I asked a question of a few people who are mostly ignorant of the existence of Second Life: What would you expect to see at an exposition on the future of virtual worlds on the Internet?
After they got past the guffaws or confusion or outright indignation (e.g., “Who do you think I am – some dumb gamer nerd?”), when I’d finally convinced them I was serious, they all gave me the same kind of answers, some printable, some not, but which in general relate to these descriptions:
- Million-core computers (okay, a slight exaggeration)
- Steely cold constructions – sort of advanced erector-set concoctions, all in shades of gray, of course, kind of like the old Jetsons cartoon series
- Advanced battle gear for alien-shaped warriors of the next-next-next-generation
- Robots performing precision-marching maneuvers on green slabs meant to represent parade grounds
What they did not come even close to mentioning were the very things that are so near and dear to my – and most likely your – heart: words. As in writing and reading.
Naturally, people who haven’t a clue what Second Life is about would have no idea about the fabulous resources in SL for writers and readers. But even some who do know, including yours truly, were surprised – pleasantly so, of course – to discover that the big exhibition now under way in celebration of Second Life’s sixth birthday, includes several exhibits that promote writers and readers.
Why such a surprise? Because the theme of the event is the future of virtual worlds, and Linden Lab (which runs SL) required exhibitors to apply and demonstrate that their exhibit reflected that theme.
Yes, many of the exhibits vaguely resemble the future-techie visions described by my little sampling population, and some are so futuristic it’s hard to make hide nor hair of them! But Second Life is different from virtual games (which it’s often lumped with): It’s full of creative souls – artists, musicians, videographers, and, of course, writers. So it would be impossible to envision a future Second Life without them!
Between now and June 30, when the birthday party ends, take a teleport over to the SL6B exhibition and celebration in Second Life, and check out, in particular, these exhibits that promote creative writing in all its forms:
Fostering the Literary Arts
This exhibit was created by Toronto’s Guerilla Poetess — Skylar Smythe in Second Life. (Skylar is also one of the moving forces behind the SL replica of the Hotel Chelsea, a New York hotel that’s been home to many writers.) The “Fostering the Literary Arts” exhibit features:
- Information about the writing community in SL (including a poster about this blog – thank you very much, Skylar!)
- A biodome containing a beautiful woodland meadow, complete with deer
- Up in the sky, a gorgeous performance platform, where events are scheduled each day of the celebration:
- June 24, UK Writers Showcase, 4-6 pm SLT
- June 25, North American Writers Showcase, 7-9 pm SLT
- June 26, Flash Fiction Workshop, 4-5 pm SLT
- June 27, Writing for Second Life Theatre, 2-3 pm SLT
- June 28, Second Life Blogging, 2-3 pm SLT
- June 29, Haiku Showcase / Workshop, 3-4 pm SLT
SLURL to teleport directly to exhibit: http://slurl.com/secondlife/SL6B%20Dimension/134/94/23
SL resident Diana Allandale, who is the author Diana Hunter in first life, designed and built this exhibit to demonstrate “that one can read great stories inworld just as easily as in RL.” Diana generously reached out to writers across SL to invite them to contribute their writing and information to her exhibit, which includes:
- A futuristic reading room
- A sampling of Diana’s novels and short stories
- Free copies of short stories, Second Life books, and other works by writers in Second Life (including a story by and links to information about me – thanks, Diana!!):
SLURL to teleport directly to exhibit: http://slurl.com/secondlife/SL6B%20Virtuocity/161/21/23
One of the most popular centers for writers in SL, Written Word, also has an exhibit, which primarily consists of information about this very supportive organization for writers, as well as a funky “earthquake chair” that you simply have to experience to understand!
More than 300 exhibits that encompass virtually any human activity you can think of are featured at the SL6B extravaganza. It’s a fascinating “virtual world within a virtual world” to explore – but you only have a few days to do so! Better get moving . . . down the hall into the future: