I spent my week dragging out the delightful listening to 2015 Nebula Award nomination, “Waters of Versailles” by Kelly Robson during my workouts. Posted in three relatively long episodes over on Podcastle, and narrated by Heath Miller, it was the perfect distribution of an intriguing story and brief interview with the author between four workouts throughout the week.
Set in the early 1700s, during the reign of King Louis XV, “Waters of Versailles” follows the misadventure of former soldier, womanizer, and determined social climber, Sylvain. Charged with creating more modern amenities for the nobility of Versailles, Sylvain finds himself using the magic of a young nixie he captured in his water canteen years prior to enhance the plumbing, and eventually create the first champagne fountain in an effort to impress those he competes with to gain social standing.
When I first started listening to this story, I wasn’t sure a story about toilets was going to hold my fascination, especially during arduous workouts, but Robson effortlessly drew me into this story with a solidly developed character who seems, at least at first, to want the same things we all want: acceptance, comfort, praise and appreciation for his efforts. As Sylvain evolves throughout the course of the story, and begins training the nixie to move the water effortlessly through the plumbing, I found myself falling into the tangled web of their developing relationship and hoping that through that relationship Sylvain might actually start to understand what he was really searching for.
This was a great story. It kept me motivated to exercise because I really wanted to hear more. Five out of five stars, and highly recommended, even if you’re not looking for something to keep you distracted from your workout! And you can listen to or read it in its entirety over on Podcastle.