Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The view from the virtual world

Some gratifying news this week. First, Pearson want me to write two more books in their 'Brilliant' series, then an email to say that the first one I wrote for them, Brilliant Study Skills, is being translated into Spanish for the north and south American markets. The new books are needed for March next year so I won't be able to indulge my idleness until the spring. On top of that, the Pfoxmoor edition of the next Jack Carston mystery, Shadow Selves, will be out soon and the fifth (and perhaps final) one has been written and will be appearing next year.

All of which is very nice but will put the brakes on the audio tracks I've been doing recently. That's been fun, largely because I love finding technology simple enough for me to use. I hope it's been useful, too. The idea is always to try to attract readers and whatever methods are available, we have to use them.

Anyway, I'll still add audio extracts to the list on the right now and then but this one is different. It's a story from a batch I wrote a while ago when I was playing the online game Second Life™ .  It's a fascinating game and I met some interesting people there, some of whom are still good friends. But it certainly sets your mind working on the whole business of virtual and real worlds, and technological advances are so fast that any stories you write about them can be out of date by the following day. I have a batch of these stories but they'll probably never appear for precisely that reason. On the other hand, the real interest lies in the fact that the avatars and impossible contexts of virtual worlds are still manipulated and populated by normal people with familiar, maybe even eternal hungers, curiosities, foibles and all the other things that provide us with material for our fictions.

This one moves through the screen and looks back at our world through the eyes of an avatar. Warning - it contains rude words and adult content (but definitely not of the titillating variety). I'd appreciate your comments - positive or negative.

Audio track - The view from here by Bill Kirton

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  1. Hi, Bill,
    First, congratulations on your book being translated and finding new markets. I wish you all the best. Also, I love your use of technology - you have such a pleasant voice, and I'm certain that it will serve you well in your endeavors.

  2. Bill, I'm more a visual person than audio, but I loved your Avatar story - it gripped my attention right to the end. It helps that you have a very pleasant voice, but I adored your philosophical Avatar and his observations. I've never been into Second Life, although I know about it - it's such a clever idea to write from the Avatar's POV.

    Congrats on the other further success - that should keep you out of mischief for a while!

  3. Thanks Jackie and Rosemary. Maybe having a 'pleasant' voice will make up for some of the other nasty bits.

  4. I liked the story. I've been there, as you know, and I recognise the scene, the questions such a world raise etc. And that's why I started wondering whether this works for readers who've when never been in a 3D virtual world. Like you allready said, one moment you write it, the next it's outdated. Also, the references are very much 'Second Life'. A more abstract, less context related approach might help, although the result might be too philosophical for some people's taste.
    So, I'd be interested in what people really think of the story itself, apart from your beautiful voice.

  5. Excellent, I've graduated from 'pleasant' to 'beautiful'. Flattery always works, Anneke. Yes, I was hoping more people would comment on it to give me an idea whether it's worth pursuing and, if so, how to make it more easily comprehensible for those who've never tried MMORPG.

  6. Being unfamiliar with online games, or any other digital entertainment for that matter, it takes a stretch of my imagination to conceptualize a computerized avatar with a mind of his or her own that can form opinions, have desires or any rational thought whatsoever. An avatar knows only what is programmed into the system by his or her ‘god’. This digitized avatar reflects upon military or mafia soldiers whose only course of action is to follow instructions, have no input of opinion on any given task, and performs his duties without question. Yes, an avatar with his or her own thoughts and opinions is not a logical concept, but quite fun to imagine.

    I'm experiencing technical difficuties with Blogger, thus the Anonymous posting. Jackie

  7. But isn't that the great thing about writing, Jackie? We can conceive of dialogues between 2 stones or create a character out of a piece of scrap material that used to be part of a dress worn by an Oscar winner, and so on. The interesting thing is the new perspective that gives us on our own, real world.