Christmas tales and science fiction 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.

Monday, December 2nd 19:00: Teacher’s Pet / War and Peace

Gyro Muggins returns to Larry Niven’s Known Space universe and the Man-Kzin Wars series to bring us two short stories from that series written by Matthew Joseph Harrington, and which appeared in the Man-Kzin volume 11 (edited by Niven), first published in 2005.

Set after the end of the war, the stories within Man-Kzin XI are predominantly set during a period where the Kzin are down (but not necessarily out) and having to adapt to no longer being the masters of all races they encounter, and are in roughly chronological order.

The two stories by Harrington follow the trio by established writer Hal Colebatch, and marked his début as a published author at the age of 35. They are regarded by many as being strong studies in the Man-Kzin lore, whilst also drawing on other literary sci-fi sources. The stories are also noted for Harrington’s ability to round-out a number of “loose ends” within the Man-Kin wars as well as offering new slants on the broader carves of Niven’s Known Space universe.

Both stories use a play on words in their titles, with War and Peace doing so both in the manner it reflects the period of peace following war, and also for the way it focuses on the life and work of Peace Corben, a human female Protector, who returns in Harrington’s sequel story, Peace and Freedom, published in the 2009 volume Man Kzin Wars XII.

Tuesday, December 3rd

The library is closed.

Wednesday, December 4th

14:30: The Dickens Project

Music in Dickens Square.

19:00 Spirit of Steamboat

Kayden Oconnell returns to the tales of sheriff Walt Longmire, reading the ninth volume of Craig Johnson’s tales about his laconic US Marine-turned-lawman protagonist.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office when he is visited by a ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a scar across her forehead. He doesn’t recognise her, but she clearly knows him and his predecessor, sheriff Lucian Connally, under whom Longmire started his career as a deputy sheriff in 1972.

His interest aroused, Longmire takes the the young woman to see Connally, now a resident at an Assisted Living Home. But Connally, a former US Army Air Force pilot who flew B-25 Mitchell bombers in the Second World War, fails to recognise her. This is in some ways hardly surprising, given Connally’s frequently inebriated state.

Disappointed at the two men’s reaction, the young woman whispers a single word, “Steamboat”. In doing so, she embarks on a tale that tales Longmire and Connally back to Christmas Eve 1988, when Longmire had been a deputy sheriff just two months. The holiday season had brought with it a record-breaking blizzard – and a road accident that left Longmire and the (again inebriated) Connally with no choice but to pull a B-25 out of mothballs and make a dangerous flight through the blizzard to Denver, Colorado, in order to save a life.

Thursday, December 5th

19:00: Rock Crystal

Seemingly the simplest of stories—a passing anecdote of village life— Adalbert Stifter’s Rock Crystal opens up into a tale of almost unendurable suspense.

Young Conrad and his little sister, Sanna set out from their village high up in the Alps to visit their grandparents in the neighbouring valley. It is the day before Christmas but the weather is mild, though of course night falls early in December and the children are warned not to linger.

The grandparents welcome the children with presents and pack them off with kisses. Then snow begins to fall, ever more thickly and steadily. Undaunted, the children press on, only to take a wrong turn. The snow rises higher and higher, time passes: it is deep night when the sky clears and Conrad and Sanna discover themselves out on a glacier, terrifying and beautiful, the heart of the void…

With Shandon Loring, and also presented in Kitely (grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI).

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary Sci-Fi-Fantasy with Finn Zeddmore

Friday, December 6th 22:00: The Dickens Project

Idle Rogue Productions present The Midnight Dinner in the Opera House.

Saturday, December 7th 11:00: The Dickens Project

VCARA Read Aloud at the Dickens Resource Centre.

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