-o-sphere.
M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.
Anna Schwind is a writer, editor, former librarian and Montessori educator living in Saint Louis, Missouri.
While Anna preferred to stay mostly behind the scenes, her writing and narration has appeared a few times over the years.