I was thinking about how much I live a web-life–the articles I read online from newspapers I subscribe to online, the contact I keep with people online, the deals I make online, the shopping I do, the uploading, the downloading. We already have virtual lives. We don’t need Second Life to show us how to be an avatar; we are already avatars in our own online worlds.
But what if by next week you knew there would be no more Internet? No more Facebook. No more Amazon. No more NY Times on the web. No more getting your news there. No more Youtube. No more buying on iTunes. No more Skype. No more sharing lives this way. No more information. No more wikipedia to answer questions, or health sites to give you info. You were restricted to the former ways of staying in contact with others, the former ways of looking up info, the former ways of living. Welcome to LudLife. You would still have a computer–it just wouldn’t be connected to a network. You would still have a phone, but not a smart one. There would be no texting. You would have to talk.
If you knew this internet shutdown would happen on March 31st, what would you do between now and then?
I just had an awesome experience today having my story critiqued in a workshop. But this workshop is not in the real world but on Second Life, the online alternate world. For those who are unfamiliar with Second Life, people choose an avatar and enter the world, run around, meet people, shop, make money, and in some cases, go to class. This class, sponsored by the University of British Columbia and taught by Canadian writer, Kevin Chong, was an undergraduate creative writing workshop completely on Second Life.
The class members don’t have to be in the same place at all. They just work it like an online class, each at their own computer, but the Second Life twist is that they can appear all in the same room together, chatting. Everyone chooses a cool name. On Second Life, you can belong to families—so they give you surnames to choose from, and then you pick your first name. On Second Life, I am Bison Steampunk.
Next you choose an avatar, and Second Life has probably the best avatar creator on the web. Even World of Warcraft is limited to the six or seven creatures to pick from…. but on Second Life, you can literally be anything: a toaster, a zombie, an animated foot, a stuffed animal. One day I am going to get the Minotaur with the Battle Axe. Hehe. But for now, I stuck with the free avatar and shaped him myself. I also picked up some free body parts, skins, and adaptations for my avatar at a Men’s retreat center online called Thor’s Den. I’ll admit, I went a little crazy on the avatar and he’s easy on the eyes. So he’s not a perfect rendition of me. But that’s the joy of Second Life. You can be anything and anyone you want to be.
Another great market for Science Fiction writers, especially those dabbling in near future fiction. Check out the full Guidelines here. Here’s an excerpt of what they’re looking for.
Futurismic seeks contemporary, near future science fiction for online publication. We’re looking for innovative, exciting stories that use the tools of speculative fiction to examine contemporary issues and take a look at what’s just around the corner.
Whether by established professionals or promising newcomers, we would like to see the very best in today’s SF, with an emphasis on work that truly connects with and illuminates the fast-paced, fascinating times we live in.
Stories should be compelling and well written, with a strong emphasis on characters confronting or embracing imminent cultural, social, technological, and scientific changes.
PLEASE NOTE: Near-future, Earth-based science fiction is our primary focus!
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
- Mundane SF
- Post-cyberpunk SF
- Satirical/gonzo futurism
- Realistic near future hard SF
WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR:
- Space opera
- Off-world SF
- Distant futures
- Time Travel
- Alternate History
Length: up to 15,000 words! and there’s a webform to submit with. No nasty stamps and paper problems. $200 flat rate for stories, 2-5 weeks to respond.
Click on the Guidelines link and read the rest if you are interested. Good luck!