Science Fiction and music 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.

January 24th, 19:00: A World Out of Time

After being cryogenically frozen in the 1970s to await a cure for his (then) incurable cancer, Jaybee Corbell awakes after more than 200 years – to find his own body destroyed and his mind and memories transferred into the “mindwiped” body of a criminal. And that’s is not all that has changed: the Earth is now overseen by an oppressive, totalitarian global government called “The State”, and Corbell’s existence is to be determined by a “checker”; if he is found wanting, he will be discarded.

However, Peerssa, the checker, recommends Corbell as ideal fodder in The State’s attempts to seek out exoplanets suitable for terraforming – whether he wants to join the programme or not. Disgusted by his treatment, Corbell works out a way to take control of his one-person ship on its otherwise one-way mission, and heads toward the galactic core. Entering suspended animation, he is unaware his vessel skims close enough to the super-massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy to experience time dilation.

Emerging from his suspended state, and believing only 150 years have passed, Corbell returns to the solar system to find it again vastly changed: more than three million years have passed, and the Sun has become a bloated red giant, and Earth – well, Earth appears to have been relocated to an orbit around Jupiter, whilst humanity itself had endured extensive changes; and Corbell must face an entirely new set of challenges if he is to survive.

Join Gyro Muggins as he reads the 1976 novel (and originally a short story) by Larry Niven.

Tuesday, January 25th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym

With music, and poetry in Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat

Klawde had everything. Sharp claws. Fine fur. And, being the High Commander of the planet Lyttyrboks (think about it if you need to!), an entire world of warlike cats at his command. But then he is stripped of his feline throne and sentenced to the worst possible punishment: exile to a small green-blue planet that is, as they say, “far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy”, known to its dominant bipedal race as “Earth”.

On that planet, Raj is a young man who had everything: a cool apartment in Brooklyn New York, his three best friends living in the same apartment block and comics and pizza always within easy reach. Then, courtesy of his mother taking a job on the other side of the country, he finds himself exiled to the community of Elba, Oregon.

These two lost souls, one seeking friendship (and, hopefully, pizza and comics) but forced to join a nature camp, the other a cunning, brilliant feline emperor, both exiled and seemingly lost, are destined to meet. And when they do – whether Klawde likes it or not – the emperor cat will find his plans for revenge on those who would oust him from his empire running somewhat secondary to becoming Raj’s new Best Friend as the two of them become bound by a series of new and hilarious adventures.

With Caledonia Skytower.

Wednesday, January 26th: Dark

No readings for this week.

Thursday, January 27th 19:00: Thursday Night Sci-Fi

With Finn Zeddmore.

2022 viewer release summaries week #3

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates from the week ending Sunday, January 23rd, 2022

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Release viewer: Mac Voice hotfix viewer, dated January 13 – no change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version, issued on January 20th, combining the Jenever and Koaliang Maintenance viewers.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers



  • No updates.

Mobile / Other Clients

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A trip to France in Second Life

Bordeaux, France, January 2022 – click any image for full size
On this grid I actualize the worlds I imagine, conjure my wildest daydreams, and walk a path unknown. I am here to create a fantasy for others to enjoy. Landscaping is my medium, my love language, and my story.

– TONAL (Avalyn Aviator)

I recently had cause to visit two adjoining Full regions design by TONAL which offer a rich mix of environments combined by what is clearly a love of France: its architecture, its history and its sweeping countryside and landscape.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

Within Bordeaux, France, TONAL offers visitors a cityscape worthy of historic Paris. Here stand buildings one might easily encounter in a walk down the Avenue des Champs-Élysée and the streets running back from it and to either side of its long arm. Like that broad avenue, the buildings here present shops (some spaces available for rent) and apartments above (some of which are available for rent and cleverly hidden with in the façades of the various buildings, reached via the region’s experience teleport option (if available for rent).

The streets may not be as broad as the likes of the Champs-Élysée, but they are perfectly navigable on foot and offer the opportunity to explore this city-like setting and discover its secrets and places of interest, such as the neighbourhood supermarket, the little children’s playground or the more ostentatious Jardin et Salon de Thé.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

As with Paris, this is a cosmopolitan centre marked by open spaces and terraces looking down towards a body of water albeit is a lake rather than a river!), and fountains and statures add grace and a timeless sense of history to the setting. Unlike Paris, however, this is a cityscape market by tall medieval-like towers topped by conical roofs of a kind more commonly seen gracing many chateaux across France rather than in the heart of a metropolis. Even so, they add a sense of place here.

Placed at various points around the city are maps (some of which can be found inside public spaces and resemble oversized iPads). These provide a map of the city and the adjoining countryside (of which more below), and include click-to-teleport markers for those wishing to quickly hop around the setting’s major points of interest, such as the aforementioned Jardin et Salon de Thé or the rooftop restaurant or the grand stables, to name but three. Oddly, a map isn’t placed at, or close to, the landing point – but a wander around the streets will quickly reveal it.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

With a westward perspective, the city looks out towards the countryside of Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, the second Full region comprising this location.  Between countryside and city sits a large lake around which sits a part of the town far older than that around the landing point, the buildings clearly harking back to medieval times. Guarded to one side by an old (and unfurnished) fortified chateau, the majority of these aged building are façades designed to give a further sense of depth and place to the setting – which they do so admirably – although a walk around them will bring visitors to a cosy tavern.

Across the lake and reached via bridge or by following the cobbled ways either side of the water, the land opens out into hilly woodlands. Here, as the region’s name suggests, there is the opportunity for hunting, with part of the region only accessible on the purchase of the “hunting pass” (L$200 for 24 hours). I confess I didn’t give this a try, so am unsure of what to expect, but I did take the public track up and around the wooded hills, passing some of the cottages and country houses that are also available for rent here.

Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, January 2022

At the time of my visit, it appeared some remodelling was underway – I caught sight of a couple of exposed plywood boards and at least one building within Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn was still set to track any movement of its rezzing box. However, none of this detracts from the appeal of either region or the opportunities for photography to be found throughout. That said, within Bordeaux, France, there is a lot for the viewer to rez and render, so those on more moderate system may need to adjust settings / reduce Draw Distance to a more comfortable level to assist in their explorations.

Warning aside, I enjoyed wandering through both Bordeaux, France, and Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, so why not hop along and have a wander yourself?

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: JWST, Artemis and rockets delivering cargo to Earth

JWST art. Credit

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is due to enter its initial halo orbit around the Earth-Sun L2 position, 1.6 million kilometres beyond Earth’s orbit around the Sun, on Monday, January 24th, 2022.

With the deployment of its major external elements completed, the observatory has been engaged in the first phase of a sensitive operation to correctly align the 18 hexagonal segments of its primary mirror so it perfectly reflects light into the boom-mounted secondary mirror and thence back into the telescope’s interior for delivery to its space science payload.

This first part of what is an extensive operation saw all 18 segments gently eased 12.5 mm away from the mirror’s backing structure, each segment being propelled forward by six tiny motors, referred to actuators. This allowed each mirror segment to be gently moved away from the restraints that held it in place during launch, and provides enough space behind each segment so it can be gently adjusted to align with its companions as the alignment process continues, all of them coming together to form a single, focused parabola.

When it starts, the latter part of the work will involve the actuators moving in the micron and nanometre ranges of movement, and once started, is expected to continue for around 40 days.

However, before that process begins, at 19:00 UTC on Monday, January 24th, JWST will fire its thrusters to ease itself into its initial halo orbit around the Earth-Sun L2 position, marking its arrival in the area of space where it will operate.

Thanks to the sheer accuracy of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and the “mid-course” correction thruster burns JWST has made en route to this point, it has been calculated the observatory currently has sufficient propellant reserves for at least 10 years of operations. If the insertion burn proves to be as accurate, mitigating any need for it to be further refined, then JWST may have its overall mission length extended a little more.

JWST is due to enter its Earth-Sun L2 Halo orbit on Monday, January 24th, 2022. Credit: NASA

Once safety inserted around the L2 point, the telescope will go through an additional period of cooling adjustment to bring its instruments down to their operational temperatures. This process, which will actually use heaters to ensure heat dissipation is properly controlled, will take a number of weeks to complete, after which the primary mirror alignment process will resume, allowing scientific instrument calibration to commence.

Artemis: No Immediate Second Lunar Landing

After landing astronauts on the Moon in the mid-2020s for the first time in more than a half-century, NASA will wait at least two further years before making a second crewed lunar landing as part of the Artemis program.

Artemis 3 is due to deliver a crew of 2 to the lunar surface in around 2025. However, the next mission slated for Artemis will not follow it to the lunar Surface. Instead, and as indicated at a two-day meeting of the NASA Advisory Council’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee on January 18th/19th, it was indicated that the Artemis 4 mission will target the assembly of the Lunar Gateway.

This is the space station that will be placed in cislunar orbit and used as a transfer station for crews arriving from Earth aboard NASA’s Orion capsule and the Human landing System (HLS) vehicles that will carry them to the surface of the Moon and back. The first elements of the Gateway, the Power and Propulsion Element and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, will be launched together via a SpaceX Falcon Heavy in late 2024. They will then spend a year spiralling around the Moon and settling into their halo orbit.

Artemis 4, which will feature the Block 1B Space Launch System rocket using the powerful Exploration Upper Stage (EUS), intended for heavy cargo launches and deep space missions will carry the International Habitat Module (I-Hab) for the gateway, along with a crewed Orion vehicle that will oversee attaching I-Hab to the Gateway modules already in lunar orbit.

Whilst conceptual in terms of what the Lunar Gateway might eventually become, this image indicates the core NASA NASA elements  – the Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Output module (which will actually be docked one to the other) to be launched in 2024, and the JAXA / ESA I-Hab module, to be launched in 2025 as part of the Artemis 4 mission. The Orion capsule + service module are also shown. Credit:  NASA

Even with the more powerful EUS replacing the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage that will fly on Artemis 1-3, the Gateway flight of Artemis 4 will be a challenge for the SLS. The Block 1B vehicle will be capable of delivering around 38 tonnes to lunar orbit – and some 27 tonnes of that capability will be taken up by the Orion crew capsule and its service module. That means the European and Japanese space agencies, responsible for providing I-Hab for Artemis, must ensure the module masses no more than 10 tonnes. By comparison, similar modules on the ISS average around 12-12.5 tonnes.

A further reason for focusing Artemis 4 on Lunar Gateway activities is that NASA will not actually have any HLS vehicle(s) at its disposal for lunar landings for a period of time after Artemis 3. In awarding the initial HLS contract to SpaceX to develop a lunar landing variant of its Starship vehicle, NASA did so on the basis of using only a single lunar landing. Once it returns to orbit, the SpaceX HLS will require refuelling in order to make a second trip – and currently, NASA has indicated that it would rather await a “sustainable” HLS system  – to be developed under a new, yet-to-be awarded contract called Lunar Exploration Transportation Services (LETS).

NASA HLS; the current contract with SpaceX is only for a single HLS vehicle (centre). After Artemis 3, the first lunar landing, NASA will be relying on a “sustainable” HLS design – yet to be contracted – which might be Dynetic’s versatile design (l), or the Blue-Origin led design (r), both of which originally competed against SpaceX for the initial HLS contract, or might be provided by another supplier. Credit: Dynetics / SpaceX / Blue Origin

Exactly what is so happen to the SpaceX HLS after Artemis 3 is unclear. That mission will not use the Lunar Gateway, but will see an Orion dock with the SpaceX vehicle in lunar orbit for the 2-person crew transfer. As such, it is entirely possible the SpaceX HLS might simply be “parked” in lunar orbit and left.

However, given any LETS contract has yet to be granted a further crewed landing on the Moon under the Artemis banner is unlikely to occur before late 2027 or (more likely) 2028 / 29.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: JWST, Artemis and rockets delivering cargo to Earth”