Episode 90: BMSE-May He Reign Forever by Nathaniel Lee

When the priests name 10-year-old Arem as the new king, they expect to be able to continue their way of life without a hiccup. Arem might have other plans…

Also, Big and Rish talk about wife-beater tank tops, Winger, New Year’s resolutions, and even use a special radio magic time machine.
Special thanks to Eric J. Blommel, Rich Girardi, and Josh Roseman for lending their voices to today’s episode.

Right click HERE to download the episode, select Save Link As, and save the file to your hard drive.


Related Links:
Nathaniel Lee Mirrorshards Site
Eric J. Blommel’s Site
Rich Girardi’s Lady Jade’s Lair
Josh Roseman’s Site
Some sound effects were provided by freesound.org.
Music was Gol Ashamdir by Mattias Westlund and The Return Of The King by Zero-Project.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


19 Responses to “Episode 90: BMSE-May He Reign Forever by Nathaniel Lee”

  1. Good job. Way to go, Nathan!

    I actually was just in Egypt the week before last, and I really enjoyed this story. The setting was wonderfully evocative, and I love the way the boy king’s powerful and dynamic personality gradually emerged. I felt that I could really see him slowly developing an awareness of the problems with his world, and how much power he has to fix it. Despite your fears, you did a good job of evoking Egypt without being bound to real life Egypt. Awesome.

  2. <3 the music for the dancers. :-D

    <3 Rish's take on Harum.

  3. I think the story would have had laugh lines at the wrong places with Priest Poopypants and Daddy Harem-Girls…

    I’m sorry you guys had a hard time with the names. I figured it would be difficult, and I felt kind of bad when I found out it was going to be read aloud.

    Charlotte has the Greenways, which are little nature-trail things that are eventually supposed to all connect up. Wooden walkways and so on. They have nice mile markers. It’s handy for getting exercise, but if you go during the weekend, you get run over by moms in Spandex and kiddies on bikes. Late night is the way to walk, def’nitely.

  4. OMG guys; this rocks. What an awesome storytelling combination y’all make between Nathan’s writing and your narrating. Perfectect pacing, voice overs, and musical interludes. Everything about this presentation was integrated with precision.

    I’ve only been able to listen to about half an hour of this on my desk top, but I’m on my way into my bedroom to fold laundry and do some ironing and just listen to the rest on the netbook. So sad, whatever happend to radio serials?

    I’m a long-time follower of Mirror Shards – how fitting you’d host Scattercat on your Broken Mirror series – and I can see how he could be a winner here. Your introduction of Nathanial was awesome: Oh, he’s that guy; yeah that guy. Every 100 word story I read is intriguing; entertaining. Cogratulations Nathanial Lee on your win. And thank goodness to me that I was able to download it and listen at my leisure.

    Seriously, when my novel is published, I’m hiring you guys to make the audio version. Good readers are hard to find, and you guys top the scale into excellence.

    I’ll be visiting Eric, Rich and Josh soon to “hear” what else you have to offer.

    Bravo to everyone who contributed to this highly entertaining medium. Thank you.


    • A lot of story podcasts don’t really engage with the medium. I’ve always appreciated the way the Dunesteef uses music cues and occasional sound effects to enhance the experience without going completely overboard like those aforementioned radio dramas used to.

  5. Cambodia Carl Says:

    I freaking lurve the voice of the kid so much, I decided to stop using birth control. Thanks, guys.

  6. Excellent. I’m a long-time fan of Nathaniel’s flash fiction. Nice to a) see him do something longer than 100 words and b) to hear it come to life.

    • Hey, now, I do long stuff all the time. I have (counts quickly) 23 short stories (of which five so far have sold and two have appeared since being sold.) (This being one of those two.) Also 22 flash pieces, of which four have “sold” or at least appeared on websites I don’t run.

      It’s not that I don’t write it. It’s just not very popular. :-D

      The reading was really excellent, wasn’t it?

  7. I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I knew less about Egypt. It was clearly alternate Egypt, but the “fresh kid changes things for the better” vibe was completely defeated for me. The kid changed it so that the workers were paid….just like they were in ancient Egypt. The kid used diplomacy instead of force, just like Hatshepsut and several other pharoahs.

    The nebbishy villains were clearly out of their league. They didn’t even have the guards kill the artisan and claim he ran away. The kid being so callous at the end of the story made me feel like it was “Home Alone: Ancient Thebes” the story. This is not a compliment, as the Home Alone movie made me wince in sympathy with the nebbishy villains ambushed by a vicious kid.

    After that, I was out of the story and didn’t enjoy it as much as the story clearly deserved. If it had been set in alternate Fiji or alternate Europe, I probably wouldn’t have known enough to drop out of the story.

    • Yes, I also empathized much more with the burglars in the Home Alone movies. I also agree that there are many similarities here.

      You may draw your own conclusion from that. ;-)

  8. Great episode! I dug the pseudo-Egyptian vibe and really enjoyed the take of a child ruler being benevolent, instead of petty as is so often the case in stories with that central conceit. Although I too found Arem’s last line sort of out of left field for his character. Still, overall I dug it and thought you guys did an excellant job! Oh… another part I loved… Harum’s way of addressing the king becoming seemingly more desperate as things got out of his control. Rish did an amazing job with that.

    As a side note, there were a couple of moments in the chatter that honest-to-god made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes. There was something about the dude in the wifebeater making… was it gin popsicles in his wife’s lady parts?!

    And then Rish saying ‘Were you quoting Winger?’ for some reason just struck me as so funny I could hardly breath.

    Anyway, great ep! I knew my new year was missing something. Now I’ve gotten some new Dunesteef, I feel as if I can start anew!


  9. RE: the story – very enjoyable. The only thing I raised an eyebrow about was the kid coming up with the idea of ambassadors on his own, which seemed unlikely. However, if the .. other guy kind of led him to it, or if its just because he’s apparently god-chosen, then I guess it works out.

    Excellent production as always.

    RE: the rest –
    I believe the term you guys were looking for was “colleagues”. :) And StarShipSofa – I don’t know how many people you two have working behind the scenes, but SSS is a whole team of people. And Tony doesn’t narrate either.

    I knew where the special guest segment was going as soon as his identity was revealed. :P I guess if you’re going to be called a douchebag, there are worse ways than in Takei’s splendidly resonant voice :P

    Thanks for another great episode, and happy new year.

    • If it helps, I did check to make sure that trade agreements had existed around the same period of actual history, so it wasn’t a Civ-style tanks-in-1600 sort of scenario. I figured Arem wasn’t the first to ever do it, but he did come up with the idea himself. (Beshat and Harum recognized the idea, after all; they just thought the Hideros weren’t worth dealing with.)

  10. I really, really wanted to like this story. I’ve come to like Nathanial’s writing on the Drabblecast forums and perked up when I heard his name on the beginning of the episode, but the story bears way too much similarity to the first third of Terry Pratchett’s ‘Pyramids’ to be enjoyable to anyone who reads Pratchett. Which is a shame because the quality of writing was top notch, as was the delivery, but the set up and the world…yeah, I’m sorry.

    • Sorry to hear that, though honestly the only similarity to “Pyramids” is that it’s a light and humorous not-really-Egypt setting. I can see where someone would get the same “vibe” and be disappointed, though.

  11. Awesome story enjoyed it throughout. The ending however grabbed me, it this seemingly innocent child had been plotting all along !?
    My take on it. Endings such as this cause me to go over the story repeatedly. Please mire from this super talented author.

    Big and Rish, poor little boys getting cold on your walks… it has been -40 degrees celcius with 3 feet of snow for the last 2weeks. I feel so bad for little Big ‘an Rich.
    Seriously love your podcast banter, and really who would choose to live where it gets so cold anyway?
    What makes your podcast so much better than the numerous podcasts mentioned is the quality of the stories chosen, the talented way they are put out. I could make a huge list full of ‘little’ things, but these are the two most important. Oh wait, one more thing, each Dunesteef is unique and fresh, put that on a time line and that would be lost. That is what makes The Dunesteef so great!

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