Jeeves, Rama, Anne and more 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, September 1st

13:30: Tea Time with Jeeves

Just for summer, Seanchai Library takes a dive into the world of Reginald Jeeves, a well-educated, intelligent valets of indeterminate age who is employed by the amiable young man-about-town, Bertie Wooster, whom Jeeves routinely has to benignly rescue from the consequences of his idiocy.

Created by author, humorist, and lyricist (working with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern) Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 1881 – February 1975), Jeeves and Wooster are perhaps his most iconic characters, their adventures eventually growing to 35 short stories and 11 novels, the majority of which are first-person narrated from the perspective of Bertie Wooster.

This week comes the fourth part of The Inimitable Jeeves.

A semi-novel published in the UK and the United States in 1923, The Inimitable Jeeves brings together 11 previously published stories structured as “chapters” rather than appearing as individual stories, giving the volume the appearance of being a novel something initially enhanced in early editions, which split the first five and final story into two chapters apiece, giving the impression the book was 18 chapters long (later editions reversed this, each story being just a single chapter for 11 in total).

The stories also add to the novel-like feel, as they each focused variously on a small group of characters throughout including Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, his somewhat inept friend Bingo, and his cousins Claude and Eustace, brought together with Jeeves and Wooster in some familiar Wodehouse themes.

Join Da5id Abbot, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower as they read this delightful series at Ceiliuradh Glen.

18:30 Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparent’s bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

Join Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horseshoe to find out more!

Monday, September 2nd 19:00: Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama

Gyro Muggins reads one of the greatest science fiction novels of human first contact with alien intelligence.

In 2131, a fast-moving object of extremely large size is detected beyond the orbit of Jupiter travelling on a course that will see it pass through the inner solar system to swing around the Sun, before heading out into space. An automated probe launched from Mars reveals the object to be a perfect cylinder, 50 km long and 20in diameter rotating regularly along its long axis and clearly artificial in nature.

The deep space survey vessel Endeavour, her crew untrained for first contact scenarios, is the only vessel that can intercept the cylinder as it uses the Sun’s gravity well to accelerate and bend its path onto a new trajectory. After a high-speed chase, the Endeavour reaches the cylinder – christened Rama by those who first identified it and finds one of the end caps has curious triple chamber airlock systems within it. Through one of them, the crew gains access to the object.

What they find within stuns them: the cylinder is hollow, a 50x16km “tube” the inner surface of which forms a circular world of three parts: a large plain, with six city-like groups of structures scattered around it, a central band of frozen water the crew call the Cylindrical Sea with a single long, thin island (which they dub “New York” due to its superficial similarity to Manhattan island). Beyond the sea lies a landscape of split into cubes and squares, dominated by a group of massive cones extending inward along the cylinder’s long axis from southern end cap.

Initially in darkness and frigid when the Endeavour’s crew enter, the cylinder gradually comes to life, revealing its strange alien nature, where everything appears to be done in triplicate (or multiples thereof). And then, as tensions among the human civilisations across the solar system rise, the “Ramans” appear.

Tuesday, September 3rd 19:00: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

So, you think you know the story because of the film? Well, guess again! Disney’s famous 1968 film can best be described as being loosely based on the children’s story by Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond.

Flemming’s last novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was published posthumously, and initially in three volumes, two months after his death in August 1964. He took his inspiration for the titular car from a series of post-War World I aero-engined racing cars called “Chitty Bang Bang”. They were built by Count Louis Zborowski at Higham Park, in Kent, England, and one of them, the “Higham Special” went on to take the land speed record in 1926 with a speed in excess of 170 mph, after it had been purchased by racing driver J.G. Parry-Thomas specifically for that purpose.

In the book, the car is a Paragon Panther, a powerful 1920s touring car that is restored by Commander Caractacus Pott. At first the car is just that – a powerful 4-seater tourer Pott uses to transport himself and his wife and children around. But then the car starts to exhibit a “personality” and abilities beyond those of any normal motor vehicle. Some of these will be familiar to those who have seen the film, but where the latter options to introduce jealous barons and a wicked Child Catcher, the book offers a more down-to-Earth but equally engaging series of adventures of Commander Pott and his family.

Join Caledonia Skytower to discover the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Wednesday, September 4th: Anne of Green Gables

As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever. The problem is, the owners of Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert wanted a boy to help Matthew with household chores; so at first it seems as if she will be returned to the orphanage from whence she came.

However, Anne is determined to stay, trying hard not to get into trouble or speaking out of turn, and the Cuthberts come to realise she is someone blessed with an enormous imagination. The latter is especially noticed by the quietly-spoken Matthew, who persuades his sister that young Anne should stay.

Thus we are drawn into Anne’s life and world as she settles into her first real home. Over the course of a five year period from her arrival in Bolingbroke at age 11 through until her move to Queen’s Academy at the age of 16, where she earns a university scholarship, we follow Anne’s adventures and ups and down within the close-knit community, making friends (and sometime enemies whom she is perhaps too stubborn to admit she’s long since forgiven for perceived wrongs) and her domestic trails and tribulations. The later, when tragedy strikes, we follow her back to Bollingbroke, where she indeed becomes Anne of Green Gables, and her story is left open.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she reads L.M. Montgomery’s 1908 classic (and first of a series).

Thursday, September 5th

19:00: The Blue Salt Road

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.

– Child Ballad, no. 113

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

With Shandon Loring, also Also in Kitely – teleport from the main Seanchai World

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary sci-fi fantasy from on-line sources such as Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and Clarkesworld with Finn Zeddmore

A Summerland visit in Second Life

Summerland, August 2019 – click any image for full size

Late in August we visited – on the recommendation of Miro Collas – Iniquity Constantine’s Homestead region of Summerland. At the time of our visit, Ini described the region as “an idyllic garden where the spirit may rest and rejuvenate,” offering a mix of “pagan, ritual, mythology, mythic … magic, runes, druid, nature, elemental, [and] familiars” in its elements.

These elements are apparent as soon as visitors arrive in the region: the landing point sits within a barn converted into a Wiccan / pagan centre where psychic readings are on offer, and the trappings of Wiccan and magical supplies and symbols are much in evidence.

Summerland, August 2019

Outside, a deck extends over coastal waters under a late summer sky as seagulls wheel around in search of a fishy meal. The deck offers place to sit and appreciate the view across the rest of the region and the surrounding (off-sim) hills. This view reveals that the region forms a semi-circle of small islands that form a horseshoe around what is – given the foaming waters – a shallow bay sitting over a broad shelf of rock.

One its western end, this horseshoe bay is watched over by the tall red finger of a lighthouse; at its eastern extent, it is mirrored by a set of horseshoe waterfalls that tumble from the cliffs of the highest island in the curved chain. It is these falls, visible through the haze that draw visitors around the side of the landing point barn to where a wooden bridge offers the way to the next island in the series.

Summerland, August 2019

Here lie the first ruins with pagan / druid elements: ancient statues, a broken henge of shaped stones around a hewn alter and reach via a stone arch. Beyond it, a second bridge connects to the tall island, the exploration of which can be split into two parts. Just across the bridge, a set of stone steps climb up the grassy shoulder of the island, while just to the left, through a gap in a broken wooden fence, a ladder offers the first part of a way down to where a shingle beach sits at the base of the island, presenting a path to a little beach house sitting on another deck built out over the waters.

At the top of the stone steps, the upper plateau of the island presents a hazy mix of the pastoral and the pagan / ancient. Horses graze on the long grass, shaded by the island’s woodlands, trees that help hide and disguise the ruins scattered beneath their boughs. These take several forms, including those of a chapel and a much more recent glass-and-metal pavilion that has been turned into a place of meditation.

Summerland, August 2019

A path winds across the grassy table of the island, offering a means to see most of the sights whilst pointing the way to where a rocky route drops down to another bridge and also an almost-cave or cavern. As well as providing a means to reach the last two islands in the chain, the low-lying grassy headland provides the means to reach a modern and comfortable orangery – a further place for visitors to sit and rest during a visit to the region.

The two remaining islands offer a further mix of trees, ruins and places to sit and rest or in meditation, all within the region’s sound scape that is, perhaps a little too dominated by the thunder of waterfalls. There is also a little roughness to some of the landscaping with floating bushes and candles here and there, together with some slight alpha issues (sadly common and often unavoidable when combining foliage and off-sim elements), but nothing that excessively gets in the way of appreciating the beauty of the setting, and which certainly don’t interfere with opportunities for photography. Images captured may be shared through the region’s Flickr group.

Summerland, August 2019

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