Of pawnbrokers, caged kings, and tales of love and loss

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.

Sunday, February 1st, 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street

This week, Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell sit down to relate the story Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the second in his list of “top twelve” Holmes stories: The Adventure of the Red-Headed League, which first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, the story itself being set in October of the previous year.

Jabez Wilson tells his story to a bemused Holmes and Watson, Sidney Paget, 1891
Jabez Wilson tells his story to a bemused Holmes and Watson, Sidney Paget, 1891

When Jabez Wilson finds his pawnbroker business struggling in its usual evening trade, he heeds the advice of his recently-hired assistant, Vincent Spaulding, and responds to a rather specific job advert requiring that successful applicant must be male, prepared to work afternoons only and sport … red hair.

Apparently in possession of precisely the right shade of red hair, as well as finding the afternoon work agreeable to his need to take care of his own business in the evenings, Wilson finds himself hired by one Duncan Ross, apparently in charge of the “Red-Headed League”, and given the task of – copying out the contents of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Understanding the work is related to a will of some sort, Wilson finds himself gaining something of an education as he spends several weeks carefully copying out all the “A” entries from the Encyclopædia. However, before he can start on the “B” entries, he arrives at work to find the office of the Red-Headed League closed, and the League itself apparently dissolved. Unable to ascertain what has happened, and feeling somewhat upset over the loss of his £4 a week income from the work, Wilson turns to a bemused Holmes and Watson for help in finding out what has happened to Mr. Duncan Ross and his esteemed league.

Monday February 2nd, 19:00 The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

Gyro Muggins continues reading from Fredrick Pohl’s The Age of the Pussyfoot.

(Trident 1971 hardcover)
(Trident 1971 hardcover)

First published in serial form in1966, they republished as a novel in its own right in 1969, The Age of the Pussyfoot sees us transported to the 26th century along with one Charles Forrester, who has been in a state of cryogenic sleep for some 500 years, after being killed in a fire. His time in suspended animation, together with his revival – now that technology has developed to a point where revival is possible – has been paid for through his insurance, which (presumably through the act of compound interest down the centuries, his on-going medical expenses notwithstanding) has also left him comparatively well-off.

Forrester find the 26th century a place of delight; his spectre-like computer terminal, the Joymaker, puts almost everything – including drugs – at his fingertips. He’s able to take an apartment, still enjoy the delights of 20th century food and enter into a lifestyle of parties and fun, the money from his insurance making him rather wealthy.

Then things start to go a little sideways. First, there is Adne, who appears to be out to trap him into providing for her children; there’s also the mysterious Club, who also seem to be more interested in Forrester’s wealth than him. Add to the list the man from Mars who has taken out a hunting licence allowing him and his friends to track down and even kill Forrester – so long as his revival is paid for – and the future suddenly isn’t so bright a playground. And when his money starts running out, and he’s forced to take a job, he’s also forced to reassess who he can trust and who he can’t, and just what role he is actually to play in humanity’s future…

Tuesday February 3rd, 19:00: A Walk in the Woods

walk-in-woodsBy his own admission, Bill Bryson isn’t the world’s greatest adventurer. This being the case, you’d think he’d have serious misgivings about undertaking this particular “walk in the woods”, as he disarmingly calls it: taking the 3,500 kilometre (2,200 mile) Appalachian Trail – a journey which would take five months to complete.

Travelling with his good friend “Stephen Katz”, the book is both a humorous guide to the trail and a set of serious and insightful comments / discussion on the trail’s history as it winds its way from Georgia (where Bryson was living at the time the book was written in 1998), to Maine. These discussions cover a broad range of subject including the sociology, ecology, trees, plants, animals and people of the states through which the trail passes (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine).

Join Kayden Oconnell as he continues in Bryson’s footsteps through the pages of this classic.

Wednesday February 3rd,19:00: Beggars Day Book Two: The Caged King

Beggars Day 2Caledonia Skytower continues reading 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!

Thursday February 5th

19:00: Tales of Adventure

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

With finn Zeddmore.

Saturday February 7th, Seanchai Kitely, 09:00 PDT: The Wooing of Etain

Tochmarc Étaíne, “The Wooing of Étaín” is a text from the early Irish Mythological Cycle, dating from around the 8th or 9th century, and with some cross-over into other Irish folk mythologies, such as the cycles of the Kings and the Ulster Cycles.

Now regarded as containing three tales within it, Tochmarc Étaíne recounted the live and loves of the beautiful Étaín, born of the Ulaid, king Ailill, who is courted by Midir of the Tuatha Dé Danann – much to the displeasure of his current wife, who turns to witchcraft. Thus begins a tale of loves won and lost of rebirths across time, in a tale thought to have been one of the source texts for the Middle English narrative poem Sir Orfeo.


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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