I’ve known about it since it started, but haven’t had time to read it properly till this weekend, it being Daniel Pinkwater’s online serialization of his new novel, The Neddiad . And let me tell you, it is very, very cool. I love the mix of text, image, and oral storytelling, but most of all I love the readers’ forum. The exchanges there between Pinkwater and his readers are just the sort that I would imagine would occur if we were all sitting at his feet listening to him tell the story. We’d comment, interrupt perhaps, and make references as the story went on. Terrific idea to use an ancient form (the Homerian epic) in the telling and then present it initially in a 21st century way.
Here’s a sample October 15th post to give you a taste (chosen because of the recent Christmas present from Ms. Rowling):
A reader inquires:
Dear Mr. Pinkwater,
Did you use the name the “Hermione Hotel” for all those “Harry Potter” fans out there, or was it just a coincidence?
And Pinkwater replies:
Nothing to do with Harry Potter, and not a coincidence.
Have some time between all that eating and partying this holiday season? Have a computer with broadband handy? Want a little something that might remind you just a tad of Jean Shepard (best known these days for the movie, A Christmas Story)? Then check out Pinkwater’s online ode to Homer, train travel, shoelaces, old hotels, parakeets, ghosts, and eating in hats.
I joined (if that is the right word) Second Life some time ago, but didn’t have the time to really fiddle with it much till this morning. I quickly (too quickly perhaps) finished with the basics, and dove (er, flew) in.
For those unfamiliar with it, Second Life is described by its creators as “… a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 2,142,455 people from around the globe.” Now, I’ve never been much of a gamer, but this sort of world-building is right up my alley and I knew it would be something I’d enjoy (and a time-sucker as well). Unlike earlier online environments like MOOs and MUDs, Second Life isn’t as text-dependent; in fact, its events and commidification made me think a lot of Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse.
After cleaning up my appearance a bit, dashing through the Orientation Island activities (no doubt a mistake, but I was impatient), I’ve been attempting to get the lay of the land. That means I’ve been in the water a lot and having a mighty hard time getting where I want to go. At one point I saw a really pretty garden with fountains, was unable to get to it (my navigating and teleporting skills being pretty sad), and somehow lost it completely. At that point I realized that I finally could truly empathize with Alice when she wanted so badly to get into the beautiful garden, but was too big to do so.
And so for now, I expect to have my very own adventures in a virtual wonderland; do you think it includes a White Rabbit or, better yet, a Mock Turtle?