What will happen to your avatar when you die?

What happens to your avatar when you die?If you were to die – oh no, of course you won’t! – but if in some freakish turn of fate, you did – what would happen to your avatar? And all your virtual worldly assets? And who would inform your avatarian friends, and the very real human beings behind them? Death happens inside a single moment in physical life. Avatars, on the other hand, tend to linger. And grief – on both sides of that great Reality Divide between the virtual and the physical – it lingers, too. Continue Reading “What will happen to your avatar when you die?”

What is it that we love, when we love an avatar?

Second Love

by Bay Sweetwater

What is it that we love, when we love an avatar?
Why is one star brighter than any other star?
What sets our heart aflutter when that one comes online,
And keeps us by the keyboard, waiting for a sign? 

It’s not the skin or anims, or all the fancy clothes.
These are bought in stores, as everybody knows.
It’s not the mystery scrivener who sits behind the screen.
Him (or her?) we barely know; we’ve often never seen.

I think it is the wordless soul, who beguiles as it dances,
Embodied in an avatar, whose mesmerizing glances,
Engulfs us in fond dreams this morning yet undreamed of,
Launching our small heart upon the boundless sea of love.

They say that eyes are windows that open on the soul,
That by gazing in the eyes, the inner lands behold;
Likewise, I think an avatar can be a sort of peephole,
Through which the heart can look, to spy upon the soul.

Why don’t we get to know each other before it’s too late?

It’s late at night, and I’m deep down. Two questions are bothering me. I don’t know their answers. And in my case, they’re related.

(1) Why is it when a difficult situation  arises in First Life, people leave Second Life? We’re talking a biggie here, like a health crisis, death of a loved one, dissolution of a longterm relationship, loss of a job.

(2) Why is it when we only know someone in the virtual form, we so rarely scratch the surface to really get to know that person–what gets them up in the morning, how they spend their time, and oh so very especially: what troubles them and bothers their sleep? I’m not talking about barging into the avie’s First Life–just really getting to know them as they are.

I’m so tired. But I had to get the questions out. If you ask them, answers come. Maybe even from you. Does anyone know?

History Lesson (a short story)

Every Tuesday night, storytellers and poets gather in the Bardic Circle in Elven Glen of Second Life to exchange their own work and that of others that they like. Each week we have a voluntary “challenge” to include five words chosen at the last session in a new story or poem. I wrote the following story for last week’s meeting, incorporating the five words: WIND; ECLIPSE; STAR; COLD; LOST (P.S. Anyone is welcome to attend the Bardic Circle; you can come directly at 7 p.m. slt any Tuesday night by clicking here.)

a short story by Bay Sweetwater

One cold afternoon on the faraway star of Kith, 6-year-old Eep did what angry children often do: he packed a little bundle of his things — the milky sandwich drink, a small blanket, and a tube of superglue for unpredictable mishaps — then crept down the ramp to the loading chute, keeping his loud magnetic rollers off til the very last moment.

He had chosen the moment of the eclipse to run away, when all was dark and his parents would not see him. The wind stilled, the perfect moment for liftoff. He strapped himself in, took a deep breath, and hit the hyperdrive button.

The ship hurtled past galaxies, years compressed upon years, and Eep left his childhood behind him quickly. As he grew in years within a moment, he began to comprehend what he had done. Too late, he understood why his parents had always forbade him to touch the hypercar: without knowing how to configure powering algorithms, the time jumps, and especially the orientation drive, he was lost in spacetime immediately with no power to return.

Finally by chance, Eep thudded to the ground. Pulling on his rolling treads, he navigated carefully across what looked like a grid of sorts, molded into meadows and hills, paths and streets, even oceans and large islands. Around him he saw for the first time the creatures he had studied in his schoolbooks on ancient lore:  a fairy sitting on a mushroom, a dancing bunny, and a muscled humanoid talking to several other more curvy humanoids. Around his field of vision he saw what appeared to be a log-in screen. This at least was familiar.

He punched the log-in button and suddenly found himself staring at his real self out in space, still inside the hypercar hurtling through spacetime. Thunderstruck, Eep understood what had happened: he had fallen into a virtual world in a hyperjump, but because he had not configured the orientation drivw, his roles were reversed: the avatar he had become was now his real self, and what had been his real self was now an avatar, speeding out of control through unknown galaxies!

Quickly, Eep built a computer with a navigable media prim for a screen (this was child’s play on Kith) and got his avatarian self under control. But what next? Questions thundered through his brain: Would he be an avatar for the rest of his life? Would his real self always be under his avatar’s control? Would he always have to log in to live his real life? The whole thing made his brain hurt.

Finally he came up with a plan: he built a website on the media prim and uploaded a machinima video of his situation. He IM’d his parents and explained as best he could, and told them to watch the video. He asked them to create avatars for themselves and come visit him in Second Life. That way, he figured, they could at least all get together and have some sort of blended avatarian-“real” life.

Well, as you all know, that was the famous first instance of a blended “real”-avatar family. Of course, that was many years ago, and genetics has now blended avatarian and so-called “real” features quite seamlessly. We no longer distinguish between “avatar” and “real” any more than we distinguish between a man and a woman. And the boundary between online and offline is a quaint historical artifact that you can still see in some museums.

That’s all for today, students. There will be a quiz tomorrow.