Tag Archives: virtual

Friday Photo Blogging: Straylight botanical gardens

Since I’ve been huddled indoors all week with a cold which refuses to budge (despite generous applications of vitamins, caffeine and healthy food), we have another “no proper photography” week on our hands. So, a snap-shot from Second Life instead:

Straylight Botanical Gardens 6

That’s yours truly (as my alter ego, Isambard Portsmouth) taking a constitutional in the Botanical Gardens at Straylight, whose enterprising owner has realised that the best way to promote and market his skill with sculpties is to make a place that people will visit just because it looks nice.

It’s about as close to nature as you’ll get in SL at the moment … and when you have an inkling as to the degree of work and expertise involved in creating objects like those trees, it’s even more impressive.

Writing about music

The barrage of music reviewing continues apace; I’ve upped the number of albums I cover in recent weeks because my newly rationalised working procedures have permitted me to do so, but I think I’m now at a peak quota. If I take on any more, and I’ll have no flex left to incorporate other forms of work into my schedule, and I’m hoping that some other forms of work may well be in the pipeline as we speak.

I’ve also been looking into the logistics and planning of my proposed solo music reviews site, as well as poking around with WordPress themes and costing up my hosting options. Watch this space!

So, here’s a few highlights from my music reviews that went live this week:

The next month or so will see me interviewing some of my favourite bands, including the aforementioned Oceansize and Hundred Reasons. As yet unconfirmed (but still a distinct possibility) is a chat with none other than Sir Henry of Rollins. Note to self – bullsh*t questions are not going to wash with this particular interviewee!

Writing about books

Completed my review of Karl Schroeder’s Queen Of Candesce, and sent it off to TTA Towers along with all the other reviews to be included in Interzone #213. So most of the writing about books I’ve been concerned with this week has been stuff written by other people, but that’s fine – I’m learning a lot about different ways of writing from having to edit other people’s work.

I’ve also been taking notes in preparation for writing a review of Lucius Shepard’s Dagger Key collection (for Vector) over the weekend to come. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of the book when I was sent it, as I’m not an aficionado of ‘dark fantasy’, but suffice to say that I now understand why so many people told me I was lucky to be given the book to review – he’s quite a writer. I’m not sure if I’d go out of my way to buy his stuff in future, but I’d certainly recommend him to fantasy and horror fans of my acquaintance.

Next on the slate is McDonald’s Brasyl, which has been in the queue for a long time, but needs to be reviewed for Foundation

Writing about other stuff

My ‘beginner’s guide to Second Life’ is currently being incorporated into the coming edition of D+PAD Magazine, and if it looks as good as the current issue, I’m going to be proud to see my name next to it. And I’ve been asked to follow on with a regular SL column, too … so, time to start cribbing from Warren Ellis! 😉

Writing at VCTB

Yeah, I know, I’ve been slack as hell. If you’re interested in excuses, I’ll mention that a certain amount of ‘bedding-in’ of the new bloggers at Futurismic has been ongoing, and that this damnable cold has slowed me down considerably – thinking clearly is still a matter of conscious effort, and hard to sustain for more than half an hour at a time. But I’ll be back on form soon, don’t you worry …

Books and magazines seen

None. Nada. Nowt. Naff all. Not a terrible occurrence, because the TBR pile is quite big enough already … but unusual enough to be notable. I feel strangely incomplete.


The weekend arrives, and with it grey clouds and rain … I table a motion to declare this The Most. Rubbish. Summer. EVAR.

Still, the weekend is the weekend, and it brings with it plenty of things to do. Tonight is the grand final of The Wedgewood Rooms battle-of-the-bands, where yours truly will be dispensing his judicial decisions for the last time this year. However, due to this enduring illness, I’m not going to be drinking … meaning I get the fun of watching everyone else steadily descend into gibbering inebriation, which should more than compensate.

Sunday is the last of the month, which sees me down at Tongues And Grooves, the poetry and music open-mic night I attend. We’ve no special guest this month, instead concentrating on local artists, and I have a fifteen minute slot to fill with readings of my own work and that of other people, which should be fun (if a trifle nerve-wracking – I never have gotten over the stage-fright thing, even in a small venue with no stage).

But first things first – it’s time for The Friday Curry Of Justice, as is traditional. Have a good weekend, folks. Hasta luego!

Crown Plaza goes virtual; Eastercon 2010 to be held in metaverse?

UK sf fans may be amused to find that Crowne Plaza, the hotel chain who have hosted the last two Eastercons, are now offering virtual conference spaces for hire in Second Life.

Of course, until they provide some sort of virtual bar facility, fandom’s not going to make the shift to the metaverse. But I’m intrigued by the idea of parallel events …

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 …

A multi-million reader science fiction market

Via the inimitable Jason Stoddard comes news of a genre fiction con that anyone with a serious interest in promoting their writing should consider attending – if only for the fact that the magazine sponsoring it has a claimed readership of 5 million (yes, million) people.

Of course, the Chengdu convention, like the magazine in question (Science Fiction World), is based in China, which may put it out of your financial league – unless you plan to bolt it on to your attendance at this year’s Worldcon in Japan, in which case the power of my searing jealousy will keep you awake for weeks to come.

But fear not, my economically-challenged friends! Because they’re planning on running the Chengdu convention virtually in Second Life in parallel with the meatspace version, which means the financial issues aren’t anywhere near as bad as they could be if you have access to a broadband internet connection and a reasonably pokey computer.

I assure you that I’m going to be there with bells on – and hopefully by then I’ll have my own little patch of SL land developed enough to entertain visitors who tire of panels …

Science fiction and the multiverse

If the current trends of growth in ‘synthtic worlds’ such as Second Life and the multitude of MMORPGs continue, there will be a whole lot of new realities for people to explore from the comfort of their own armchairs. What future will science fiction have in an ever-expanding multiverse? Continue reading Science fiction and the multiverse