PseudoPod 171: Napier’s Bones

Napier’s Bones

by Stephen Gaskell

The Most Plentifvl, Easy,
And Speedy Vse thereof in both kindes
of Trigonometrie, as also in all
Mathematicall calculations.

Tom flicked through the book. Obtuse definitions and diagrams like fishbones filled the pages. A — seventeenth century? — textbook on logarithms? How the hell had Great Uncle Alvin ended up with this? Tom peered into the box. Another chapbook titled “Rabdologia”, by the same author, John Napier.

He shuffled through the other papers in the box. All writings by or about the man: extravagantly illustrated occult texts; religious revelations; serious biographies. At the bottom, wedged beneath a thick medical textbook with an MRI scan of the brain on the cover, Tom caught sight of several off-white stones. Their smooth, heart-shaped surfaces gleamed in the torchlight.

About the Author

Stephen Gaskell

Stephen Gaskell is a freelance videogame script consultant and speculative fiction writer whose work has been published in many venues including NatureInterzoneand Clarkesworld. An alumnus of University College, Oxford, he is also a graduate of Clarion East, and a member of the Villa Diodati Writers Group.

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About the Narrator

Ian Stuart

Ian Stuart is a writer/performer living in York. He has done work for the BBC and Manx Radio, as well as audiobooks, historical guides and promotional videos. He is also a storyteller/guide for The Ghost Trail of York, taking tourists round the city and telling them some of its darker secrets. You can read more about his poetry and his dog, Digby, on his blog, The Top Banana. If you wish to contact Ian about voiceover work of any kind , you can get in touch with him on Twitter at @yorkwriter99. His greatest boast is that he is the father of a famous son.

Find more by Ian Stuart