Cthulhu detectives, drugs and fear in Second Life!

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, August 19th, 14:00: A Study in Enerald, a Lovefest Special

With Corwyn Allen, Kayden Oconnell & Caledonia Skytower.

Who could possibly pour Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft into the cooking pot of the imagination, add a sprinkling of their own verve and narrative powers, then simmer for a while to see what happens? That was the aim of editors Michael Reaves and John Pelan, who challenged 18 authors to do just that for the 2003 anthology Shadows Over Baker Street.

Of the 18 stories published within it, Neil Gaiman’s A Study In Emerald stands as the lead-out story and one of the finest examples of Holmesian / Cthulhu cross-over mythos written.

Meet the narrator, a Major in the Army of Albion (the British Army), late returned from a terrible war in Afghanistan and who received a physical wound to his arm, as well as mental injuries. Without a home in London – the result of his mental trauma – he fortuitously meets a singularly observant, brusque and easily given to keeping strange hours, fellow whilst at Barts Hospital, and the two enter into shared lodgings at Baker Street.

It soon emerges that the Major’s Friend (that’s all we know him as) is a “consulting detective” often called into assist the police with their more perplexing crimes. And so it is that Friend and the Major are engaged in dealing with the murder of an alien noble from Germany. This brings about an audience with The Queen, one of the monarchs of the Old Ones, who have ruled the world in the wake of Humanity’s defeat 700 years earlier, before – after a brief trip to see a stage show – the Major’s Friend is announces he has confirmed the identity of one of those responsible for the murder of the alien noble, and that he was assisted by a surgeon with a limp.

But is it simply a matter of case closed, and “off to the Yard with him, Inspector Lestrade!”? Hardly. There is a richness to the tale that goes beyond the obvious. Drawing most evidently on A Study in Scarlet, the tale also references other works in the Holmes canon – notably A Scandal in Bohemia, The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, The Adventure of the Empty House and The Valley of Fear. In doing so, Gaiman offers up a story fans of Holmes and Cthulhu alike will find more that satisfying; but it is also one that also has a mystery of its own that reaches beyond the murder and its resolution: just who, really, is hero and villain here? The clues are there to be found; some are obvious (I’ve mentioned perhaps the most obvious one above), while others are a little more … academic, shall we say?

But even without a deeper knowledge of all things Holmes and Watson, this is a tale perfectly bridging the mythologies of Conan Doyle and Lovecraft, guaranteed to sate the appetites of all who hear it.

Travel to the 7th annual Lovefest in Second life to hear more!

Monday, August 20th 19:00: The R-Master

In the 21st century utopia has arrived in the form of a repressive but seemingly benevolent, if omnipresent, bureaucracy. Their perfectly ordered world, seemingly run for the benefit of all, is actually ruled with an iron fist. In claiming to have people’s best interest at heart, those in power keep the population occupied and docile with menial tasks and the promise of advancement with the aid of the strictly controlled drug, R-47.

For the vast majority, R-47 actually does nothing.But for a special few, observed and selected by the ruling Council, it can massively enhance their intellect, elevating them to the status of “R-Masters” allowing them to solve problems, see advancements, and help ensure – wittingly or not – the Council’s control over the world, cosseted and pampered well away from the drudgery of ordinary life.

However, there is a darker side to R-47: just as it can elevate the intellect of some of those chosen to receive it, so to can it reduce them to imbeciles – and there is no way of knowing who the outcome might be in advance. Wally Ho is one selected to receive R-47 – and suffers the latter fate.

Determining it will raise his problem-solving abilities and restore his brother, Etter Ho obtains R-47 and takes it. But, once elevated to the privileged ranks of the R-Masters and witness the truth behind the Council’s rule, Etter determines the established status quo cannot allowed to continue, and Big Brother must be brought to heel.

Join Gyro Muggins as he reads Gordon R. Dickson’s 1973 novel about life in what is now our times!

Tuesday, August 21st

The Library is closed for the evening.

Wednesday, August 22nd 19:00: Tales of the Arabian Nights

With Caledonia Skytower – check the Seanchai Blog nearer the time for more details.

Thursday, August 23rd

14:00: Fireside Tales

With Dubhna Rhiadra – check the Seanchai Blog nearer the time for more details.

19:00: The Lurking Fear

Shandon Loring takes us back into Lovercraft’s world with the 1922 short story of four chapters.

When a monster hunter and his assistants are drawn to Catskills mountains in search of a “lurking fear”, a storm forces them to seek shelter in the abandoned Martense mansion – one for the hunter’s companions to disappear, seemingly taken by a demonic creature whose shadow is cast on the chimney breast by a flash of lightning.

Determined to complete his task of uncovering whatever lies within the area, he continues his investigations, initially – if briefly – with the help of a journalist. As the hunter’s search for the truth continues, he finds that everything is connected to the Martense mansion where he and his assistants first sought shelter, and the local storms themselves appear to play a natural role in things. And so it is that he hides within the abandoned house, resolute to find the truth…

Also presented in Kitelyhop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary science fiction and fantasy with Finn Zeddmore.

Saturday, August 25th 14:00: Seanchai Library at Lovefest

Join Seanchai library for Lovecraftian tales at the 7th annual Second Life Lovefest.

Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The current charity is Feed a Smile.