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