Photograph by Kate Bergdorf
My friend Huckleberry Hax, writer, reader, blogger, photographer, machinima-maker and part-time-builder-extraordinaire, has been working on putting together a short story collection for the past few weeks. I know he is almost done and was fortunate enough to catch him for a little impromptu chat about it.
KB: Exciting news that your latest short-story collection, Amazing Metaverse, is about to be published! Please tell us a bit about this work and also when you think it might hit the market.
HH: Actually, it’s not my ‘latest’ short story collection – it’s my first ever short story collection. I was recently looking through the stash of stories I’ve written since 2007 (when ‘AFK’ was published) and realised I had enough there for a publication. I’m hoping to publish the collection on Issuu within the next few days – that version will be free – with print and e-book versions following shortly after.
The stories are mostly detective/mystery and set in or around a virtual world like SL. They’ve been a lot of fun to create. Six concern my ‘hard boiled’ virtual worlds private investigator ‘Hard Luck.’ Five of them concern a group of characters I created called the ‘Avatar Dining Club,’ who are metaverse residents that meet in real life to solve virtual world mysteries such as how it is an avatar can appear to be in two places at the exact same time. The Avatar Dining Club were inspired by the ‘Black Widowers’ stories of Isaac Asimov, a collection I fell in love with back in 2014
KB: This book is also different because it contains images. You and I did some of them, it was a lot of fun and it is cool seeing the finished product now. Tell us a bit please about the general layout about this book, it seems so different from your other books.
HH: Yes, I wanted to create the feel of a mid-century ‘pulp’ publication, which commonly had black and white illustrations with every story. It’s actually been an idea of mine to do that for several years, but I didn’t have the content back when it first occurred to me. I did discuss it, though, with my best SL friend at the time, Dizi, and she created a great image for it. I’ve been able to use that image as one of the black and white illustrations, which really pleases me.
KB: You are one of the most consistently productive writers in SL. Please tell us about what we can expect to see next, after Amazing Metaverse. What are some of the writing projects you are involved with?
HH: Thanks! I have a few projects in the pipeline. First is my novella ‘Sim’ which has been finished for a while now, only I want to release it as a series of voice recordings on YouTube and I’ve only so far created chapters one and two. I’m also finishing off still my November NaNoWriMo, which is the fifth and final book in the ‘AFK’ series. I’m not planning on releasing that for a while yet, but I want to get it finished whilst the momentum’s still there.
KB: Just out of curiosity, side-tracking here a little, a last question that has more to do with photography. I know you been an avid photographer for the past few years. More recently, you also some to have become more interested in Flickr! Please tell us what you think about Flickr, not only in terms of a platform for photo-posting but also as a social communication tool.
HH: I think I’m more a learner photographer – when I see some of the pictures produced by some of the more experienced SL photographers these days, I’m just amazed. Yes, I am enjoying taking pictures and I want to continue to use Flickr more. Most of all, however, I want to create machinima. I’m about to do a major upgrade on my PC which should turn it into an absolute graphics monster, so, for the first time ever, I’m hoping to be able to shoot in ultra graphics at 25 frames per second. That will be cool.
KB: Thanks a lot Huck, always a pleasure!
HH: And mine!
Photograph of book cover image by Huckleberry Hax
★ Top: Kate (Black) by *agp* for Kustom9
★ Skirt: Kate (Black) by *agp* for Kustom9
★ Hair: Code Uma (Brunettes) by Moon. for Collabor88
★ Crown: Mesh Paper Crown Hat (Gold) by Meli Imako
★ Dog: My Loving Nice Poodle (Strawberry White) by [Bantam Black] for kustom9
★ Skin: Emma (*peche*) by Essences
★ Mesh Body: Lara by Maitreya
★ Freckles: Chocolate Splits by DeeTaleZ
★ Eyes: Look Eyes (Emerald) by Amacci
★ Eyebrows: Natural Eyebrows by iGOTit
★ Pose: Shy Ground Sit by Del May
★ House: Chelsea Townhouse by Apple Fall
Photograph by Kate Bergdorf
There are three places I’ve been visiting lately and I’ve enjoyed walking around exploring and taking photos there. The first one (top photo) is The Yorkshire Moors, a reflection of the creators impression of the same location in northeastern England; we find here a flat rather simple yet beautiful landscape with a few rocks, farm animals, plenty places of sit, bordering on the ocean. The second destination (middle photo) is Crystal Gardens, a coastal sim, that has been wonderfully put together without feeling overdone; the ocean dominates here, with gentle waves, sand and beach house with plenty of places to sit and daydream. The last place (bottom photo) is The Mill, a rural landscape adorned with windmills and lighthouses; this is a sweet and welcoming place with a lot of attention to detail and plenty of poses to use throughout. Head over and take a look at these destinations for yourselves.
Photographs by Kate Bergdorf
I am reblogging here this important post from the Delicatessen blog addressing real/virtual world art exhibit overlap.
The crossover between virtual worlds and tangible world (especially the virtual and tangible artworlds) is not easy. With funding you can make something quite spectacular, but still not easy…
Artists, curators and critics from the virtual art world often complain about using these worlds just to simulate the tangible artworld, disregarding the specificity of virtual worlds’ media and possibilities.
When showcasing our virtual world in the tangible world, we have faced the exact opposite problem. Sometimes people want to replicate the experience of being immersed in a collaborative virtual environment, and the possibilities they afford. We don’t believe immersive experiences in the tangible world are impossible. That would be quite foolish, because there has been plenty of immersive art in museums, galleries and public spaces. What we find impossible to replicate is the experience of being immersed in a creative collaborative virtual environment in a museum or gallery, etc. We can provide a computer with an avatar logged in…
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There are presently two exhibits by talented female photographers, both with a focus on nudes, predominantly in black and white. The first exhibit I visited is Elo à Nu, by Elorac Paule, at Corruption, curated by Gabriel Botto. We find here nineteen images mounted in three rooms, some in color and some in black and white, depicting the female body. With these photographs, Elorac Paule, aka as Lil’ Frenchie Elo, beautifully captures eroticism, integrating at times collars and cuffs, highlighting in the process the female shape.
The second exhibit, Real Dreams, is by MM (Mysterr) at LA Gallery, curated by at Wintergeist. We find here fifteen of MM (Mysterr)’s stunning images, all black and white. There is such a great sense of sensuality present in this photographer’s pictures and she rarely fails in capturing the subtleties of emotion. She notes in her artist statement that [h]er main purpose is to make images, music and words dance together, to tell stories of “amor e saudade” (love and missing) so typical of her Portuguese roots, that feed on “fado” and fantasy. She continuously tries to capture the secret essence of the soul (hers? universal?), knowing it will always be an impossible mission and a never ending quest. All this inspires her camera to travel the angles and cut the fragments that express better what goes on in the heart… Head over for yourself and check out these two shows, you don’t want to miss them.
Photographs by Kate Bergdorf
It is finally time for one of the most important Ceremony events of the year, namely the first ever Paper Crown Pass! This challenge was announced by Miss Mich Michabo on Flickr a few days ago and we now have a taker (yes, it is me!). I will accept the prestigious Paper Crown on Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 12 PM SLT at Berg by Nordan Art, seated by the Gallery Orange Cat. The Paper Crown will be worn by me for a month and I must wear the Paper Crown in all pictures I take. These photos will then be added to the especially created Paper Crown Pass Flickr Group. After one month the Paper Crown will then be passed by me to an individual of my choice to which another Paper Crown Pass Ceremony will take place at the Berg by Nordan Art gallery. Each new wearer of the Paper Crown will then do the same, wear for a month and pass to an individual of their choice at Berg by Nordan Art for the Pass Ceremony and so forth. The Paper Crown will eventually end up again with Mich in December 2016. Let me also not forget to mention here that the golden Paper Crown was created by the talented Meli Imako. Hope you can join us for this exciting event!
The virtual world is merely a few decades old. There is some research on virtuality out there, but still not much. As residents, it seems we just plug along, dealing with things as they happen and try to figure them out as best as we can. I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating; to me Second Life is a bit like the Wild West might have been, largely unexplored, and this is true particularly perhaps when it comes to our emotional experiences. I like it that way, but I am also becoming more mindful of it. While there is no doubt in my mind that emotional connectedness exists here just as strongly it does in our real lives (we think and feel here too), our projections and fantasies at the same time have a limiting and sometimes questionable effect. Keeping this in mind on each of our exploratory virtual world paths, open minds and kindness go a long way.
Photograph by Kate Bergdorf