Aliens, felines, crypto and cartoons 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.

February 14th, 19:00: When They Came

I was never afraid of monsters—at least, not until They came: the visitors from outer space.

Now They’re in our skies, on our streets, always watching, forever waiting.

At seventeen, I’m just about to graduate from the Juvenile Education System and declare my career of choice. The Midnight Guard—who protect our community from the vicious things that lie outside our walls—calls to me.

It’s hard, dangerous work, with gruelling hours that offer little sleep, but it’s the one thing I know will help make a difference in our ever-changing world.

– Ana Mia, When They Came

Having graduated from the juvenile education system, Ana Mia decides to join her sister as a part of Fort Hope’s Midnight Guard. Fort Hope is a stronghold, protecting its inhabitants from Earth’s alien invaders; and the Midnight Guard forms the eyes, ears and guardians of the stronghold’s Wall.

Without the Guard and without the Wall of the stronghold, the aliens would be free to harvest humanity, using their ships and the Coyotes who form their eyes and ears in opposition to the Midnight Guard.

Gyro Muggins read’s the first volume in Kody Boye’s When They… saga. Volumes two and three to follow.

Tuesday, February 15th

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, February 16th: The Great Simoleon Caper

Neal Stephenson  is often credited with foreseeing “the Metaverse”, the immersive, 3D interactive successor to the Internet, as given form in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash. However, what may not be widely known is that he was also one of the first science fiction authors to attempt to plumb the potential depths of crypto-currency.

This is did through a number of his novels and short stories, and in the case of the latter, one of his more well-known “shorts” on the subject is The Simoleon Caper. First published in 1995 by Time magazine, the story is set within the same universe as Snow Crash, but at a period that precedes the events of that novel and within a United States that, whilst similar to that presented in the novel, is also in a slightly earlier form, as is the Metaverse.

The central story involves one individual’s apparently innocent work to help promote a non-governmental electronic “currency” called the Simoleon. His work attracts the attention of a  group of “crypto-anarchists” who operate an entirely virtual nation, the First Distributed Republic (FDR – get the play on the initials?) and believe the government is going to use the individual’s work for their own subversive aims.

Featuring ideas of misinformation, subversion (including the ability for e-currency to circumvents government taxation), The Great Simoleon Caper perhaps has more relevance in today’s world as it balances on the edge crypto-financial, metaversally-hyped digital abyss, both in the story it tells. It also  – as with much of Stephenson’s work – lends itself naturally to the “traffic jam test” of critical reflection.

With Seanchai Library guest Mike Lorrey.

Thursday, February 17th 19:00: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Here’s a bit of fun for you: A novel based on a screenplay based on a novel.

In 1981,  Gary K. Wolf published Who Censored Roger Rabbit? In doing so, he introduced the world to hard-boiled PI Edddie Valiant and second banana comic strip character Roger Rabbit, who both live within a strange universe in which real humans, like Valiant, co-exist with comic strip characters like Roger Rabbit – and Snoopy, Dick Tracy, Hagar the Horrible and others.

That story was then used as the basis for the Disney / Amblin Entertainment film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, leased in 1988. Shifting the core of the story from the 1980s to the 1940s and exchanging cartoon strip characters (complete with speech bubbles over their heads) for animated characters, the film was an instant success and remains a much-loved madcap adventure involving Eddie Valiant and the halpless Roger.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit: The Novelisation by Justine Korman Fontes takes the screenplay for the movie and presents it in a novel format for further enjoyment. And, to complete the circle, both it and the film prompted Wolf to write  Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? in 1991; an attempt to recon his original story into that of the film whilst also acting as a continuation of characters and stories found within the film.

With Shandon Loring.

Previewing One Billion Rising in Second Life 2022

One Billion Rising 2022

One Billion Rising in Second Life will once again be taking place in Second Life on Monday, February 14th, 2022. As with previous years, the event opens at midnight SLT of Sunday 13th / Monday 14th February, with entertainment and activities then running all the way through to midnight SLT on Monday 14th / Tuesday 15th.

When launched in the physical world on Valentine’s Day 2012, One Billion Rising (OBR) was the biggest mass action in human history; a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls who are at risk. OBR aims to bring people together, raise greater awareness of the plight of those at risk the world over, and bring about a fundamental change in how vulnerable and defenceless women and girls are treated.

One Billion Rising 2022

This year, the global movement takes as its theme RISE for the Bodies of All Women, Girls & the Earth, which the organisers note is a move towards more direct political awareness / activism:

[T]o connect both in a deeper, more purposeful, political, transformative and yet also empowering, hopeful way. And to make this coming year a truly radical, bold, fearless escalation of artistic risings … This past year has seen global lockdowns, government neglect, health crises, proliferation of authoritarian regimes, endemic exploitation of labor, escalating corporate greed, worsening poverty, racism and exclusion, the grave ongoing destruction and pillaging of the environment for capital, as well as the deterioration of the climate. At the core of all of this is the injurious hold of patriarchy and misogyny ––on women’s rights and freedom.
We call on the world to hold Artistic Risings for the bodies of all women and for the ‘ultimate body’- our Earth. Using the body as your call. Using the body as your resistance. We call on the world to use ART. Dance. Visual art. Physical and immersive theatre. Film. Sculpture. Painting. Sports. Performances (Live and Recorded). Photography and digital art. 
One Billion Rising 2022

Within Second Life, the event presents four full regions as a square with the primary stage for music and dance straddling the adjoining corners, allowing up to 200 people at a time to share in activities and events.  Each region – Dance, Resist, Rise and Unite, has its own landing point – SLurls at the end of this piece (which will open to the public shortly before the event officially opening). These provide information on the event, links to discover more about the global One Billion Rising movement, freebies, and paths to both the main event stage and other event spaces within each of the regions.

The latter include the Poetry Corner (OBR Resist), where live readings will be taking place; the Resist garden with its water feature and sculptures; plus the dance theatre and performance spaces (OBR Dance) where some of SL’s top dance and performance groups – such as Misfit Dance and Performance, TerpsiCorps ARTWerks, Guerilla Burlesque, Elysuim Cabaret and the Changhigh Sisters (to name but a handful) will be performing through the 24 hours.

One Billion Rising 2022

Artists participating in this year’s event include: 2lei, Burners Without Borders, Instituto Español SL, Darkstone Aeon, Roxelo Babenco / Museo del Metaverse, Illyra Chardin, Fiona Fei, Daark Gothly, Johannes Huntsman, Kicca Igaly and Macel Mosswood, Rubin Mayo, Krystal Rabeni, Tempest Rosca, iSkye Silverweb, Jennifer Steele. BB Woodford, AngelaThespian and PrtrickofIreland, Jaz, Kalyca, and Tansee,

Their installations can be found around the outside edge of the four regions, with information available on each display available touching the sign board in front of each of them. In addition, One Billion Rising will once more feature the #MeTooForest, a place of retreat and meditation / contemplation (OBR Unite), together with the Heroes Pavilion, featuring inspirational stories about women from many different cultures and communities (OBR Rise). These can both be found along the outside of the region alongside the art display. In addition, the four corners of the OBR region offer park areas providing further places of retreat. quiet and meditation for those who may need them.

The full schedule of events is now available, covering all live performers, DJs, dance performances and poetry readings.

One Billion Rising 2022

Why Dance?

A critique sometimes levelled at OBR / OBR in SL is that the issues it raises cannot be solved by dance. Well, that’s absolutely true, just as marching through the streets carrying placards and banners is unlikely to have a lasting impact on whatever it is people might be marching about.

But – like marches and protests – dance and music does serve to draw attention to matters. It provides a means by which people are encouraged to stop and think, while also providing a focal point of attention that allows information and ideas to be disseminated. What’s also important is that it’s a lot harder to see dancing as a threat than might be the case with an organised march or protest – something to take into consideration given there are countries where the right to march or protest freely does not exist. Hence why, as well, OBR in Second Life is marked each year with a dance video to the OBR theme song.

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