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NBTM & #Giveaway: Glossolalia by e rathke

@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish,


“My name is Ineluki. I come from past the mountains and ice. It took me many days to reach here. All I know are dead. Will you take me in?” And so begins a calamitous year at the edge of the world. Chief for the year, Aukul's life has never been better. His people respect him, he spends his nights with the love of his life, and his skills as a butcher and chef improve every day. Then Ineluki, a young stranger, wanders into town with nothing but an empty book. He begins telling stories of the world beyond the one they know. His stories challenge their reality and lead to a summer of unprecedented disasters. One by one, the villagers begin dancing. Dancing tirelessly, as if in a trance, until they die. Believing Ineluki is to blame, Aukul confronts him on the worst night of his life.

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The truth of that summer is often hard for us to swallow, even all these years later. There was a profound feeling of powerlessness mixed with an exciting sensation of change bubbling up inside all of us. While the violence of the Uummanuq tried to hold us down, smother us, bury us, the words and visions of Ineluki invigorated us.

Most agree, now, that the reason Ineluki became such a central figure in our town was because of the weakness of Aukul as chief. His obsession with Umaal, butchery, and the Uummanuq. But we’ve been unfair to Aukul for so long, and with no one to defend him, his legacy continues to be smeared and tarnished. It’s always easier to point a finger than it is to ask for forgiveness.

We all allowed it. Any one of us could have turned him away that first day, or any day that followed. Especially after all the lunatic things he told us about his gods and his people.

This is where the oppressive powerlessness came in to lead us down a path of complacency. The Uummanuq mutilated our friends and family. The mountain girls returned, and though no one admitted it then, only to sing a song no one understood. We didn’t understand the context or the purpose or the words, and so our silent, absent leaders arrived only to reveal themselves opaque and incomprehensible.

And then there was Ineluki. His beauty and otherworldly glow. His green eye and his black. His white hair and his certainty. His empty book and the way he invaded all our dreams. The way his words swept through our town. His words of different ways of living, new ways of thinking.

What (or who) inspires you to write the most?

The ideas have never been a problem for me, but the things that have always inspired me to sit down and write are the things I’m most terrified of. Fear is a powerful motivator for me, and while I’ve never found writing to be a form of therapy, it can be a useful way to exorcise your demons.

When my wife was pregnant with our first son, I often spent hours awake, afraid of what could go wrong. And in pregnancy, many, many things can go wrong. I put all of this into a novel dealing directly with miscarriages and stillbirths. Its working title was, quite simply, Miscarriages and Stillbirths. A short fantasy novel about a person’s rise to prominence as a poet punctuated by their childhood as an apprentice at a temple where they witness a sequence of stillbirths and miscarriages.

Fortunately, everything went well and now we have an almost 4-year-old. But a few years ago, different fears came to overwhelm me. Fears of all that can go wrong after birth and between two people. This domestic realist drama is, I think, one of the best things I’ve ever written. Reading it also makes me want to vomit. It’s so claustrophobic and deeply unpleasant to me that even the process of rereading it to edit became emotional taxing.

Many of the novels I’ve written over the year are defined by what I’m afraid of. Glossolalia, too, represents many of my fears about cultural disintegration and loss of meaning. But it’s through tackling these fears head-on that, I think, I come to understand aspects of myself. And, hopefully, come to something true about people more broadly.

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e rathke writes about books and games at

A finalist for the 2022 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, he is the author of Glossolalia and several other forthcoming novellas. His short fiction will appear in Queer Tales of Monumental Invention, Mysterion Magazine, and elsewhere.




Tour hosted by: Goddess Fish Promotions

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