This is Nostrum, a fictional look at the high school debate universe, written by Jules O'Shaughnessy and the Nostrumite. The first series of Nostrum was published in the 1990s in weekly episodes until the two authors essentially ran out of gas. Along the way they published enough material to make Tolstoy look like a piker, but until recently it had all been lost in the primeval mists of the original old AOL website. Then, thanks to the dedication of Jim Menick, who obviously had nothing better to do with his time, the episodes were republished, both as print versions and audios. Menick made it through about half of the audios before he, too, ran out of gas.

Audios of the original series, up through episode 72, are available, both here and on iTunes. It is the seriously strong recommendation of the management that, if you are interested in Nostrum, you begin by listening to or reading Series One.

A complete collection of Series 1, annotated, is available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook. It costs $.99. It's worth at least twice as much for the annotations alone. In fact, I'd pay up to maybe $2.37 for it myself, but then again, I've only been in publishing for a little over forty years, so what do I know about books?

The original print series is also available here in fairly well reprocessed versions up through episode 72, coinciding with the recordings. After that, you get the episodes looking almost as they were originally published, up through episode 175, at which point Series 1 ended. There is no audio for these last 103 episodes; feel free to do it yourself, if you think the world needs them that badly.

And that was where we thought it would all end, until Jules, unsuccessful in reclaiming the Moravian throne, returned to the United States and rejoined the Nostrumite in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to create Series 2. Some people call this Nostrum: The Next Generation. Others call it The Nostrum Strikes Back, Nostrum Part Deux, or Nostrum 2: Just When You Thought It Was Safe to go Back Into the Debate Tournament. We simply call it a sad failure of imagination, but who listens to us, anyhow? Once again, Menick provided narration for the series, and both written and spoken versions of all of Series 2 are available from the links on the right.

There is also an annotated Kindle version of Series 2, similarly priced to sell at $.99 and not a penny more. This one is packed with extras, including what were thought to have been the lost Epistles of St. Jules to the Forensicians, Good Guys / Bad Guys, and the Tennessee Williams High School chronicles. As an even bigger treat, a handful of first-draft episodes, planned as a launch of a third series, are also included. They are unedited, but they do show to a degree how the sausage is made, for those who are interested, while also answering some unanswered questions from Series 2.

As Series 2 faded into the past, the debate world let out a sigh of relief, thinking it was finally rid of this scourge, but then Jules and the Nostrumite, frustrated that in both previous series they had started the story early in the fictional debate season and never gotten even as far as Thanksgiving, decided to give it yet another shot, this time concentrating on the end of the season, specifically the Combat of Conquerors, long aluded to in the earlier series but never approached even closely. The time had come, they said, to rectify this oversight. As noted above, early attempts at Nostrum: the COC Edition, were knocked out and then abandoned. Recently, however, the lads have decided to give N:COC another go. Talk about having nothing better to do with one's time!

May the Lord have mercy on all our souls.

Nostrum: The Original Series

Nostrum: Series 2

  • The Nostrum Nation Blog, in which Jules introduces each of the episodes. This is probably the best way into Series 2.
  • The episodes online, written and recorded.
  • The complete annotated Kindle edition, including all of the above (minus the recordings, of course), plus a goldmine of extras too numerous to mention.

Nostrum: Series 3, COC Edition

  • Yes, Nostrum is back, with a very special batch of episodes covering the big tournament, the Combat of Conquerors, that is the culmination of the debate year. The earlier series never got very far into the season, so we've skipped ahead to the Big One. They are being released by Jules O'Shaughnessy and the Nostrumite, the authors of record, at Nostrum Nation. It is recommended that, if you're interested, you get 'em there while they're hot.
  • Or, if you prefer, you can consult the archive of episodes online, written and recorded, which will follow in the wake of J and the N's blogging.

The Complete "Who's Who in Nostrum"

  • The complete character guide to Nostrum. Can't remember who anybody is or where they come from or their favorite color? Join the club, and look it up.