Of shadows, cages, madness and ghosts

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to Second Life and Kitely 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, or at their Kitely Homeworld.

Monday January 5th, 19:00 Jack of Shadows

Gyro Muggins opens the pages pages of Roger Zelazny’s 1971 novel which mixes science-fiction and fantasy, the title of which is an homage to Jack Vance.

jack-of-shadowsThe story takes place on a tidally locked planet – that is, one whose rotation about its axis precisely matches its orbit around its parent body, thus the same face is always presented to the the parent body (just like our own Moon always presents the same face towards Earth). Given that that parent object in this case is the planet’s Sun, it means that one side of the planet exists in perpetual daylight – and is the seat of science; while the other lingers in perpetual night – and has become the seat of magic.

It is from the latter that the protagonist of the story – Shadowjack – comes. Even among his own kind, he is unusual, for the manner in which he draws upon his power; something which can, in the right circumstances make him exceptionally potent. However, when placed in either complete light or complete darkness, he is almost powerless. Jack’s only friend, Morningstar is doomed to what is effectively eternal punishment unless Jack can cross between the two realms of light and dark, combining his abilities with the power of science. Thus Jack must risk being lost in total light or total darkness in order to to rescue Morningstar. And if he fails, who might rescue him?

Tuesday January 6th,19:00: Beggars Day Book Two: The Caged King

Beggars Day 2Caledonia Skytower embarks on a reading of MJ McGalliard’s second novel, and the sequel to Beggar’s Day Book One: The Beggar Prince.

The Kingdom of Galaway has a law that every ruler must work a year and a day as a commoner; thus were readers introduced, through the first volume,  to the kingdom and some of its notable inhabitants, including King Willy, Prince Larry, the scheming Percy, desperate to see himself on the throne, and the chicken-stealing crone Cruith.

Now, in the second volume, Vikings, hidden illnesses, ancient family squabbles and unplanned pregnancy are but a few of the changes in Galaway. Cruith is part of a conspiracy, Willy invents a new wagon, apples seem to be in the mix, while everything seems to revolve around a baby horse. And I haven’t even mentioned King Monaghan.

Intrigued? Then why not hop over to Seanchai library to hear this entertaining tale which, incidentally, is illustrated by one Judith Cullen – aka Caledonia Skytower!

Wednesday January 7th

Please check the Seanchai blog for details.

Thursday January 8th

19:00 Mad as a Hatter

mad as a hatterShandon Loring delves into Catherine Stovall’s collection of short stories on the subject of madness. Not unkindly referred to as “commuter stories”, these short pieces are artfully crafted and presented – yet of sufficient length to engage and entertain the reader for the length of a typical commuter journey.

The stories presented within the book cover a broad canvas of topics, and present you with rich and diverse characters. Thus you might find yourself in the company of Lady Death as she walks among the gently falling snow searching out for the next soul to collect. Or perhaps you might find yourself sitting in Room Number Four, while your over-ripe imagination rides wild with an edge of the paranormal to it. Or might it be you’ll witness the Forever Kiss, as a wife finds herself widowed and bereft, torn between the loneliness of life,  and the possible loneliness of death. And there’s more …

So why not settle down with Shandon, and see where the stories take you.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Please check the Seanchai blog for details.

Stories at Seanchai Kitely

Friday January 9th, 18:00: Christmas Ghosts

A Collection of Spooky Tales for a Winter’s Eve with Shandon Loring

Saturday January 10th, 09:00: The Fairy Reel

Tales from the twilight realm, with Shandon Loring.

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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 January / February is Project Children, teaching and building peace in Northern Ireland, one child at a time.

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Rediscover the heart of nature

Opening at 14:00 SLT on Saturday, January 10th is a new series of three regions aimed at encouraging Second Life users to consider the natural world around us and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Makeahla Jungle covers three homestead regions, provided by Makeahla alongside of her private home, all of which offer a semi-tropical environment with sandy ground, high rocky plateaus, deep gorges and a mix of tropical and more temperate trees, in which can be found a wide range of wildlife: elephants, hippos, monkeys, crocodiles, orang-utans, lions, giraffe, black rhinos… and more, all to be discovered and explored.

Makeahla Jungle
Makeahla Jungle

The regions have been landscaped by Mz Marville, who IM’d me about them and offered to give me a preview tour, which I was delighted to accept. There is no overall “theme” or intent within the jungle in terms of visitor activity, other than – as noted, to get people thinking about the natural world. so where you wander after your arrival is entirely up to you – there are some spots available for sitting and cuddling; but mostly this is a place for exploring and photography.

While there is no over-arching aim to the regions, there is something of a mini-theme evident in the arrival region – Makeahla East, which is dedicated to the northern white rhino, ceratotherium simum cottoni, a species of rhinoceros which is to all intents and purposes now extinct, there being only 5 left in the world. While all are kept in captivity or under protection from hunters, it is unlikely they will successfully breed, even with artificial assistance, due to a combination of age and health issues.

Makeahla Jungle
Makeahla Jungle

“When Makeahla Commisioned me to do this series of sims, the first thing I thought was to dedicate one of them to preserving the memory of these white rhinos,”  Mz Marville, told me as she guided me around the regions. That should a thought would come to her will be no surprise to anyone who knows her – conservation is very much at the centre of her thoughts, hence her involvement in projects such as the Matoluta Sanctuary, which I first visited in July 2014.

The crisis for the northern white rhino was brought to a head in 2014, when in September 34-year-old male Suni died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, which provides a protected haven for rhinos against ivory poachers. Then, in December, Angalifu, a 44-year-old male died at San Diego Zoo. Nor is the northern white rhino entirely alone; It is estimated that the Javan rhino may number fewer than 60, and the number of black rhino has fallen to around 4,000 world-wide.

To help commemorate the species, the plan is to have a number of people present at the opening dressed in rhino avatars created by Rosie Dimanovic, who will be the special guest for the event, and also in the rhino avatar. “I have a flyer being made about the rhinos,” Mz Marville explained, “it will go into a note card for visitors.”

Makeahla Jungle
Makeahla Jungle

Those attending the opening are not required to wear animal avatars – although if they wish to, there will be no objections, and Rosie’s store might be a good place to start when looking for something appropriate. Unlikely Matoluta Sanctuary, there will be no formalised role-play within these regions, although I understand from Mz Marville that any spontaneous free-form RP that occurs while not be frowned upon.

For the photographer, there is much to offer within the regions, which avail themselves to a wide range of windlight settings. Rezzing was open during my preview tour – although whether this remains the case for the opening or beyond is unclear; if it does remain open, please make sure you pick up any props after you. I also understand that there are no plans to offer any form of group membership for rezzing rights, as Makeahla would like to simply encourage anyone interested to visit and explore.

Makeahla Jungle
Makeahla Jungle

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