A taste of Dystopia in Second Life

Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant – click any image for full size

Dystopia is the home of the [flit ink] and Aberrant brands. It is also another of those in-world commercial locations well worth a visit whether or not you’re looking for avatar accessories, simply because of the amount of care and attention which has gone into making the region both photogenic and open to the potential for casual role-play.

As the name might suggest, together with the About Land description, the role-play in this case centred on a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future where climate warming has run amok, and (it would seem) civilisation has broken down, leaving the shattered remains of an urban area – where is not stated, although it presents a curious blending of American, British and Japanese cultural elements – which now appears to be in the hands of gangs, or perhaps tribal units.

Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant

It’s a haunting place, roughly divided between the three districts: Dystopia, Carnage City and The Slums, and caught in a perpetual night, although I opted to use daylight settings when taking pictures. All three areas naturally flow one to the next, providing a continuous setting for role-play and / or photography.

The given landing point drops visitors on the upper level of the region, alongside the two stores.  Nearby, a fuel tanker is ablaze, perhaps the first indication that things are amiss. Across the road a deserted children’s playground overlooks the weed-choked river which diagonally cuts through the town, its far bank home to a strange conglomeration of buildings and metal shipping containers. Litter lies on the tarmac, graffiti covers walls, and everywhere windows are boarded, batter or broken.

Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant

Follow the road past the burning tanker and around the corner and you’ll walk past rudimentary club houses, shattered shops and what appears to be a hastily evacuated school-house, now given over to the base of operations for a local gang. Just beyond this, a bridge provides access to the remnants of a decaying amusement park. This sits alongside the shanty-like village of containers and wooden structures  first seen from across the river. Built with the aid of a massive construction crane, this shanty town, with its ladders and connecting aerial walkways looks to have been built for defence as much as anything else.

To the west of all this, and lying on lower ground, the rest of the town has been overtaken by rising sea levels. Here the sidewalks are barely above water which has turned the streets into rivers. The futuristic awning of a subway station rises from the flood, the handrails of steps down into its bowels offer a forlorn pointer to the platform and rails submerged below, where a strange mix of Japanese signage and very British destinations can be found – although unsurprisingly, all trains to them have been cancelled.

Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant

With a smaller, more rural elements which include dirt tracks, shingle sided church, tree houses, and hilltop moonshine still, a trailer park a plane wreck and even a small run of tunnels, Dystopia offers a lot of space for exploration and – as noted – casual role-play for those so minded.

For those interested in the role-play element, the region has an accompanying website where more information can be found. However, this doesn’t appear to have been updated in a while, so I’m not at all sure how active the region is RP-wise or events wise – but still offers a good starting point for finding out more.

All told an engaging design by Flit Ulrik (of Flit Ink), Dylain Nikita (of Aberrant), Epidural hematoma (Epimitheus), and MollyWolliDoodle, Dystopia makes for and interesting visit.

Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant; Inara Pey, November 2016, on Flickr Dystopia // [flit ink] + aberrant

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With thanks to Loverdag for the pointer, and apologies to Epidural hematoma for missing his name off the list of designers. 

Of signs, satanic quests, shape-shifters and childhood scams

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, November 6th 13:00: Tea-time at Baker Street

Tea-time at Baker Street sees Caledonia Skytower, John Morland and Kayden Oconnell open the pages of the second full-length novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Originally commissioned for Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, for which it was serialised under the original title The Sign of the Four; or The Problem of the Sholtos. This was reduced to The Sign of the Four in later serialisations and when published in book form in 1890 – a title which itself was further abbreviated to The Sign of Four for various film and television adaptations.

Sign-of-fourIn 1888, Mary Morstan comes to Sherlock Holmes seeking his assistance in two matters. The first is with regards to her father. Having returned safely from India in 1878, Captain Arthur Morstan had arranged to meet his daughter at the Langham Hotel, London – but he had vanished from the hotel prior to her arrival. In the decade since, no trace of his whereabouts has ever been discovered.

However following his disappearance – and possibly pursuant to it – is the second reason for Miss Marstan’s visit. Every year from 1882 onwards, she has been in receipt of a single pearl, which started arriving after she had responded to a strange newspaper advert inquiring for her. The latest such pearl to arrive had come with a letter, indicating she had somehow been wronged, the sender asking to meet with her.

Holmes discovers that the pearls started arriving shortly after the death of a Major Sholto, who served with Arthur Morstan in India. His investigations leave him convinced there is a complex set of connections between Morstan and Sholto, which involves an Indian fortress, the names of three Sikhs, an Englishman by the name of Jonathan Small and Sholto’s two sons. If all that weren’t enough, it would seem that greed and treasure may lay at the heart of matters..,

Monday, November 7th 19:00: The War Hound and the World’s Pain (Von Bek #1)

von-bekGyro Muggins continues Michael Moorcock’s 1982 supernatural novel.

Europe, the 17th century: nations are ravaged by the Thirty Years’ War, driven by religion and engulfing most of the Great Powers. Weary of the fighting, disillusioned, faithless and cynical, Ulrich von Bek, the War Hound, deserts his troops and travels through a Germany ruined by the war and religious persecution.

Coming to a strange forest, he finds within it a castle which appears to have escaped the war. He decides to seek shelter within its walls – only to find this is no ordinary castle. The lord within it is none other than Satan himself.

Von Bek discovers he has been allowed into the castle so that Satan might seek his help. In return for his soul, the Devil asks him to seek out the Cure for the World’s Pain, so that Satan might use it as proof to God that he wishes to be reconciled with heaven.

The hosts of Hell, however, aren’t that keen on the idea of reconciliation…

Tuesday, November 8th 19:00: Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Caledonia reads the second adventure for Robert Beatty’s young heroine, Serafina, published in July 2016.

serafina-2Introduced in Serafina and the Black Cloak, the titular heroine had, up until the events of that story, lived a secret life in the basement bowels of the manor house on Biltmore Estate. However, she was forced to reveal herself to the estate owner’s young nephew in order that together, they might discover why the children on the estate were mysteriously vanishing.

Now, just a few weeks after those events, Serafina and her new friends must confront a new danger, one worse than the Black Cloak.

In doing so, they well face tests that will strain friendships, while Serafina learns more about her unique talent and abilities, allowing her to grow from introspective “other”, to a young girl accepting of herself. Nor is she alone in her growth; Braeden also is able to come into his own, understanding his own particular gifts,

Intended for younger readers, the Serafina books have a richness of prose and an approach to storytelling guaranteed to keep readers – and listeners – of all ages enthralled. Join Caledonia to find out more!

Wednesday, November 9th 19:00: Enough Poe! (Are You Kidding?)

With Caledonia Skytower.

Thursday, November 10th 19:00: Is That You Boy?

Shandon Loring delves into Noel Magnier’s 2001 selection of stories more formally known as Is That You Boy?: Humorous short stories of growing up in Cork, Ireland in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Within it, Magnier recounts the exploits of a young street gang in the Cork of the 1940s and 1950s as they scheme and scam to generate pocket-money for themselves – generally (for the reader) with hilarious results. Written with wit,  and an ability to weave a good yarn in a manner guaranteed to light up winter evenings, Noel Magnier brings what could at times be the hard years of 1940s and 1950s Ireland vividly and warmly to life.

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 November-December is Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into paediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.


The Softie Gallery in Second Life

Softie Gallery - Ciottolina Xue
Softie Gallery – Ciottolina Zue

Softie Gallery, a part of the Black Label Exhibitions corner opened its doors on Saturday, November 5th with an ensemble exhibition featuring artists from across Second Life – including two who have not previously shown their own in-world in public before.

Organised by Storie’s Helendale (GlitterPrincess Destiny), Kristine Blackadder and AnnaFrancesca Helendale (AnnaFrancesca Kira), building on an idea by Storie’s, the three storey gallery space features work by Aldiladeisogni, Astralia, Bryn Oh, Catt Scorpio (cattivella), Cica Ghost, Ciottolina Zue, Eleseren Brianna, John Brianna (Johnannes 1977 Resident), Enrico Yamden, Judy Barton (mitla) LeMelonRouge Lil (Lilarya), Magda Schmidtzau, Mistero Hifeng, Poala Mills, Seersha Heart, Terrygold, Vangogh Rembranch and Stories herself. Joining them, and showing their art in-world in public for the first time, are Blip Mumfuzz and  MM Mysterr).

Softie Gallery - Catt Scorio (Cattivella)
Softie Gallery – Catt Scorio (Cattivella)

“I am excited because this gallery was empty so long a time,” Storie’s told me ahead of the opening as she gave me a preview of the exhibition. “I was honoured when so many artists said they would exhibit here, so now the gallery can live and breathe again!”

The gallery space is presented in black, offering a strong contrast to the 3D and 2D art on display. The latter leans strongly towards avatar studies in a range of complimentary styles: colour, monochrone, photo and painting; together with sculptures, real life art, one or two landscapes, to more abstract-like pieces, and real world,  all of which, combined with the 3D from four artists I greatly admire, makes for a fascinating mix of styles and presentation.

Softie Gallery - MM (Mysterr)
Softie Gallery – MM (Mysterr)

I understand the gallery is a permanent exhibit space for the artists, although they are going to be encouraged to rotate the art they place on display there.  Art installations focused on specific artists and / or ideas will continue to take place up in the air above the region. As such, I look forward to seeing how the various displays evolve over time.

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