Science Fiction, Second Life, and Me

March 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

I woke up one morning and thought I was a twelve-year-old boy who had accidentally stumbled into a wormhole that sucked the life right into me.

 I avariciously devoured the sights and sounds and smells typed into my starving brain, by authors living and dead, the wonders of dragons and magic and evil-doers with swords and scabbards and rockets blasting off to distant innocent worlds—worlds where vulnerable aliens wait bovinely to be destroyed.

Would I fight beside heroes and vestal virgins or become a bawdy wench drinking with bit characters in sepia taverns? I might prefer to be the ever-present accomplice to Alan Rickman’s riotous villainy, be it directed either to Harry or Robin? Harry and Robin – those two ‘of the hoods’ stout hearted souls, although Harry’s might more accurately be described as a cowl’. Oh Alan, you wonderful supporting actor, you are my first schoolgirl crush, albeit a late one as I have, or so they claim to be, grandchildren.

Books and DVDs, too many for the bookcases, pile artfully upon the floor, tumble across the rug like stepping stones, and stealthily follow me into the bathroom and kitchen. They tuck themselves away on top of paper products: toilet paper, napkins, typing paper and paper plates. Books seam to have an affinity to other paper products, especially paper plates and newspapers. I wonder if books think of themselves as ‘kissing cousins to magazines’?

Is a story never told as inconsequential as the sound of a tree crashing in the proverbial geometric forest where nobody resides? One day, totally uncalled for and devoid of ambition, a silly story popped into my head. There was a tavern, some aliens, a few regulars and many irregulars, a hero, and a side-kick. It leaked out of my brain, swam through my limbic system and caused the muscles of my fingers to jerk and twitch and tap the keys on my keyboard. Not surprisingly, there were a lot of typos amongst the words, but after a quick trip through spell-check, gram-check, thesaurus, and online dictionaries, they almost all became words that fit together to become a story.

 I thought it was a cute little story. I sent it to a friend who also said she thought it was cute, but then, what are friends for? I contacted the publisher/editor/infinitum of my favourite fan magazine and asked him what the procedure is to submit a story. This multi-talented very kind man – the type who lives on worlds-waiting-to-be-distroyed, I think, told me that I could send it to him, then he would make suggestions and send it back, then we would repeat this process for a long time until it was publishable, so we began the process. I sent it to him. He changed one word and published it. Beginners luck.

 I am now watching it, reading it, and writing it, so what is next? Join a writers’ group, of course. I picked one at random, being that I didn’t know there was more than one, and hadn’t thought it out either. Lucky me, I picked one that Mick Resnick – THE Mike Resnick (you know, that guy who is GOH at World SF conventions) visited and helped wanna-be writers. It was full of writers Impatiently Waiting to be Published, many of who, over the years since I joined are published. I received such words of encouragement from other members as, ‘Did you put a bunch of words in a paper bag and draw them out at random?’ Any attention is better than no attention at all, I guess….

 I scribbled away happily with them for a while until life happened and I had to do other things. Where IS my hero waiting to whisk me away from the mundanes and ordinary? He is probably out saving vestal virgins, a group that I am so not qualified for membership.

 At this point, I had never actually met a fan or a writer face-to-face and so I decided to go to a Science Fiction Convention, picturing me surrounded by a bunch of teenagers running around in Batman or vampire capes with their noses in Asimov books. Unbeknownst to lucky me, Norwescon, the convention I decided to attend, is one of the most prestigious and largest local SF cons in the world. I chose it because it is just a short drive from my home. I show up and wander around a bit. I am astounded by the ‘ordinariness’ and age diversity of the people – writers and fans alike, except for those in costume, or with green eerily glowing moss-like hair, of course. Also, many of the people attending are OLD, like me! I’d half-feared that I would be the oldest person there by about 40 years. Oh my! Am I surprised or disappointed? A bit of both, but also a lot relived.

I wander through the art show and walk by a Klingon. About two stalls down, I realize there is no such thing as a Klingon and turn about abruptly, trot back to him, and introduce myself to him. As it happens the first thing that falls out of my mouth this is my first con, having no concept of the term ‘con virgin’. Even if I cannot be a vestal virgin, I can be a con virgin and so I am. The Klingon deflowers me in a darkened art cubical toward the back of the room… just joking. He was actually very kind, and later at the con was the announcer for the most amazing costume show I have ever seen. The Klingons do an amazing job on their costumes, spending thousands of dollars and many, many hours of work.

Years have trundled by since that first con and I have attended many more. Each has its own set of memories. One of my most embarrassing moments was when I joined a rather famous writer and his lovely wife for lunch. Before he invited us to join him, I had ordered a snack to share with my table and apparently, he had ordered the same thing, although we were still seated at separate tables and did not know this. Apparently the waitress did not realize that we wanted TWO sets of this snacks. I proceeded to eat his snack and tell him it was very good and then suggest he try some. He looked at me strangely, but said nothing. I just figured he was a quirky writer with poor social skills. I did not figure out what really happened until I asked for my check and there was no charge for the snack. By that time he and his wife had escaped – I mean left to attend a panel. I have passe the wife in the halls of other events and she either does not remember me, for which I would be eternally grateful, or pretends to not recognize me in order to avoid me. Every time I see her, I cringe inwardly.

I love panels. I attend them back-to-back throughout the con. I have learned about things that I did not know existed. My favourites are the artists and professional panels, but the S/M and fetish panels intrigue me. A couple years ago Norwescon’s GOH is a long time Second Life resident. There were a few panels about Second Life but there was not much information given. I love Second Life and could barely stay awake. After the con, I contacted the people in charge of Norwescon and volunteered facilitate panels on Second Life. I had envisioned making few ten minute videos with my friends from second life to address some of the most frequent questions – like how to really make money in Second Life, Second Life Relationships and Cybering – are you cheating on your RL partner?, free programs to use to make content for Second Life, etc., how to publish and market your own books in Second Life and then doing a lecture, with video examples, followed by questions.

I was told that Second Life is NOT science fiction – unlike S/M – slash writers, cross dressing’, creative anarchists, electronic arcades… YES I have an issue with their decision. If you are involved in ‘other worlds’ like Second Life, email the people who put the con together and ask them to include Second Life/other worlds panels! I would love to be a part of the panels and would bring COOKIES and websites. The cookies would be snicker-doodles and toll-house for rl consumption. (By the way, rl means ‘real life’ as opposed to virtual worlds life). Who can resist a snicker-doodle?

I will be enjoying Norwescon this April. I plan to attend the stuffing party on April Fools day. I promise not to sneak ‘Free Calla – Let Second Life into Norwescon’ bookmarks into the gift bags.  


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Second LIfe’s 8th Birthday Party – SL8B Norwescon Day 1

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jlatchaw  |  April 4, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Someone got their writing bug turned on…..Gaming Conventions rather than SciFi conventions may hold a better place for SL panels.

    Keep up the good work on SL though.

  • 2. jlatchaw  |  April 4, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Someone got the writing bug turned on….Gaming conventions rather than SciFi conventions may hold a better place for SL panels.

    Keep up the good work on SL though.



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