Of ghosts and ghouls and October tales

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, October 18th 13:30: Tea-time with Neil and Friend

Caledonia and John play a little game of “what if” as a short break is taken in the saga of Sherlock Holmes and The Valley of Fear. What if Neil Gaiman decided to offer Rad Bradbury a little afternoon tea? And what if Mr. Bradbury had accepted? Which of their own stories might they have shared with one another and the October afternoon outside drew close and the night slowly fell, the fire burning brightly in the hearth before them?

Neil Gaiman (via Deviant Art) and Rad Bradubry via "CE",
Neil Gaiman (via jeffzachowski on Deviant Art) and Rad Bradbury via “CE”, on The Poets’ Graves Workshop)

Perhaps Rad Bradbury might have chosen The October Game and Heavy Set, while Neil Gaiman settled for October in the Chair, and if time allowed, perhaps even Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire. And what if you were there to listen to these stories as well?

Monday October 19th, 19:00: A Night in the Lonesome October

The Seanchai staff are marking the arrival and passage of the Halloween month with readings of Roger Zelazy’s A Night in the Lonesome October. The latter is the last of Zelazy’s published works, and 31 of its 32 chapters (the first being an introductory chapter) each take place on a night in October.

Lonesome OctoberThe book is satirical in nature, and is written in the first person – the narrator being Snuff the dog, the companion to none other than Jack the Ripper.

Once every few decades, when the moon is full on the night of Halloween, the fabric of reality thins, and doors may be opened between this world and the realm of the Great Old Ones.

At this time, men and women with occult knowledge gather at a certain location to engage in The Game – an attempt by some to open the doors, and others to hold them closed. Should the Openers ever win the game, the Great Old Ones will come to Earth, remake it in their own images and enslave or slaughter the human race in the process.

Thus, through the month of October, the Players in The Game – all archetypal characters from Victorian Era Gothic fiction – form alliances, make deals, oppose one another, and even resort to murder in their attempts to make sure the doors are ready to be opened or can be held fast when, on the night of October 31st, the final ritual takes place and the fate of the world is decided.

Tuesday October 20th,19:00 The Upper Berth

“It is a very singular thing,” said Brisbane. “that thing about ghosts. People are always asking whether anybody has seen a ghost. I have…

“I am an old sailor, and as I have to cross the Atlantic pretty often, I have my favourites … The Kamtschatka was one of my favourite ships. I say was, because she emphatically no longer is. I cannot conceive of any inducement which could entice me to make another voyage in her.

“I got on board. I hailed a steward … ‘One hundred and five, lower berth,’ said I, in the businesslike tone peculiar to men who think no more of crossing the Atlantic than taking a whisky cocktail at down-town Delmonico’s. The steward took my portmanteau, greatcoat, and rug. I shall never forget the expression on his face … ‘Well, I’m d——d!’ said he in a low voice, and led the way.”

So opens  F. Marion Crawford’s 19th century ghost story, The Upper Berth, in which Brisbane and the Captain of the  Kamtschatka confront the mystery of the titular berth within cabin 105 aboard the ship. A berth that had caused a number of passengers to run screaming through the ship to throw themselves over the stern. Join Trolley Trollop to discover more!

Wednesday October 21st 19:00: Serafina and the Black Cloak

serafinaCaledonia Skytower continues reading of Robert Beatty’s spooky mystery thriller.

Serafina lives a life of total secrecy. While her father may be the maintenance man for the great house of the Biltmore Estate, the wealthy owners of the estate have no idea that he lives in the basement of the house – and much less that his daughter lives there with him.

Not that this is a problem for Serafina; she is quite at home exploring the great house and its grounds whilst avoiding being seen. There’s certainly no need for her to venture into the great forest beyond the estate, and with which, he father has said, lie many dangers.

But when the children on the estate start vanishing, Serafina is forced to join forces with the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners, and discover the identity of the one they believe to be behind the disappearances: the Man in the Black Cloak. But in order to do so, Serafina must enter the forest her father has warned her against; and within that forest lies a deeper secret Serafina must confront – that of her own identity.

Thursday, October 22nd

19:00: Ghost Stories

With Shandon Loring.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night Special

Caledonia at the SL Goth Festival with a selection from “The Graveyard Book”.

Also This Month

  • Seanchai Library is participating in the Good Reads Hunt. To get started, visit the Good Reads starting point at Literature Alive!/Desi’s Gifts and Prints
  • Don’t forget to visit the Five Irish Haunts panels at Seanchai Library to discover something about ghosts and hauntings!

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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 October – December is Reach Out and Read, one of the most highly rated literacy charities in the USA which reaches 4.4 million children annually and distributes 1.6 million books.

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