Falcons, leviathans, creatures and wizards 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 in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday, August 1st, 13:00: Tea-Time At the Movies: The Maltese Falcon

Corwyn Allen, Gloriana Maertens, Caledonia Skytower, Kayden Oconnell, Da5id Abbot,  & Elrik Merlin turn to the writings of Dashiell Hammett. Or rather, John Huston’s take of Dashiell Hammett’s classic The Maltese Falcon.

Written in 1941, a decade after the book was published, the screenplay marked Houston’s directorial debut, and drew a stellar cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Loire and Gladys George, rounded out by Sidney Greenstreet making a most memorable of screen debuts.

What may be less well-known about the film, however, is that it was not the first to be based on Hammett’s novel. That honour goes to Roy Del Ruth’s 1931 version, which arguably keeps closer to the novel’s characters and plot, and which actually formed the basis for Houston’s own screenplay. It is also, by way of an aside, immortalised by Jon Anderson and Vangelis in their brilliant song, The Friends of Mr. Cairo (even if the song does reference Mickey Spillane over Hammett), a celebration of the golden age of US mid-20th century cinema with a focus on the tale of the Maltese Falcon.

The film is the story of a P.I. (Bogart as the hard-boiled Sam Spade), a femme fatale Ruth Wonderly/Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Astor) and two unscrupulous  “business men”, Joel Cairo and Kasper Gutman in a tale of double-cross, intrigue, murder and the hunt for  “black figure of a bird”, the fabled Maltese Falcon, described thus in the film’s opening:

In 1539 the Knight Templars [sic] of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels – but pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day.

To find out more, join the tea-time team!

Monday, August 2nd 19:00: Goliath

The third and final instalment in  Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, Goliath takes us once more to the alternative past history of Earth at the time of the First World War. It’s a world divided between the Darwinists- those who have evolved genetics to make animals more useful to humans and the Clankers, who have built their society on machinery technology.

Once again we join Alek and Deryn in their adventures, this time with both of them aboard the living airship Leviathan. Unexpectedly, the ship is diverted mid-flight over Russia with orders to pick up a single large create being transported overland by a fighting bear. Once aboard the whale-ship the crew set about constructing the machine as the ship continues on its way.

Passing over Siberia, the Leviathan comes across an area of great mystery: a devastated region where the trees have been flattened to form a great series of rings, the corpse of another whale-ship lying near its centre, the beleaguered survivors needing rescue even as they are protected from out-of-control and starving fighting bears by a strange machine.

Bringing them aboard the Leviathan, the crew discover the survivors have been protected by the work of one Nikola Tesla, a scientist and inventor who may have the weapon that can bring an end to the Great War.

As the adventure continues, Deryn, still disguising herself as a boy in order to be a part of Leviathan’s crew, struggles with her feelings for Alek and whether she should reveal the truth about herself to him…

Tuesday, August 3rd

12:00 NOON: RUSSELL EPONYM, LIVE IN THE GLEN

Music, poetry, and stories.

19:00: Dragonfly

Willow Moonfire reads a short story from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sagas.

Wednesday, August 4th, 19:00 Creatures of Light and Darkness

Two gods, two houses, one quest and the eternal war between life and death. To save his kingdom, Anubis, Lord of the Dead, sends forth his servant on a mission of vengeance. At the same time, from The House of Life, Osiris sends forth his son, Horus, on the same mission to destroy utterly & forever The Prince Who Was a Thousand.

But neither of these superhuman warriors is prepared for the strange & harrowing world of mortal life. The Thing That Cries in the Night may well destroy not only their worlds, but all humankind.

With Caledonia Skytower.

Thursday, August 5th, 19:00 Galaxy Quest PART 1

Join Shandon Loring for a trip aboard the NSEA Protector, together with her crew (or cast, if you prefer!).

Friday, August 6th, 14:30: Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals

Football in Ankh-Morpork is not as we might know it. Rather than being comprised of rules and played within a recognisable ground, it is far more akin to the somewhat violent mob football of medieval Europe.

Not that this is a concern for the elderly, mostly indolent and (some might be tempted to think) somewhat inept old wizards making up the faculty staff at the city’s school of wizardry, the Unseen University. Until, that is, their very handsome annual endowment becomes subject to their playing the game themselves.

Thus, Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully sets out a two-pronged strategy: to ensure the city’s version of football is restructured with proper (and favourable?) rules, and to put team preparations at the university in the hands of the talented candle dribbler, Mr. Nutt and his assistant, Trevor Likely, the son of the city’s most famous (if deceased – did I mention the game can be violent?) player, who are in turn supported by Glenda Sugarbean, who runs the university’s night kitchen and her assistant Juliet Stollop.

Except Mr. Nutt soon discovers he has problems of his own to deal with, and Trevor has promised his Mum he’ll never get involved in the game.  Meanwhile, Glenda has the daily responsibility of baking the Discworld’s best pies, and Juliet is about to find herself whisked towards the heights of fame as a fashion model, thus potentially leaving the team a little short on practical advice…

Join Caledonia Skytower as she presents the 37th novel in the Discworld series, and possibly one of its greatest satirical undertakings encompassing football, academia, traditions, the fashion industry, politics, love, fandom, and which mixes in more serious themes of identity, crab mentality and self-worth.

 

Have any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.