Alien cats and thanksgiving meals 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, November 18th 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, November 19th 19:00: What’s Cookin’?

A favourite food stories and recipe exchange with Caledonia Skytower and friends. This week Cale shares the P.G. Wodehouse story “Best Sauce.” All are welcomed to bring some of their favourite recipes to share, on note card.

Wednesday, November 20th 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, November 21st 19:00 An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Louisa May Alcott is best known for her novel Little Women (1868), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. However, she also penned numerous short stories, particularly for children, and an Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving is one of them.

It’s Thanksgiving Day, and the Bassett family’s kitchen is in the midsts of preparations for a traditional dinner. But things go awry when news comes that Mrs. Bassett’s mother is ill, so Mrs Bassett and Mr. Bassett are forced to take the sleigh and attend to her. This leaves the children, led by Tilly, to complete the preparations for the dinner, and Tilly is determined to have everything ready for her parents’ return.

However, cooking a major meal unsupervised is more of a challenge than the children imaged, and soon the kitchen is filled with an assortment of smells, some of them a little odd. And then Mr. and Mrs. Bassett return – bringing with them grandma and several other guests they have invited to dinner…

With Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

A pot-pourri of sci-fi, recipes, homely tales and Shakespeare

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, November 11th 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, November 11th 19:00: What’s Cookin’?

A favourite food stories and recipe exchange with Caledonia Skytower and friends. This week: Finn Zeddmore with L’Achimista, a short story by American science fiction and fantasy writer, and psychologist N.K. Jemisin, the only author to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years. Cale contributes bits and bobs and everyone is invited to bring some of their favourite recipes to share, on note card.

Wednesday, November 12th 19:00 Stories from Home

With Thanksgiving in the United States now approaching, the Seanchai Library staff sit down to celebrate this time of year by sharing local tales from the various regions of the corporeal world where they live, or have lived. This Week Faerie Maven-Pralou and Caledonia Skytower continue with tales from the Wild-ish West. You are invited to recommend stories from your home as well.

Thursday, November 13th

19:00 Anthony and Cleopatra – A Novelisation

With Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary Sci-Fi Fantasy from such on-line sources as Light Speed, Escape Pod, and Clarkesworld online ‘zines and podcasts. With Finn Zinnmore.

2019 Dickens Project in Second Life announced

The Dickens Project 2018

In 2012, and to mark Dickens Bicentenary Year, Seanchai Library took their Christmas readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and created The Dickens Project, an interactive event centred on a series of readings of the book presented within an interactive environment celebrating Dickens’ life and work. Since 2012, The Dickens Project has become a Second Life tradition in the Christmas / holiday season.

Over the years, the Project has grown in size, from a small parcel to a full region, providing an immersive environment in which to enjoy what is perhaps Dickens’ most famous novel and explore his life and the era in which he lived. Now, for 2019, Seanchai Library has announced that The Dickens Project will again be opening its doors once more on December 1st, 2019.

Caledonia Skytower, Shandon Loring (centre) and Kayden Oconnell in an evocative shot of the virtual / live performance by Bear Silvershade

I’ve followed the Project throughout the last eight years, and have always appreciated the scale and depth of the event – and am not in the least surprised that it has become a staple of many residents’ holiday celebrations in Second Life. However, for those not familiar with the event, here are some highlights of what it encompasses:

  • A full region designed to reproduce the famous settings for A Christmas Carol within a larger location representative of Victorian London.
  • Over 40 hours spread through the month of December featuring live music, spoken word, dance events and performances and including dozens of performers, presenters and special guests.
  • Self-selectable interactive elements, including the Urchins in Dickens’ London role-play/game/experience, and opportunities for both RP and non-RP guests.
  • Educational and interpretive content to encourage questions like “What was Tiny Tim suffering from anyway?”
The Dickens Project 2017 Edition

This year, The Dickens Project includes a very special guest performer – Patch Linden! I understand he’ll be appearing around twice during the event.

The Dickens Project is not one single thing. It began as purely a story event, but has evolved to be much more. Our goal is to bring residents together around this important literary work and its themes. Whether their interest is historical, educational, artistic, social, recreational, active, and reflective – we work to provide opportunities to engage that are fun and meaningful. 

– The Dickens Project Director, Caledonia Skytower

I’ll have more on the 2019 Dickens Project in due course and ahead of the official opening, including the event schedule of readings and entertainment.

About the Seanchai Library

Seanchai Library (pronounced Shawn-a-kee, which means “Storyteller” in Irish Gaelic.) was founded in March of 2008 in Second Life. The programme remains dedicated to promoting the power of stories to transform and inspire through live voice presentations: “We bring stories of all kinds to life, in Second Life and other virtual worlds.” Find out more by visiting their website. You can join any of their weekly readings of popular stories and works from across all genres of literature in-world – again, check their website or my weekly previews of their upcoming readings.

Sci-fi, recipes, homely tales and a little Shakespeare

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, November 4th 19:00: Variable Star

Gyro Muggins reads Spider Robinson’s 2006 completion of an eight-page novel outline from 1955 by Robert Heinlein.

When aspiring composer and musician Joel Johnston first met Jinny Hamilton, it seems like a dream come true. And when she finally agrees to marry him, he feels like the luckiest man in the universe.

There’s just one small problem. He is broke. His only goal in life was to become a composer, and he knows it will take years before he’d be earning enough to support a family. But Jinny isn’t willing to wait; she wants Joel with her in marriage now.

Unsettled by her conviction that money wouldn’t be a problem for them, Joel presses Jinny for an explanation. Her response stuns him: ‘Hamilton’ is not her last name – it is ‘Conrad’, and her grandfather is the wealthiest man in the solar system: Robert Conrad; she had been using subterfuge to ensure whoever she fell in love with really loved her for who she was, not for her grandfather’s money. With that truth revealed, she also informs Joel of her family’s broader plans for her and her husband-to-be.

Perhaps most men in Joel’s shoes, faced with the facts that Jinny really did love him and was offering a life of wealth, might have forgiven her for hiding her identity and plans. But not Joel. So it was that he found himself trying to get as far from her and her family as possible: aboard a colony ship heading deep into space. And then came the cosmic cataclysm that would visit so much calamity on humanity as a whole.

Tuesday, November 5th 19:00: What’s Cookin’?

A favourite food stories and recipe exchange with Caledonia Skytower and friends. Tonight they share favourite food stories, and everyone is invited to bring some of their favourite recipes (on note cards) to share.

Wednesday, November 6th 19:00 Stories from Home

With Thanksgiving in the United States now approaching, the Seanchai Library staff sit down to celebrate this time of year by sharing local tales from the various regions of the corporeal world where they live, or have lived: the American South-west, the Klondike, the Puget Sound, and more. You are invited to recommend stories from your home as well.

Thursday, November 7th 19:00 Julius Caesar – A Novelisation

With Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

Seanchai Listening Rooms

Following the success of Seanchai’s Pirate Story Listening Room at this year’s Pirate Cove event, the library now offers two special listening rooms that are now available for your 24/7 story pleasure.

  • The Raven’s Chamber focuses specifically on Edgar Allen Poe’s 1845 narrative poem The Raven. Inspired in part by a talking Raven in the historical novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty by Charles Dickens, Poe’s famous alliterative poem uses musicality stylized language with its own internal rhythm as it relates a talking raven’s mysterious visit to young man – the poem’s narrator – lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore, as he slowly descends into madness. Both “traditional” and “alternate” readings of the poem can be heard in the room on stream, along with other interpretive content.
  • The Ghost Listening Room takes a broader scope, offering haunting tales in comfortably spooky atmosphere.

Both listening rooms can be reached via the direct SLurls above, or by visiting Seanchai Library and using the teleport boards (shown below) located on the back wall of the library’s Story Floor (main floor). Each board will offer both an information note card about the room, and open your world map for teleporting to either room.

Seanchai Library now operates two seasonal reading rooms

Happy Halloween from Seanchai Library

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, October 27th

14:00: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A special performance featuring the voice talents of Dav5id Abbot, Corwyn Allen, Shandon Loring, Elrik Merlin, Kayden Oconnell, Caledonia Skytower and Votarn “VT” Torvalar.

Live in-world at Wandervale, home of the creators of the Octoberville and Wicked Winter interactive experiences and broadcast by Fantasy Faire Radio (on the web and on stream in-world).

Read more here: Jekyll and Hyde in Second Life.

16:30: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Perhaps one of the most well-known (and well-loved) stories of dark hauntings is Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which is also one of the earliest examples of American literature of enduring popularity.

While setting his tale in post-revolutionary America in the year 1790, Irving in fact wrote the sorry tale of school teacher Ichabod Crane and his ill-fated encounter with the Headless Horseman in 1819 while visiting England, where his also penned Rip Van Winkle.

Both The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle first appeared in print in his serial The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, which also marked Irving’s first use of that pen name. As with Rip Van Winkle, Irving claims he first heard about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from “Diedrich Knickerbocker”, a fictional “Dutch Historian”.

With Caledonia Skytower at The Golden Horseshoe at Magicland Park.

Monday, October 28th 19:00: Variable Star

Gyro Muggins reads Spider Robinson’s 2006 completion of an eight-page novel outline from 1955 by Robert Heinlein.

When aspiring composer and musician Joel Johnston first met Jinny Hamilton, it seems like a dream come true. And when she finally agrees to marry him, he feels like the luckiest man in the universe.

There’s just one small problem. He is broke. His only goal in life was to become a composer, and he knows it will take years before he’d be earning enough to support a family. But Jinny isn’t willing to wait; she wants Joel with her in marriage now.

Unsettled by her conviction that money wouldn’t be a problem for them, Joel presses Jinny for an explanation. Her response stuns him: ‘Hamilton’ is not her last name – it is ‘Conrad’, and her grandfather is the wealthiest man in the solar system: Robert Conrad; she had been using subterfuge to ensure whoever she fell in love with really loved her for who she was, not for her grandfather’s money. With that truth revealed, she also informs Joel of her family’s broader plans for her and her husband-to-be.

Perhaps most men in Joel’s shoes, faced with the facts that Jinny really did love him and was offering a life of wealth, might have forgiven her for hiding her identity and plans. But not Joel. So it was that he found himself trying to get as far from her and her family as possible: aboard a colony ship heading deep into space. And then came the cosmic cataclysm that would visit so much calamity on humanity as a whole.

Tuesday, October 29th 19:00: The Spooky Classics

Caledonia Skytower reads Neil Gaiman.

Wednesday, October 30th 19:00 The Eve of All Hallows

The Seanchai Staff share stories and poems of the season on the night before Halloween!

Thursday, October 31st

19:00 A Handful of Halloween

Short Ghost Stories round the Campfire at Pixeltrix. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

20:00 A Spooky Party

With DJ the Dreaded Caledonia Skytower.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night – from The X Files It’s All In The Eyes

With Shandon Loring & Caledonia Skytower at Pixeltrix.

Jekyll and Hyde in Second Life

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Following the rebroadcast of a live radio adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus on Sunday, October 20th, Seanchai Library, in association with The Ravenheart Museum of Art, Culture, and Curious Things and Fantasy Faire Radio, will be presenting a special live performance of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Sunday, October 27th, 2019.

Published in 1886, the novella is perhaps most famously known by the shorter title Jekyll and Hyde, although it has also been called The Strange Case of Jekyll Hyde, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It came three years after his first major commercial success, Treasure Island, and was followed shortly afterwards by Kidnapped (also first published in 1886), which between them form the triumvirate of Stevenson’s most famous works, although in his career he wrote 13 novels (two in progress at the time of his premature death at the age of 44), and also published six major collections of short stories.

Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885, shortly before he wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Jekyll and Hyde was a product of Stevenson’s long-standing fascination with the manner in which the human personality involves the interplay of “right” and “wrong”  (or “good” and “evil”, and what happens when this interplay becomes fractured within and individual. Whilst a work of fiction, the novella has nevertheless had a significant impact in defining personality traits, particularly with “Jekyll and Hyde” entering the vernacular in describing those who can exhibit extremes of personality – and may not even be cognisant of the abrupt swing from one to the other and back.

The novella itself had something of an extended gestation period.

In the 1870s, Stevenson became friends with French teacher Eugene Chantrelle, a seemingly pleasant member of the same Edinburgh circles in which Stevenson moved. Following Chantrelle’s arrest on suspicion of murdering his wife in 1878 (for which he was eventually hanged), Stevenson was present throughout the trial, during it which it was revealed the “upstanding” Chantrelle was, behind closed doors, a violent man – and was likely responsible for a series of murders in France and England – and possibly as many as six others in Edinburgh.

At the same time, Stevenson had written a play about another man with a double life in Edinburgh 100 years previously. William “Deacon” Brodie was, on the one hand, a respected Edinburgh craftsman well-regarded by the wealthy of the city- whom he would burgle by night in order to feed his secret gambling habit. That play, aided by a short story entitled Markheim, published in 1884, helped pave the way for the Jekyll and Hyde novella, with Chantrelle’s case acting as the core inspiration.

The story itself is said to come together very quickly, as related by both Stevenson’s wife, Fanny, and his step-son, Lloyd, and may have been spurred by a series of lucid dreams Stevenson suffered due to the drugs he was taking at the time to combat illness.

I don’t believe that there was ever such a literary feat before as the writing of Dr Jekyll. I remember the first reading as though it were yesterday. Louis came downstairs in a fever; read nearly half the book aloud; and then, while we were still gasping, he was away again, and busy writing. I doubt if the first draft took so long as three days.

– Samuel Lloyd Osbourne, Stevenson’s step-son

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde set

The 90-minute performance by Seanchai Library features a script adapted from the Stevenson’s work by Dav5id Abbot and Caledonia Skytower. It will take place at Wandervale, home of the creators of the Octoberville and Wicked Winter interactive experiences, and feature the voice talents of Abbot and Skytower, together with Corwyn Allen, Shandon Loring, Elrik Merlin, Kayden Oconnell, and Votarn “VT” Torvalar.

Residents are warmly invited to attend the performance in-world which will commence at 14:00 SLT on Sunday, October 27th, 2019. It will be broadcast on the region’s stream and also by Fantasy Faire radio at fantasy.radioriel.org, or http://streams.radioriel.org:8070/stream, and so can be listened to in-world from your own home or on the web.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Fantasy Faire Radio is sponsored by The Ravenheart Museum of Art, Culture, and Curious Things, featuring one of the largest public collections of Alia’s Baroque’s Libertine Eggs by Alia Baroque, and hosting the exhibition A Conspiracy of Ravens (read here for more about both exhibitions).

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