Emerging from a Tokyo Street Subway Entrance

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance – click any image for full size

At the start of September 2018 we visited Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, created by Paradox Ivory under her Dox brand (you can read about a past region design of hers here). It’s taken a little while to get around to writing about it, simply because immediately after our visit, I didn’t have the opportunity to hop back for photos – so apologies to Paradox for the delay in blogging.

As the name suggests, the scene is built around a street in Tokyo – one in which the old and the modern combine in what is very much an aural as well as visually immersive setting – one that absolutely must be visited with local sounds enabled (and perhaps played through headphones – just don’t have the volume set too high!).

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance

Visits commence in a busy subway entrance. PA music pays in advance of trains arriving somewhere further within the station, echoing down tiled halls, the voice of an announcer chasing after the ping-pong tones, even as the rumbling hum of the electric  trains adds a basso chorus to the cacophony filling the air. Anyone who has ever commuted on the subway of any major city during rush hour will instantly recognise the noises.

Turnstiles and a sign point the way up to ground level, where a surprise awaits. Rather than exiting onto the hustle and bustle of a busy city thoroughfare, the steps lead up to a narrow side street, more of a service road than anything, that terminates at the subway entrance. The  majority of the building are between one and three storeys in height, surrounded further out by low-rise apartments, all of which suggests an older part of town. However, the sound of passing traffic weighs heavily in the air, suggesting a busier road is not too great a distance away – perhaps located on the other side of the tunnel at the far end of the street.

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance

This isn’t the only street here, however. Running parallel with it are two more, each narrow enough to almost be classified alleyways. These are connected to the main street by covered and open walkways,   which combine with them to offer multiple paths of exploration.

When walking them, care is strongly recommended; not because of anything untoward lurking, but because there is far more to see indoors and out, on the “ground” level and up assorted steps, than might appear to be the case. From cafés and snack shops to a little cinema and a roof-top baseball practice area, these streets and alleys present a lot to keep the local residents active and entertained. The detail poured into the scene is stunning; from the street signs to the little gardens and the wandering cats; the ambient sounds, the details tucked away inside some of the buildings…

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance

Wander far enough, and you’ll find your way to a little shrine, passing typical aspects from a modern Japanese setting along the way. Further depth to the scene is added by entrances and stairways which, although they might not ultimately go anywhere, still give an extra feel that this is very much a place where people live and work. Travel far enough along the narrower roads and alleys, and you might find tennis courts Surrounded by little 2-storey apartment blocks that look as if they might have drawn their inspiration from American roadside motels.

By default, the scene is set under a night-time windlight, something that enhances the distant, haunting hooting of train horns, the scene also works under daylight and evening environment setting particularly well – as I hope some of the images here demonstrate.

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance

“Vibrant” is a word that can frequently be used to describe a region, parcel or scene within Second Life; but usually when employed, it is to define the overall visual effect that has been achieved. With Tokyo Street Subway Entrance, however, the word takes on its fullest meaning: the setting is alive with the pulse of life wherever you go, sight and sounds working together to present something almost tangible while walking the street, alleys and passages.

Engaging, detailed, beautifully modelled and presented Tokyo Street Subway Entrance packs a huge amount into itself, making a visit – for those who take the time to look down alleys, peek behind doors (not all of them are façades!) and avoid rushing things, it makes for a rewarding visit.

Tokyo Street Subway Entrance; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrTokyo Street Subway Entrance

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Artful stories, teleporting, and supernatural secret agents

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, October 14th 15:00 Stories at the Park

Winter’s Colours: The Art of Lu

Join us at Holly Kai Gallery as Caledonia Skytower reads stories inspired by pictures on display in the Art of Lu, an exhibition of the remarkable art of LuAnne Anatine in Second Life.

A professional illustrator and digital artist in the physical world, Lu Anne produces some of the most stunning art to be seen in Second Life, producing her art through a fascinating mix of traditional and digital mix of mediums. For example, she produces a base drawing or painting in graphite or water-colour, then scan the images into her computer where she paints them digitally using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and a number of programs.

Stories at the Park allows writers from across Second Life to visit the exhibitions at Holly Kai Gallery and then write 100-word stories (“drabbles”) or poems on one or more of the pictures that inspire them, and which are then presented at the event, either read by the writer or one of the Seanchai Library team. All stories are then published on the Holly Kai Park blog.

So, why not join us at Holly Kai Gallery for the latest Stories at the Park? Come early and see Lu Anne’s painting ahead of the event, or stay later and explore them after!

Monday, October 15th 19:00: The Infinitive of Go

Gyro Muggins reads John Brunner’s 1980 novel about matter teleportation and dimensional shifts.

Dr Justin Williams and his collaborator, Cinnamon Wright, develop a form of instantaneous teleportation in which the departure and arrival points appear “congruent” with one another, allowing objects to be instantly moved from one to the other in a transfer process termed “posting”.

The system works flawlessly with inanimate objects, and when a situation arises requiring an urgent diplomatic solution arises, Williams is called upon to transfer a courier from the USA to an embassy in a foreign location. But something goes wrong: on his arrival, the courier is armed – yet he carried no weapon on his departure – and further demands he be given a countersign by those at the embassy – when no such arrangement had been made. Believing the mission to be compromised, the courier shoot himself, and the package he is carrying self-destructs.

In order to prove he did not sabotage the system, Williams has himself posted – only to find that while he feels unchanged, the world around him has changed in the most subtle of ways. As time goes on, Williams – with the help of a doubly altered Wright – realises that the teleportation device is moving its subjects between parallel universes. It is also apparent that some of those arriving in the dimension in which he now exists have far more knowledge about what is going on.

The question is, is it the system that is causing people to move between universes, or ir it something more subtle?

Tuesday, October 16th 19:00: Ghost Stories from Home

With Caledonia Skytower.

Wednesday, October 17th, 19:00: The Jennifer Morgue

Corwyn Allen reads the second volume in the Laundry Files by Charles Stross.

Bob Howard is an IT expert and occasional field agent for the Laundry, the branch of Her Majesty’s Secret Service that deals with occult threats. In this second outing, Bob Howard finds himself dragged into the machinations and conspiracies of megalomaniac multi-billionaire Ellis Billington, The Black Chamber and The Laundry…

Dressed in a tuxedo (what else for a globe-trotting British Secret Agent?) and sent to the Caribbean, Bob must infiltrate Billington’s inner circle via his luxurious yacht. His mission? Prevent the Billington from violating a treaty that will bring down the wrath of an ancient underwater race upon humanity’s head.

Offering a wonderful pastiche on both the world of James Bond and a wonderful mimicking of Ian Fleming’s style of writing, Stross produces a novel that also evokes Lovecraftian overtones that is delightfully entertaining to read. In true Bond style, Bob is (reluctantly) partnered with an American agent – in this case a stunningly beautiful woman who also just happens to be a soul-sucking succubus from another dimension. Which, being the case, marks Bob’s mission somewhat differently to those of Bond: not only must he stop the bad guys and come through this at best shaken, he must totally avoid being stirred towards getting the girl…

Thursday, October 18th

19:00: Doorbells at Dusk

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

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary Sci-Fi with Finn Zeddmore.

 


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.