Hailing frequencies open: the 2015 SL Sci-Fi Convention enters orbit

Watching the sunrise over the 2015 Sci-Fi convention regions
Watching the sunrise over the 2015 Sci-Fi convention regions (click any image for full size)

With an official opening ceremony slated for midday SLT on Friday, February 20th, 2015, the six regions of the 2015 Second Life Science-Fiction Convention, organised by the SL Sic-Fi Alliance, are now open and will remain docked in Second Life through until March 1st, 2015 inclusive.

The theme for this year’s events is that of Sci-Fi resorts, and the names of the six regions, selected by popular vote on the part of residents, reflects  this:

  • Pern Sound (Red Sector) – Named for the planet Pern, central to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders mythology, and the third planet orbiting Rukbat.
  • Magrathea (Gold Sector) – Named for the homeworld of the legendary planet builders in Douglas Adams’ Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, and perhaps best remembered for mice, missiles, whales and petunias. Oh, and a designer called Slartibartfast as well, of course…
  • Risa (Orange Sector) – Named for the “interstellar vacation planet” in Star Trek, and also referred to as Epsilon Ceti B II.
  • Fhloston Paradise (Purple Sector) – Named for the luxury cruise where The Fifth Element’s Corbin Dallas, together with the Fifth Element, Leeloo, must retrieve the first four elements.
  • New Vegas (Blue Sector) – From Babylon 5, the Earth Alliance resort city on Mars which draws its name from Earth’s Las Vegas.
  • Sihnon (Green Sector) – The third planet orbiting the White Sun, and one of the two major planets of the universe created by Joss Whedon for his television series Firefly. It is also the home of the person from whom I took my name: Inara Sierra 🙂 .
Space really is the final frontier for this year's SL Sci-Fi convention
Space really is the final frontier for this year’s SL Sci-Fi convention

Each sector has its own teleport hub (provided in the links above), allowing for quick and easy hopping between regions – although most people will likely want to explore on foot once they’ve arrived. However, do remember that, in a change from previous years, the 2015 convention doesn’t only take place on the ground – there are booths to be found overhead as well, out “in space”, adding to the sci-fi feel of activities . So keep your eye out for teleports and other means to go skyward to destinations (and don’t forget the Zocalo from Babylon 5 is under the waves of Pern Sound).

One way of getting around is via the convention taxis, tours, and shuttles. The taxis are self-fly, can carry up to three people and can be rezzed at any of the taxi stations like the one I used in Pern Sound. I found a starting point for the dragon tours in Magrathea; I didn’t notice any others in my travels, but might have missed them. The shuttles offer a kind of convention auto-pilot “bus service”, ferrying people around (and over) the convention regions.

Who said Sci-fi has to be all star ships and deep space? This year's event carries with it various hints of reto in both displays and in some of the imaginative booth designs
Who said Sci-fi has to be all star ships and deep space? This year’s event carries with it various hints of retro in both displays and in some of the imaginative booth designs

When exploring the regions, one will find an interesting mix of merchants and role-play groups (see the exhibitor list for details) and, for those engaged in the scavenger hunt, quite possibly the stars you are looking for (so to speak). A programme of entertainment has been put together for the convention, starting with the aforementioned opening ceremony, which will take place at Merciless Ming’s. There will also be live entertainments, DJ, film screenings and more, with full details of all goings-on to be found via the convention’s Events Calendar. In addition, information givers located next to the major telehubs also provide a run-down of the current day’s events for those arriving in any of the regions, if they wish to find out what’s going on and when.

Whatever your interest in science-fiction, be sure to set your phaser on fun and head back to the future with a visit to the SL Sci-Fi convention, and as this is a Relay for Life event, keep an eye-out for RFL-related vendors and kiosks as you explore.

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Doing it with mirrors in Second Life

Speculum - LEA6
Speculum – LEA6

Speculum is the title of Giovanna’s Cerise’s new installation at LEA6, the home of the UWA’s Full Sim Arts series.

While the title of the piece may give rise to thoughts of certain medical examinations, let me assure you that this is not the intent here. Giovanna is using the word purely to mean “mirror”, and quite without any hint of medical connotations at all, although there are a number of oddly endearing figures earnestly peering into what appear to be mirrored lenses close to the landing point.

Speculum - LEA6
Speculum – LEA6

Giovanna explains the installation thus:

The mirror, as multiplicity and continuous playback. The mirror, where the invisible overlaps the original and the hidden appears suddenly. The mirror, as an illusion of which you can not do without. The mirror as a projection in an unreal dimension. The mirror that opens the door to …

 Beyond the figures with their little eyepieces held up to their lens-like heads, is a truly astonishing build, which Giovanna recommends is viewed using either the Verdigris windlight setting or a sunset setting. I used both, and they serve the installation well.

Speculum - LEA6
Speculum – LEA6

The main parts of the build comprise huge, intricate wooden structures, gigantic lattices of beautiful complexity, which hold aloft great cog-like discs representing mirrors. Three of these rise from the waters of the region, their mirrors pointing skywards, while a fourth floats overhead, holding its mirrors upright.

Between and under these stands another construct, a huge rectangular piece, partially wreathed in shadow, within which sits a series of white convex forms, again suggestive of mirrored lenses. To fully appreciate this piece, you not only need to see it from without, but also travel through it (click the single mirror cog raised on a pole at the landing point to be teleported). The optical effects seen as you walk through the “lenses”  and shadow areas can be striking.

Speculum - LEA6
Speculum – LEA6

Giovanna has always shown great aptitude in using light and space in her work, as well as using geometric forms and structures, and her artistry with all of them is very much on display here. This is a stunning and immersive build, and will remain in place through March. I do thoroughly recommend you pay a visit.

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RFL: Are you ready to Paint it Purple?

PIPSaturday, February 21st through to Saturday March 7th inclusive marks the 2015 Paint it Purple campaign on behalf of Relay for Life of Second Life.

The campaign is aimed raising awareness and excitement as the official launch of the year’s fund-raising season draws near, by encouraging residents to paint the grid purple, the official colour of RFL of SL.

So how does it work? The official description of the campaign explains how:

Make sure you find all your purple clothes, hair, accessories, and even skin!  Plant purple trees on your land, paint your walls purple, colour your grass purple, and hang purple signs, banners, streamers, flags, and balloons.  Be sure to tell anyone who asks, “why all the purple?” that it’s for Relay For Life and invite them to learn more and possibly join the Relay family!

To get people started, you can pick-up the official Paint SL Purple kit at the American Cancer Society Island. Packed with purple freebies, it’s the perfect way to get started on celebrations and get ready for the relay season itself. You can also get the kit by contacting Nuala Maracas or Leala Spire in-world.

There will also be an official Paint it Purple Kick-off Party to launch the campaign.This will take place at a special Paint it Purple Party venue  located over the American Cancer Society Island, and will run from 16:00 SLT through until 21:00 SLT. DJ Dee Wolfe will get things started, and will be followed by special guests Satin & Erin, before DJ Dianne Wycliffe closes the party out with two hours of music from 19:00 SLT through until 21:00.

Paint it Purple will kick-off with a special themed party starting at 16:00 SLT on Saturday, February 21st, 2015
Paint it Purple will kick-off with a special themed party starting at 16:00 SLT on Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Hosting a Paint it Purple event in support of RFL of SL yourself? Be sure to use “Paint Second Life Purple” ( or PSLP) when listing it as an event, so that other people can quickly and easily see it when checking the event listings.

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