What is this site?
This site is a blovel about Niko Donburi’s return to performing live music in the virtual world known as Second Life. It consists of two types of posts. The first is the actual storyline, which is in a traditional fiction form with narrative and dialogue. Those posts are given a category of “Chapters” and are numbered for ease of sequential reading. The other type of post is cast as an Author’s Comment. They are also categorized. They are not written from the perspective of the characters in the blovel but are comments, observations and thoughts about Second Life, virtual worlds and the blovel itself. Rather than have two separate web locations it was thought to be easier to have them combined as one with various means of separating them for reading.
What is a blovel?
A blovel is a novel written in serial form, with scenes or chapters posted on a regular basis shortly after being written. Chapters are posted on this site each Sunday, sometimes sooner if they get done. With few exceptions, once they are posted they are not edited. Exceptions occur when the plot takes an interesting turn or there is a need to provide an earlier reference to a character that appears later. Spelling and/or grammatical problems may also call for an edit if the correction isn’t obvious or the meaning is not apparent (e.g. simply a misspelled word will remain, a missing “not” likely wouldn’t.) Unlike the usual novel writing process, a blovel is in some ways more flexible but in others far more inflexible. While some blovelists write the entire novel first and then just post it sequentially, that is not what is being done here. It is, instead, being written as it is being posted. Thus, think of it more as a medium draft rather than a final product.
Why did you decide to do a blovel?
As is set forth in the earliest Author’s Comments, I wanted to take a different approach to my return to Second Life. My love of RP (started with D&D in 1980) is barely eclipsed by my love of music making and songwriting. Combine these two with my lifelong desire to write a novel and… you get this. I thought this form of writing would best suit the subject matter, and provide something cool to read in the future.
How is RP (role-playing) a part of this?
What you are reading (in the Chapters, at any rate) is a rewritten version of a roleplay created and performed in the virtual world known as Second Life. During each role play I try to take some photos to accompany the text. The scenes are role played out by the characters and the resulting transcript is then rewritten into a more traditional reading format. The amount of the rewriting depends in large part upon the depth of the role play which took place. In some cases, it was a very light RP at not more than a conversational level between people. On other occasions, however, it is a very in-depth para(graph) RP between the participants. As much as possible the stylistic differences are ironed out to provide a more uniform reading experience (sort of like what a compressor does to a musical recording, lowers the highs and raises the lows.)
Is there a RP script the characters have to follow?
No. Each of the main characters has a goal they want to accomplish and something is preventing them from doing so. They also each have a back story that hopefully provides some depth and motivation. This was determined to be necessary in order to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and make the beginning chapters more interesting. It also provides a plot framework that other events can be hung upon. So, for instance, Niko’s goal is to perform a gig. In striving to reach that goal, some problems are going to come up that will prevent him from doing so. While a couple of problems have been provided by his backstory, it is anticipated (and hoped!) that new and unexpected ones will surface through the interaction of others.
Minor characters in the story most likely won’t have this level of detail, although they will likely have their own backstories and other RP going on elsewhere in Second Life. These characters, primarily played by other residents in SL, may appear just for a single chapter (a cameo) or in more than one. It really depends on the level of involvement they wish to have. I think it would be interesting to see how someone else could incorporate this roleplay into their own, separate story.
Finally, there will probably be a NPC (non-playing character) or two or three that will need to appear in order to advance the plot in some manner or accomplish something. They are routinely used in RPing (i.e. in order to purchase something at the store, there needs to be a cashier.) In the conversion over to this written version, these characters will be included and probably expanded up0n as necessary.
Within the story arc, everything else is pretty much subject to what happens during role play. As for Niko, I do not know whether or not he will actually get a chance to do the show. You’ll have to read along to find out!!
How are the participants selected?
Anyone who is interested in RPing (or wishes to learn) is more than welcome to participate. Just IM me in-world or leave a comment to this page and I’ll get in touch with you. You are pretty much free to RP whatever you wish, as long as it is consistent with the flow of the narrative that has already been established or, through some minimal rewriting, can be made to fit. So, for example, if you really want to RP a space alien, we are going to have to figure out how Niko, at least, gets up there or you get down here. Perhaps your character could be an alien that kidnaps him [Editor: No, no anal probes without prior authorization!]. That would be a plot development that was unforeseen but would certainly take things in an interesting direction.
A more minor level of RP involves stopping by the Cafe and RPing being in the area on vacation and seeing the sign. Come in, strike up a conversation, shoot some pool, hang glide, whatever. You might find yourself taken along somewhere to do something unexpected depending upon what’s occurred prior to your showing up!
Can alts be used instead of a main account?
Yes. Alts (alternate accounts rather than one’s main Second Life account) can be used. Or names can be changed, if you wish to use your main account but not out yourself as a RPer. You can also play more than one character at the same time if you wish, which definitely helps to populate the RP.
Who owns the final product?
Since there is arguably an intellectual property (copyright) interest created when someone RP’s, all those whose RP appears in this blovel have agreed to its being used for this purpose. Similarly, in order to create the written chapters it is necessary for me to capture local and IM transcripts so I can have something to look back upon of the RP in progress. So as to avoid any issues of violations of the terms of service, all RPers involved agree to this as well. Under the ToS all residents have agreed to in order to use Second Life, snapshots may be taken and published of any avatars so there is no problem in that regard. But if you would prefer not to have your avatar pictured in something, let me know!
What is the premise of the RP?
The basic premise of the RP is what if our Second Life avatars were self-aware and believed that they were in the real world? That’s pretty much it. Starting with that premise, the following would be true:
- Residents cannot get sick, old, injured or die. At their initial entry into self-awareness (known as the “Day of Rez”) they are at a basic level of functionality and so will need education with basics (aka NEWB).
- They cannot smell or taste. They live in a primarily visual and audible world. They do have a sense of touch, but it is limited to various degrees of pressure, much like haptic feedback.
- Residents are either rezzed or derezzed. When rezzed, residents are subject to interaction with the world. When derezzed, residents disappear into a state they refer to as being in Akasha. Sometimes residents in Akasha can be communicated with, other times they cannot. When a resident returns from Akasha, they often possess unusual knowledge and stories about being a fleshy. Residents love to talk about what it was like to be a fleshy. Discussion and interpretation of residents’ memories of Akasha is a favorite pastime amongst residents, with some residents sharing more than others. It is taboo, however, to inquire of a resident’s experiences in Akasha. The resident has to offer it first. Also, sometimes residents derez and never return from Akasha.
- Residents have the ability to build objects from nothing and possess psychokinetic abilities over items they have created, are in their personal possession or are allowed to control by others. They also carry with them everything they own other than those things they have rezzed out.
- Residents have the ability to engage in out-of body-vision via clairvoyant aether movement (CAM), which allows them to see outside of their body. Such activity is considered bad manners or worse in some subcultures, however.
- In-mind (IM) communication can take place between residents by using a calling card. If both parties are willing, the card can also provide instant travel (teleportation) to one another’s location. Calling cards can also be created for places. If you do not have a calling card for a person or a place, they can usually be obtained by searching the community card catalog where many residents have had theirs placed on file.
- The Public Receptacle Of Friends’ Information List Exchange (PROFILE) is similar to Google, in that it provides residents with information about each other. As with CAM, it is generally considered bad manners for a resident to share the fact that he or she has profiled someone and such things are rarely discussed.
- All residents can fly. Some can swim.
- Because some residents are frequent shapeshifters, they are not always identifiable by their physical appearance. For this reason it is common to inquire of a resident’s identity when meeting them.
- The world the residents live in is created and controlled by a group of gods and demigods, the Lindens. These beings possess supernatural powers beyond that of ordinary residents. They have the ability to change the very fabric of a resident’s time and space. They are similar to the Greek gods and goddesses of humanity. Residents enjoy learning of the drama that occurs atop Mount Linden.