Hounds, hags and kidnappings

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library.

As always, all times SLT / PDT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday November 2nd,13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: The Hound of the Baskervilles

Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell invite you to join them as they return to what is quite possibly the most famous of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, and present their fourth reading from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Baskervilles-1902The third full-length novel written about Sherlock Holmes, this is likely to be the one Holmesian story which – at least in outline – known to most, whether or not they have actually read any of Holmes’ adventures.

But do they know it as it was originally written? Over the decades the story has been adapted for film and television more than 20 times, starting as early as 1914/15 with the 4-part series, Der Hund von Baskerville, and continuing on through to Paul McGuigan’s The Hounds of Baskerville, featured in the BBC’s brilliant Sherlock series.

All of these adaptations have offered their own take on the tale. Some – such as McGuigan’s, have simply taken the title of the story and used it to weave a unique tale of their own; others have stayed true to the basics of the story whilst also adding their own twists and turns quite outside of Conan Doyle’s plot in order to keep their offering fresh and exciting to an audience.

So why not join Cale, Corwyn and Kayden as they continue reading from the 1902 original, and discover just how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unfolded this apparently supernatural tale of giant hounds and murder, and the pivotal role played by John Watson himself?

Monday November 3rd, 19:00: The Witches of Karres

witches of KarresThere’s an old saying that no good deed ever goes unpunished. Such is the case for Captain Pausert, inexperienced space trader, skipper (and sole crew member) of the old Venture. After rescuing three young girls enslaved on the planet Porlumma, he found himself plunged in intrigue, adventure and pursuit by forces from all sides, few of them with his best interests at heart, and all of which draw him into further adventures that might just have had him wishing for the simpler days of space trading…

Join Gyro Muggins as he once again delves into the rip-roaring mix of space opera, fantasy and hard science-fiction which started with James H. Schmitz’s The Witches of Karres, first published in 1949 prior to being expanded into a full-length novel. In time, the story was followed by two further volumes, The Wizard of Karres (2004), by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer, and The Sorceress of Karres (2010), again by Flint and Freer, all of which form the rich well of adventures from which Gyro draws

Tuesday November 4th,19:00 More Cailleach Tales

In Irish and Scottish mythology, the Cailleach is a divine hag, and regarded as a creatrix. In Scotland, for example, she is credited with making many mountains and high hills, and is also regarded as the mother of all the gods and goddesses. She’s also said to be the personification of winter.

Find out more by joining Aoife Niphredil at Seanchai Library.

Wednesday November 5th, 19:00: Kidnapped

KidnappedCaledonia Skytower commences reading from one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s most well-known works. First published in serial form in the magazine Young Folks
between May and July 1886, Kidnapped is perhaps best summarised by simply giving the story its original full title:

Kidnapped: Being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: How he was Kidnapped and Cast away; his Sufferings in a Desert Isle; his Journey in the Wild Highlands; his acquaintance with Alan Breck Stewart and other notorious Highland Jacobites; with all that he Suffered at the hands of his Uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, falsely so-called: Written by Himself and now set forth by Robert Louis Stevenson

When first published, due in part to its title, the book was at first thought to have been autobiographical, and David Balfour a real person. This impression was added to by the fact that several of the characters – including the Alan Breck Stewart mentioned in the title – were real people, while a part of the story involves matters related to the very real Appin Murder, which followed the Jacobite Rising of 1745. The novel has also drawn strong comparisons with the true-life story of James Annesley, which also influenced Sir Walter Scott in writing his Guy Mannering.

So why not join Cale as she opens the covers of this most intriguing of stories?

Thursday November 6th

19:00: Don’t Open This Book!

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore.

Saturday November 8th: Seanchai at the OpenSimulator Conference

Caledonia Skytower and Shandon Loring will be presenting Library Out Loud at the 2nd annual OpenSimulator Community Conference, on Saturday November 8th, at 09:00 SLT. The presentation will be streamed live, and available on YouTube at some point afterwards.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for November – December is Heifer International, which is working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.

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Skill Gaming enforcement in play; CapEx suspends activities

Saturday, November 1st saw the Skill Gaming Policy from the Lab coming into full effect. Notice of the enforcement was given in a blog post issued by the Lab on Monday, September 29th, which in part read:

As our FAQs explained, applicants to the program who submitted their applications prior to the September 1 deadline have been permitted to continue their skill gaming activity while their applications are reviewed.

Beginning November 1, 2014, the enforcement of our Policy will apply to all Residents, including those with pending Skill Gaming applications that await Linden Lab review and approval. As of that date, any objects or regions found in violation of our Policy will be taken down. We strongly encourage all applicants to submit any outstanding materials for our review as soon as possible so that their applications may be processed before the deadline.

At that time, there had already been a delay in the introduction of the new policy (from August 1st through until September 1st) to allow additional time for applications and applications processing.

The end of October saw further additions to the list of Approved Participants, such that some 94 regions have been reclassified at Skill Gaming regions, each of them offering a mix of games from a pool of 56 games from five approved Skill Gaming Creators. Please refer to the Approved Participants list for an idea of the spread of actual Skill Gaming Operators.

However, the enforcement deadline has brought with it one casuality, although hopefully only temporarily.

Capital Exchange (CapEx) is a fictional stock market simulation game, and although it does not offer any opportunity for direct real-world investment or profit, it does operate on what amounts to a “pay to play basis” through the trading of L$-valued “securities” in the SL-based companies listed with the exchange. As such, it falls under the remit of the Skill Gaming Policy.

Capital Exchange’s application to become a Skill Gaming activity lodged with Linden Lab since just after the new policy was originally announced July 2014, including a reasoned legal opinion from their legal counsel outlining why CapEx is a game of skill under federal and New York State laws. However, at the time the deadline was reached, they had not received formal approval as a Skilled Gaming Operator from the Lab, which has forced CapEx to suspend market activities activity until further notice.

The suspension was announced via statement from CapEx’s CEO Skip Oceanlane published on the CapEx website and via in-world note card givers at the CapEx headquarters. This announcement reads in part:

On July 16, 2014, I filled out the first form for the Skill Gaming Application for Capital Exchange Stock Market Simulation Game. From that point until today, there have been numerous correspondences between me, my law firm, and Linden Lab. As of today we still do not have an official determination, positive or negative, on our application.

I was hoping that because much of the delay has been on the part of Linden Lab, that we would be allowed to operate past the November 1, 2014 deadline set forth in a recent post by Linden Lab. Unfortunately I was informed by Rowan Linden that we cannot. So therefore effective immediately, I am suspending all trading at Capital Exchange until our application is approved or denied by Linden Lab.

Capital Exchange has been hit - hopefully temporarily - by the November 1sr, 2014 enforcement of the new Skill Gaming Policy
Capital Exchange has been hit – hopefully temporarily – by the November 1st, 2014 enforcement of the new Skill Gaming Policy

As a result of this move, as the blog post goes on to state, all trading, including person-to-person transfers (unless they were authorised before the trading halt), payment of dividends is suspended, as is any other activity carried out through Capital Exchange which would violate the Lab’s Skill Gaming policy. However, all other aspects of CapEx, such as posting to the forums (including company news etc.), continues. The announcement also notes that CapEx ATMs will still be in operation for those wishing to deposit / withdraw L$, as the Lab has not indicated that doing so would be violating the new policy.

Please refer to the CapEx blog post for detailed information on the suspension and planned steps, and to the CapEx website for further updates on the situation.

It is not currently clear if other gaming operators within Second Life have been similarly hit by the deadline being reached prior to their application being approved or turned down. It is also not clear whether the deadline for enforcement was set as a result of external pressure to comply with legal requirements, or as a result of an arbitrary decision on the part of the Lab.

If it is the latter, it is hard to fathom why the Lab opted for a blanket enforcement of the policy, rather than allowing further dispensation for those operators / creators who have submitted applications, particularly where the delays in approval appears to lie with the Lab’s own handling of applications (as seems to be the case with CapEx).

Related Links

With thanks to Nalates Urriah for the pointer to the CapEx blog post.