There I was, poking around one of my favorite YouTube channels, when I saw this video. “Hmm,” I said to myself, “Full audiobook? That implies the existence of a non-audiobook of same.” So I went to Amazon and, behold, there it was.
So, what is The Fall of Alla Xul? Well, it’s presented as a translation of ancient Sumerian tablets recounting the epic quest of Atun-Shei to topple the evil Emperor Alla Xul. The preface includes a whole summary of how the tablets were found, and various scholarly interpretations of them. These interpretations are referenced throughout the book in footnotes as well.
Except… well, you know, my favorite short story of all time is The Repairer of Reputations. I’m a big fan of stories where all is not what it seems. There are layers to this story, and half the fun is in seeing how many different elements have been woven together to make this narrative enjoyable.
Oh, and the titular fall of Alla Xul? Well, that particular scene evoked something else for me, something not out of Sumerian legend at all. But I don’t want to say what it was. Read it yourself, and see if it conjures up any memories for you. I think it’s a clever reference to… something. But then again, it may be just the universal tropes of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
All in all, this is a very fun, fast read that will be particularly entertaining for anyone who enjoys scholarly takes on ancient legends, stories-within-stories, and generally weird, esoteric tales. I recommend it. I also recommend checking out that YouTube channel linked above, particularly if you’re into history and/or film.