Tag Archives: life

More Second Life transport – the Melt-mobile

Yet more pre-emptive posts of pictures from Second Life – you lucky people!

This rather unassuming flatbed truck has special powers thanks to the 1337 sk1llz of its creator, the one and only Facemelt Loon, who you can see in the driving seat:

Facemelt Loon's Melt-mobile truck-hack

It may not be apparent, but we’re parked in a skybox about 700 metres above the surface of the Wastelands, there – Loon hacked the car script so it can go places that cars normally should not be able to go. Shortly after this image was taken, we performed an experiment with SL gravity.

Then there was demolition derby that crashed the sim, but we don’t talk about that …

Junkyard engineering in Second Life

Oh, you thought just because I was out of town for a few days, you’d get a break from my Second Life evangelism? Mwah-hah-hah! With your dying breath, you shall curse the scheduled post feature of WordPress …


That there is my first building project of any worth whatsoever; it’s my attempt to recreate the RIOTwheel, which is possibly the coolest mode of transport I’ve ever seen anywhere.

It fits with the aesthetics of the neighbourhood, too. It works, too – though the functionality is pretty basic at the moment, I need to learn more script-fu before I can perfect it. In the meantime, however, I have a way of fleeing the local battle-trucks …

Chichen Itza redux – Mayan ruins in Second Life

Well, talk about sychronicity. Mere days after I post a picture from my jaunt around Mexico, I hear that I can wander the ruins of Chichen Itza once again … without even having to leave my swivel-chair, let alone the country.

Chichen Itza - the SL version

Oh yes! The Mexico Tourism Board has just finished a scale reproduction of the the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Second Life … another sim to add to my growing list of places to visit.

You should come too – drop me a line. I’d be happy to show people around in Second Life, and there are parts of it that really are worth seeing, you know …

‘Anima’ by Dalian Hansen – book set in Second Life to hit Amazon?

If you’ve been waiting for me to make a post about Second Life that genuinely intersects with the world of science fiction, your moment has just arrived.

3pointD reports that a gentleman who goes by the name Dalian Hansen in SL is due to release a novel set almost entirely in Second Life, Linden Labs’ virtual world. As they provide no link to the source (it was a personal tip-off, apparently), I shall snip Dalian’s description/synopsis from the 3pointD announcement:

“Ben Tao is the avatar of a fired programmer who hacks Second Life. His goal is to profit from a false intellectual property claim. However, instead of changing the creation date for the items he has stolen, he is actually sending them back in time to the creation of the 3D world. This software exploit opens a wormhole of conflicting realities that unfold in a disjointed nightmare. Ben quickly finds himself controlled by an entity who robs him of all free will. Or is he just going insane? As the digital and real worlds merge in his mental interchange, he uncovers a secret that affects all of humanity. From this bleak future, Ben has only one chance to escape.”

Well, nothing groundbreaking there, at least from an sf-nal storytelling angle. After all, cyberspace was named in ink-and-paper fiction way back in 1984 thanks to Bill Gibson, the concept was arguably being kicked around before that, and there’s been plenty of recent (and forthcoming) novels dealing with virtual worlds and MMOs.

What’s important is that this book is set in a real, extant metaverse platform – if that synopsis is to be believed, it explicitly names Second Life as the arena of action. Whether or not that will encourage people who might not have bothered with ‘some sci-fi rubbish’ to read it remains to be seen … as does Linden Labs’ reaction to having what I assume is a trademark being used in such a way.

What also remains to be seen is whether it’s any good, in novelistic terms. A swift google of the name Dalian Hansen reveals that the man behind the avatar is “[a]n internationally award winning photographer based in Asia”, and an experienced virtual business boffin to boot … but that tells us nothing of whether or not he can write for toffee.

The 3pointD report quotes Hansen as saying that:

“… preview editions will be published as a prim book in SL and as a paperback available from CafePress.com, both due July 7, with a hardcover edition available on Amazon.com as of July 27 …”

It also makes the point that neither Amazon or Cafepress have a listing for the item in question as of yet (and hence is hesitant to report the news as a definite). So I think we can assume it’s a self-publishing job … but again, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be any good. I get the feeling that Hansen is the type who wants to lead with virtual business methods, so maybe it’s as much a proof-of-concept as anything else.

But there’s only one way to find out for certain, and that’s to go straight to the horse’s mouth. So I shall be attempting to get in touch with Av. Hansen in SL later tonight, to see if he’d like to talk about this further.

Friday Photo Blogging: humungous flying cephalopod

We move away from photos of plants (and, indeed, from actual photos taken with an actual camera) for this week’s FPB, because … well, because I’ve not taken any. So instead, here’s a snapshot of me checking out an air kraken in Babbage Square, Second Life:

Air Kraken at Babbage Square

I went to see Babbage because it was one of the places Warren Ellis mentioned in his column about ‘awesome builds that seem like ghost-towns’. A fair assessment, too – Babbage is a beautifully made steampunk-themed sim, but it was dead as a Victorian doornail when I went there, except for a few other people who’d obviously had the same idea about following Mr. Ellis’s list of suggestions. That flying squid just had to be photographed. You can buy your own, too. Second Life is like that.


Even that screen shot is from over a week ago, too – time has been short, and SL exploration has to, by necessity, be one of the first casualties of temporal triage. I think my keyboard is starting to resent the ceaseless battering – it keeps sighing whenever I sit down in front of it.

Of course, I could be making all this up, couldn’t I? Yakking on about how busy I am in an attempt to make you all think I’m something I’m not? Well, I might be trying to convince you I’m a more professional and successful writer than I really am, but I assure you that I’ve been working. In fact, I have the proof.

I pointed earlier in the week to my critique of Mike Resnick’s Starship: Pirate at SF Site (and in doing so proved the axiom of the Summon Author spell), so you already knew about that. But I write about music too, you know – and a whole lot of my stuff has gone live on the intarwebs in the last week.

For Subba-Cultcha.com, I have reviewed albums by Dungen (trippy), Azalea City Penis Club (interesting), and Blacktop Mourning (by-the-numbers emo pop). Plenty more stuff already submitted but yet to be published.

For Pennyblack Music, I have reviewed albums by the Young Gods (mind-blowingly brilliant industrial) and Malkovich (craftily nihilistic Dutch metal lunacy), an EP by Silicon Vultures (very promising but as yet unpolished), and live shows from Pelican (supported by These Arms are Snakes) and Clutch (supported by The Sword). Here too, at least as many pieces again still pending publication. And I still need to write up and submit my interview with Franz from the Young Gods that I recorded on Tuesday …

Plus I’m off to review Biffy Clyro and supports on Sunday night, and on June 2nd I get to interview the mighty desert rock heroes, Fu Manchu! OK, so I don’t get paid for any of this, but it’s great fun and great portfolio. If I can just work out how to survive on three hours sleep a night, I’ll be doing brilliantly. And there’s paid work in the offing, too – I’ve got my first test copywriting assignment for the Sea Your History project to work on. I have to boil down the Admiralty’s attitudes and approaches to naval dis- and re-armament in the inter-war years … to 500 words! Yipes!


So, incoming materials for the week are all magazines (because I only count items that I intend to read, which invalidates the latest batch of teen vamp-shagging novels from Orbit … the public library will be more grateful for them, I expect):

Hell knows when I’ll get time to read them, though, because I’ve also received the recommended reading list for the SF Criticism Masterclass next month – and it’s … well, it’s extensive. It’s also almost entirely made up of articles from learned tomes of crit that I have little or no chance of getting hold of, so it’s lucky that the SF Foundation’s library can supply me with copies of the relevant articles and extracts. I don’t think I’ll be doing much reviewing of books this month, that’s for sure.

Oh, and talking of reviewing and Interzone, I think I can now safely reveal that I have just become Assistant Reviews Editor for Interzone, which is something I’m inordinately proud to announce. I think it’ll be a lot of work, but well worth it for the prestige alone. How I will manage to eventually fill the wonderful Sandy Auden’s shoes, I have no idea, but I’m going to give it the best shot I have.


So, there you go. I really have had a busy week – not that you ever doubted me, of course, but I like to be able to back up my assertions occasionally. But now that I have shared the wonder that is my week-to-week existance with you, good people of the internet, it is time. It is time for That Thing Which Must Be Consumed On A Friday … I’ll need the calories to keep me at my desk all weekend, if nothing else!

Have a good one, boys and girls.