Hounds, aliens, magic, cults and swords in Second Life

It’s time to kick-off a week of 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, September 11th

13:30: Tea Time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street returns for the summer, featuring a new location – 221B Baker Street at the University of Washington iSchool in Second Life. Caledonia Skytower, John Morland 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 how many of us know the story as it was originally written? Over the decades it 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, John and Kayden as they read 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?

18:00: Magicland Storytime

It’s a Small World of Folktales at The Golden Horseshoe in Magicland Park with Caledonia Skytower.

Monday September 12th, 19:00: The Crucible of Time

crucibleGyro Muggin’s takes his audience into the fix-up by John Brunner. First published as two-part story which appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s an ambitious tale of alien intelligence which grew to a series of six linked tales pushed as a single novel in 1983.

Far off in space is an alien race which is so much like us, yet so un-alike. From the birth of their earliest civilisation through to their attainment of star flight as their star system passes through the galaxy, we follow their development through the ages.

Aquatic by nature, this race presents some significant challenges well outside the realms of anything encountered by humanity. But they are also driven by all too familiar hopes, fears, desires, needs, wants, prejudices, impact of religious ideologies, and the quest for knowledge we have experienced in the growth of our own civilisation.

Charting six periods of time, each a thousand years after the previous, the six stories focus on the efforts of a group of individuals in each era as they face one or more challenges, their success in overcoming these challenges inevitably leading them towards a greater understanding of their planet’s plight, and ultimately, the ability to deal with that plight and the survival of their civilisation.

Tuesday September 13th, 19:00: The Old Country

The Old Country“So this is what it’s like to have fingers,” the girl laughed, and pointed the bow at Gisella. “How does the world look from the other side of the crossbow?”

And so it is that Gisella learns the truth in the warning never look too long into the eyes of a fox, as she finds herself trapped in the fox’s body, as the fox makes off with her own. But such is the way of things in the Old Country, where “all the fairy tales come from, where there was magic – and there was war.”

Now she must cross a country torn by war, encountering magic, bloodshed and more as she seeks to find her own body and stare once again into the eyes of the fox possessing it, and so reclaim it. But such are her experiences in crossing the ravaged land, that once she finds her body, she faces a surprising revelation and choice about her own nature.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she takes her audience through the enchanting pages of Mordecai Gerstein‘s 2005 novel.

Wednesday September 14th, 19:00: A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell #2)

MonstrousReturn to 221B Baker Street at the University of Washington’s iSchool, Second Life, for the latter-day adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes (retired) and his young orphaned protégé, Mary Russell, originally from the United States, as written by Laurie R. King.

Taking a trip to London, Mary encounters Veronica Beaconsfield, a friend from Oxford, who in turn introduces her to the charismatic and enigmatic Margery Childe, leader of something called “The New Temple of God.”

Sect-like, and seemingly involved with the suffrage movement, the New Temple and its leader offer both curiosity and intrigue for Mary, who is not convinced either are entirely above-board.

Her suspicions appear to be correct when several of the Temple’s wealthy young female volunteers and financial contributors are murdered. With Holmes keeping a watchful eye in the background, Mary turns her curiosity into an investigation; in doing so, she faces her greatest danger yet.

Thursday, September 15th, 19:00  Dark Agnes De Chastillon, Sword Woman

Shandon Loring reads from another of Robert E. Howard’s short series, focusing on Agnes de Chastillon in 16th century France. Spanning three stories, two written in full by Howard, with the third finished by Gerald W. Page. In Sword Woman is both the title of Agnes’ origin story by Howard, and the title of the volume bringing her tales together under a single cover. To discover more, join Shandon in both Second Life and Kitely (check Seanchai Library’s Kitely event announcements for specific grid location details).

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 September-October is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer.

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Submerged in Second Life

The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged
The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged

Now open at the White Canvas Gallery (formerly the Good Days Gallery), curated by Goodcross is Submerged, a selection of aquatic-themed images by Elizabeth (ElizabethNantes), which she calls “an immersive experience” – a description which highlights the unique approach taken in presenting this collection.

Visitors arrive on the edge of a glass-sided pool of water, spray breaking against the rocky edge, the art displayed under the rippling surface. To view the art properly requires jumping into the tank, and then exploring it from beneath the “surface”, where bubbles drift upwards, fish and jellyfish swim and drift by, and a platypus floats gently, watching the ducks swimming above.

The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged
The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged

Eight of the images – all of which present figures at play on and under the water – are displayed around the inner walls of the tank, and are offered for sale; they face an additional four images arranged on the faces of a cube. The entire impression is that you are fully immersed in the environment – not just by being “underwater”, but very much a part of some of the scenes as those in them look towards you through the water.

This feeling of being immersed is further heightened by the careful placement of transparencies carrying the animated ebb and flow of foamy waves. These give the impression of the water’s surface (see in the centre image and the one above as a dark shade across the upper portions of the images), positioned so that some of those featured in the pictures do indeed have their heads above water. Only one – the image seen on first arrival (and heading this review)- is effectively “out” of the “water”; and even this is positioned to suggest the subject is rising from the surrounding pool.

The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged
The White Canvas Gallery: Submerged

I opted to photograph the collection against a night backdrop, as that was the local estate time when Caitlyn and I visited. However, tweaking Phototools also suggested that early morning or late afternoon windlight settings with the Sun low in the sky worked particularly well if a background of sky is required.

An imaginative collection presentation creatively presented.

SLurl Details