Tuesday, July 05, 2005


The SL edition of Cory Doctorow's latest novel now available free to Residents at a dispenser near you...

Travel to Bonifacio (240, 250) now to pick up your copy of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow, the "official" Second Life edition created by Falk Bergman. Falk has converted the entire text of Cory's novel into a ten foot high "book" that appears before you, when you drag it out of your avatar's inventory and set it on the ground. It has a icon-driven system with functions like place-saving, or at a click, creates a director's chair for you to sit on, to read in greater comfort. Cory himself will come to Second Life on July 24, to what's expected to be a capacity audience (with preference given to Residents who plan to read the novel in anticipation of his arrival.)

In a particularly brilliant addition, Falk has created a script which will enable Cory to autograph the Second Life edition his novel. To do that, readers just have to bring their copy of his book to the event, and set it on a small table in front of Cory. To autograph it, Cory simply has to mouse-click the book, which causes a digitized picture of his real signature (with author's dedication) to be superimposed on the cover. So signing the virtual edition of his book requires about as much effort as it does when he takes pen in hand to autograph the tree-based version.

Falk's attention to detail is staggering. To recreate the cover of the hardback edition he brought Caliandris Pendragon onto the project, to painstakingly create an avatar resembling its exotic young woman in blue jeans. (Caliandris' attention to detail is also staggering: before fashioning a tribute to Dave McKean's cover art for Someone, she led the team that created Numbakulla, a tribute to fantastic adventure games like Myst and Riven. The Second Life game is still in operation, thanks to a dedicated fan base, some of whom actually offered to help subsidize the monthly server costs of the island it's based on.)

I'm very curious if Residents will come to consider autographed copies of the SL edition much more valuable than the unsigned version. For that matter, I'm curious how many Residents will take the time to read the entire novel in Second Life. It's not necessarily the most natural thing to read a full-length novel in an online world, after all. Then again, as I recently pointed out to a freelance newspaper reporter, with e-mail, online magazines, blogs, and so on, many of us already read tens of thousands of words on our computers every day. Given that, maybe it's actually the inevitable next step in the evolution of the Internet as a text medium.

Posted at 12:34 AM | Permalink


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I read the PDF version of Someone Comes To Town three days after hearing that it had been released.

I found it to be profound and compelling and I encourage others to read it too.

Posted by: Neal Stewart at Jul 7, 2005 3:54:42 PM