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Friday, July 22, 2005

BUILDING A BETTER DOCTOROW

From Snoop Dogg and Frida Kahlo... to Cory Doctorow.

When I finally met lilith Pendragon, the creator of Cory Doctorow's avatar for his latest in-world appearance, she was putting the final touches on a tribute to Snoop Dogg that she'd just sold to a Resident named, appropriately enough, Chronic Brotherhood.

Mr. Brotherhood appears to be a happy client.

"I keep a blue flag hangin' out my backside but only on the left side," Chronic announces to us in his new Snoop Dogg persona. "Yeah, that's the Crip side. Ain't no other way to play the game the way I play. I cut so much you thought I was a DJ.

"Two, one, yeah, three," he offers in closing. "Es-en-double-oh-pee Dee-oh-double-gee."

Therefore, in other words, fo shizzle.

So lilith's Cory Doctorow joins an esteemed list of her celebrity tributes which also include Frida Kahlo and Shirley Manson of Garbage (lilith most often wears her Ms. Manson, on herself). Her Cory is so exacting, I initially assumed she'd created a custom skin of him in Photoshop. But as she tells it, she brought Doctorow into this world "just using the [default avatar creation] sliders and looking at his pic. Then I made all the clothes in Photoshop."

She did have a challenge recreating Cory's skull-hugging haircut, however.

"I tried to do his hair with prims to get the flat top, but it just looked horrid, and I'm not patient," she says. "Made a hair texture for his head, similar to how I did the corn rows for Snoop, and tweaked the hair sliders to make a little stick up in front."

lilith has been making custom avatars for just over a year now, first as a side project for her partner Pedro Pendragon, along with clothes and faerie wings, too. (Her avatar recreation of "Mimi", the magically-winged heroine of Cory's book, is suitably spot on.) With this, she's been able to carve out a fairly lucrative part-time gig for herself. "It's not a huge profit," she says, "but it's enough to pay for the land and a little extra... the last couple of months, probably [made] 20,000-50,000 Linden Dollars." She's now working a line of woman warrior avatars, for Residents looking to bring the estrogen-tinged ultaviolence.

For myself, I just finished reading Falk Berman's SL edition of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. I'll save my commentary on the book itself for Cory's appearance (other than to say it is, as hoped, insanely excellent). Happily, the actual experience of reading the virtual edition was not unpleasant. It only takes a few minutes to get past the oddness of reading a fifteen foot book in an online world, and only a few more to get used to the slight delay it takes for the text to upload and resolve, every time you turn the page. After that, as with any other printed medium, it all depends on the literary quality of the text. Like any good book or magazine short story, as you read deeper, the pages themselves seem to melt away, your surroundings fade into the background, and the world of the story falls like a scrim over your mind's eye. (Even when your "surroundings" are nothing but 3D images.)

I do, however, recommend reading the SL edition while sitting in something other than a rigid office chair. (My stiff lower back can testify to that bit.)

Lilith Pendragon's Wild Wings is in Ross (101, 128). Cory Doctorow appears in Second Life this Sunday at 2pm PDT, on a soundstage atop a mountain and a giant washing machine. Details here.

UPDATE, 7/23: The event will also be simulcast from Second Life's homepage. Just hit the "Live Video" icon tomorrow at 2pm.

Posted at 06:00 PM | Permalink

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Comments

His books...I have looked at all of them. I even read the one he is coming to talk about. They aren't real literature. They have absolutely no...depth to them at all. His characters are see through and his attempts at metaphors are mediocre at best.

Posted by: Damanios Thetan at Jul 23, 2005 1:50:27 PM

What is "Real Literature"?

I've read his books and have thouroughly enjoyed them. They are fun to read. They introduce and explore themes and ideas that are going to be quite critical in our near time future.

Posted by: Zar Zadoq at Jul 23, 2005 4:43:22 PM

Yes, thats all well and nice, however, they are...gibberish. He does have obvious themes that would be critical, however, he tries to show this in the most ludacris examples. And even in these examples, the author gives no help in explaining his horridly complicated ( and sometimes irrelevant ) details.

Honestly, I wish they would get a real person in Second Life. A talented author, or possibly political figure. I'd be all for people like Le Ly Hayslip or possibly Jeffrey Euganides.

Posted by: Damanios Thetan at Jul 24, 2005 12:38:17 PM

Real Literature is like Real Music. Something you expect to be around for A Long Time. Unlike cotton candy or cotton dandy.

Posted by: TJ at Jul 24, 2005 3:11:28 PM

No "E" in Frida.

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You're right-- it's fiexed now.

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Honestly, I wish they would get a real person in Second Life. A talented author, or possibly political figure. I'd be all for people like Le Ly Hayslip or possibly Jeffrey Euganides.

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