The Saint, an artificial world and matters of time

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, January 27th, 13:30: Tea Time with The Saint

Adventure came to him not so much because he sought it as because he brazenly expected it. He believed that life was full of adventure, and he went forward in full blaze and surge of that believe…

So reads The Man Who Was Clever, billed as the first graphic novel about Simon Templar, aka The Saint, aka The Robin Hood of Crime, and the creation of Leslie Charteris, when describing the man himself. Templar first arrived in literature in 1928, his career in print spanning almost six decades with Charteris, with later books and stories being written in collaboration with other writers.

His career in other media started in 1938 with the release of the motion picture The Saint in New York, and in radio in 1940 – with none other than Vincent Price most famously providing Templar with a voice from 1947 to 1951 on no fewer than three US radio networks.

However, it is probably as personified by Roger Moore on television between 1962 and 1969 that Templar is familiar to most. This series actually added to the library of The Saint’s literature, with a number of original scripts for the series – with Charteris’ approval – becoming short stories using his name as the author.

The Man Who Was Clever first appeared in 1930 as a part of the first collection of short stories about The Saint published under the title Enter The Saint. In it, Templar, the man who robs from the evil and heartless rich, and gives to the wronged and deserving poor, entered the world of graphic novels thanks to a story adaptation by Mark Ellis with David Bryant serving as illustrator. It marks the start of a new series of Tea Time adventures for Seanchai Library, with David Abbot, Corwyn Allen, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower.

Monday, January 28th 19:00: Ringworld

Gyro Muggins reads the first in Larry Niven’s science fiction series focused on a gigantic artificial ring, the Ringworld, built around a far away star at a distance roughly equivalent to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

Roughly 1.6 million km wide, the ring rotates slowly around its central star to provide a gravity on its inner surface roughly equivalent to that of Earth, and it has an atmosphere suitable for humans. It was built by a race known as the Puppeteers, who have been working to affect both humans and the cat-like, warrior Kzin.

Regarded as a classic, Niven’s novel (and later series) is also curiously contradictory. On the one hand, it is focused on exact science of advanced technologies, but on the other it engages in bizarrely pseudo-scientific fantasy conceptions.

The series sits within Niven’s broader Known Space series, the fictional setting of about a dozen novels and several collections of short stories, and which encompasses his Man-Kzin wars series. In addition, the idea of the ringworld it presents is regarded as the inspiration for the Halo series of video games, and there are multiple similarities between the two.

Tuesday, January 29th 19:00: The Time Keeper

The inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years.

Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world – now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began – and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, Father Time must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Join Caledonia Skytower and Kayden OConnell as they read Mitch Albom’s 2012 novel.

Wednesday, January 30th 19:00: Keepin’ It Brief

100-word stories with R. Crap Mariner.

Thursday, January 24th: 19:00: Moana Part 4

With Shandon Loring & Caledonia Skytower. Also in Kitely

The beauty of Broken in Second Life

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken – click any image for full size

Broken is the name Talia (Natalia Corvale) has given to her Homestead region, to which we were led over the weekend by Shakespeare and Max.

On the surface, this is an elegantly simple design, a place – at the time of our visit – dusted with a light fall of snow through which the grass raises fields of weary heads under an ochre sky held aloft by the trees scattered across the landscape.

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken

Cut by a stone-banked stream running outwards from a small pool and by the long finger of an inlet, this is a predominantly low-laying region, a single hill rising from its otherwise gentle undulations. It’s a place which at first glance might be mistaken for a residential location: sharing  the region with its trees, grass and water is a series of houses and cabins. However, each and every one of them is open to the public and offers a place of rest. More spots to sit, either on your own or with company, can be found outdoors as well, from a horse-drawn sleigh, through swings suspended under stout boughs or on verandahs to waterside benches and benches on wooden decks.

Devoid of any sound scape, the land here is quiet. As one who always appreciates the added depth given to a region through the use of ambient sounds, I have to say the lack of any here does detract from the setting in any way; if anything it adds to it. Not only does the silence (there is no audio stream either) give the impression this is a place where the snow lies as a blanket absorbing everything, it also sits perfectly with the intent of the region.

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken

This is because while Broken undoubtedly a place lovers and friends can enjoy – numerous couples poses abound in seats, beds and benches – it is also very much a place of solitude and introspection, as Talia herself notes in describing the region: “for anyone who’s ever lost someone”.

“Lost” in this sense doesn’t necessarily refer to having suffered the passing of someone close; rather it encompasses the separation born of a relationship – be it as lovers or friends – that has run its course and which now lies behind us. It is a place we can come to and give memories and thoughts – happy or sad; with freedom or regret – release. Thus, this is a place that can be both new to visitors and yet personal.

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken

This is clearly a personal design for Talia as well – as indicated by the dedication she gives with the region’s Pick in her profile. There is also a certain subtle aspect to the way things are placed in the region that perhaps reveals something of her own personality – which is also hinted at in her profile notes.

Take the positioning of the houses and cabins, for example. Their placement makes them both a part of the landscape – but the spaces between them set them apart from one another, allowing each to maintain a distance and individuality within the whole. This  – to me at least – seems to reflect the sense given by Talia’s profile notes that she is (somewhat like me) someone who enjoys company, buy tends to keep slightly apart, even when in that company. Or perhaps I’m just projecting!

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken

Broken also has something else about it. As well as projecting beauty and peace, there is also an air of strength about it; of endurance captured in the wintry setting and the hard lines of the wooden buildings. Thus, the region offers an appeal on multiple levels, its design touching us whether we visit whilst feeling lost, or in the company of those closest to us or simply out of that desire to explore and discover in Second Life.

I would perhaps like to see scripts enabled within the region, simply because any need to relog during a visit then requires a jump elsewhere and back to re-enable any worn animations such as scripted AOs, but this really is a very, very minor point. The beauty and peace of Broken speak for themselves, making any visit more than worthwhile, no matter what our mood.

Broken; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrBroken

SLurl Details

  • Broken (Farron, rated: Moderate)