show #282: patricia murphy on ireland in rl & our imagination

patricia murphy writes about the history of ireland [her books are published in the “hands on history” series by poolbeg] and she does not shy away from “exposing” her young readers to the violent past of their country. the long and ongoing struggle for irish independence is told through diaries of teenagers who are in…

show #281: jules rivera ruins graphic novels [not!]

we learned a lot about jules rivera this last book club [and we also learned what a neckbeard is btw!] …. … however the most important information shared was that she does not want to be called an artist because at parties that opens a can of worms. her preferred label is sequential illustrator is…

show #280: the charmed life of … molly flatt …

molly flatt is in the house, author, journalist, editor at the bookseller, she brought an umbrella, a spectacularly ambitious, genre-defying and quite magical debut novel and a lot of opinions on publishing, creativity and everything else. even a short crash of second life did not stop the conversation so prepare for plenty food for thought…

show #279: wow to live safely in … charles yu’s head?

i discovered a new writer and he is not that new but i am very slow and my to-read stack still contains tons of mandatory german classics my late mother has forced on me, way back during my teen years … [wish i had a time machine to mark those as read] ok the last…

show #278: attack surface: a reckoning …

author and activist cory doctorow is back with a grand new book and he is also back in second life! as some audience members during the book club stream observed: his account aka rez day is from 2005 …. … however he got a make over, courtesy of book club staff. but that is not…

show #277: a centaur & a mermaid walk into a book club …

a wonderful show [and i know i say this every week!] with two non-humanoid creatures at the second life book club: katharine duckett as centaur and chana porter as mermaid. both women are [debut novelists and] great writers. they are also involved with the octavia project which utilizes the imaginative forces of science fiction to…

show #276: joe haldeman is back ! ! !

it is living legend, grandmaster of scifi, prolific – yet retired – teacher, painter, writer joe haldeman and he is back in virtual world reality [you recall he was in sansar before don’t you?] & we dive deep into all aspects of his creative life! enjoy the conversation: more to read and look at below…

show #275: margi preus talks village of scoundrels

margi preus is guest on the show today. the taping with her from wednesday’s second life book club covers many aspects of her work for young adults but specifically the current novel “village of scoundrels” set in nazi-occupied europe and could not be more timely! enjoy: and now for more context: the original live stream…

show #274: will wiles & the search for authenticity

will wiles is in the house. his books, starting with his debut “care of wooden floors” in 2012, deal with – among many other themes – our longing for authenticity in a world of increasing homogenous conformity. will’s stories reveal the the horror of everyday tasks like caring for someone else’s cats or trying to…

show #273: talking clifi with cat sparks & james bradley

two australian authors on the show today: cat sparks and james bradley, both dealing in their fiction with the climate crises [yes, the one that should have us most definitely a bit more concerned than most mainstream media reporting suggests, especially in regards to humans accelerating it and the impact it has on our as…

show #272: settling the stars with fred nadis

fred nadis is a journalist and author who set out to settle the score [in book form] on how the stars were envisioned to be settled back in the late 19th century and contextualize for us the efforts of future space colonization so we can all finally settle down. now: do i get props for…

show #271: larry niven in [glorious] conversation

what a day: guest on the book club was larry niven, inventor of “ringworld” and as of quite recently a similar world based on a dyson sphere: “glorious”, co-written with gregory benford came out in june this year and concludes the “bowl of heaven” trilogy. are you in for a motie avatar who rejects “soft”…

show #270: deepfake with sarah darer littman

manipulated facial images – moving images most of them – synced to realistic audio and shared widely everywhere on social media: promise or peril? well if it is van gogh style art generated by a machine or elon musk looking like nicholas cage … … or arnold turning stallone in “terminator” … … it may…

show #269: ken liu is back and we go deep

ken liu is back in the house but this time we dive much deeper into his work since he did not have to share the stage with any one else [other than a sculpture made by silas merlin]. enjoy a deep dive into the stories of “the hidden girl”, discussions around serious writer’s block and…

show 268: daniel kraus and the living dead

daniel kraus has dedicated his life to enjoying and studying the work of george a. romero from a very early age and shortly after romero passed away in 2017 kraus got the gig of a lifetime: romero’s widow suzanne asked him to finish the draft of a novel about the living dead. a brand-new story,…

show 267: fantasy literature = books vs tv?

the provocative dualistic title of today’s show is chosen to maximize roi [return on investment] on internet searches of course. but fear not: within the one hour + discussion there is much more wisdom from fran wilde, rj barker and tad williams on the role and impact, the craft and joy of reading and writing…

show 266: cosmic horror with premee mohamed

writer premee mohamed is our guest today. her novel “beneath the rising” follows two young protagonists who travel from canada to tunisia and iraq in search of magic to combat unspeakable horrors from another dimension that try to crawl back into power to dominate our planet and no: this book is not a transcript of…

show #265: mcauley & brown on dystopia [aka the present]

yes indeed: a meeting of great minds met at the sl book club last wednesday: prolific author of many books and stories paul mcauley and [relative!!!] newcomer christopher brown shared the stage and we talked about clifi, clint & coping with present day reality [see what i did there?] enjoy a conversation and a reading…

show #264: australia reads

a wonderful panel of australian writers mingled with readers at the second life book club last wednesday or possibly thursday [depending on where you are in the physical realm]. enjoy a stimulating and wide-ranging conversation about the local scene in oz, ya narratives incorporating neurodiversity, cli-fi, dystopia and philosophy in the garden, within martial arts…

show #263: peter watts is fully conscious !

sci-fi author peter watts aka squidnapper in sl was guest on the book club and we went full on intellectual on the show [finally!]: what is life, what is consciousness. what is a chinese room? the quality of the discourse on today’s show is evidenced by flying saucers and ray guns as documented by audience…

show #262: matt ruff naming names

matt ruff was guest on the sl book club before and since he is also a veteran of the short-lived #draxtorreads series in sansar [is that thing still around?], i had to come up with yet another show title … sigh … how do these writers do it? maybe they come up with alt titles? despite…

show #261: writers of color

the most global book club yet from sl17b: guests with diverse ethnic origin from syria, the uk, north america and india, discussing what the term “writers of color” means for their specific experience as a writer. enjoy: more to devour below: the original live-stream the horror noire documentary drax mentioned: samit basu [“chosen spirits”] and…

show #260: a conversation with ll mckinney

writer and activist ll mckinney is guest for the hour on this sl book club and you can imagine that we go from talking plot to politics in no time. fantastic discussion! enjoy: and now for more context please do read on: the original live stream [a bit hot on the audio = we apologize…

show #259: writing books for young folks

a show about books for young folks from pre-school to ya and ll mckinney drops in at the end to talk pay gap for writers of color. how can drax squeeze all this into the hour? well he can’t … but he tried and this hour is full full full of inspiration! enjoy: and more…

show #258: influx press does literary love

  another fabulous book club, this time focusing on independent publishing of the literary fiction variety [which, according to wikipedia is of higher value than commercial genre fiction…] = influx press is in the house! shiromi pinto, annabel banks, gary budden and kit caless are guests, writers all of them and the two men [+…

show #257: avatars inc.

famed award-winning editor ann vandermeerand x-prize show-runner eric desatnik were guests at the book club last wednesday, together with the biggest in-world crowd of [befittingly!!] colorful avatars we ever had. also joining us were a handful of high-profile speculative fiction authors from the “avatars inc.” anthology and the fab folks from wunderkind pr. did madness…

show #256: a conversation with kelly robson

kelly robson is a canadian writer of speculative fiction [and some gothic lesbian horror of course] and she even owns a vr headset which we did not need for this wide-ranging discussion at the second life book club.  her latest “gods, monsters and the lucky peach” is a post-ecological disaster time-travel novella that – according…

show #255: mental illness in literature

the mental health un-conference over at virtual ability is in full swing until may 31st and drax was the guest of gentle heron, an equally if not an even more voracious reader than the host of this podcast. enjoy a discussion about mental illness in literature [reading list here]and how this relates to the so-called…

show #254: reading fiction = empathy machine?

another audio version of our wonderful live discussions from the second life book club, the topic being “is reading fiction the ultimate empathy machine?” tackling this question were anne charnock, antoine wilson, yvonne battle-felton and laura lam: four authors from very different corners of the writing world [and please do buy their books folks! that…

show #253: a conversation with s.l. huang

today we continue the audio re-broadcast of our live “second life book club” shows with special guest s.l. huang. she is the creator of the cas russell sci-fi thriller series of books [and no second life was not named after her!], where nefarious telepathic secret societies influence our minds and los angeles blows up constantly….

show 252: our digital selves [non-isolated]

it has been exactly two years since i finished editing “our digital selves” in a frenzied self-isolated state [is there any other?] of [nonstop] editing. the film was released on may 18th on youtube and resonated deeply even with staunch second life critics among my circle of friends and colleagues. the film “hit” the festival…

show #251: a ticket to hell with mr. moon & associates

a film has appeared on youtube called “ticket to hell”. and it is fabulous.   it captures the spirit of second life – the fun, the “danger”, the madness, the [not always authentic] anti-conformist attitude of its residents which is often entangled with middle-schoolish clique behavior, mirroring real world peer pressure in regards to appearance…

show #250: the second life book club is here [to stay!]

it has taken off: the second life book club – a dream come true for the booknerd that i am – has premiered with smash success, standing room only 1 hour before the show, thousands of people watching on various live-streams. fantastic authors who enjoy their digital embodiment …. how is that for a world…

show #249: museweb 2020 >>> from rl to sl [and back?]

participants of the museweb conference have been meeting since 1997 in north america and asia, discussing  research and applications of digital practice to advance cultural, natural and scientific heritage as displayed in museums around the world. and drax was scheduled to present in los angeles this past saturday at the closing plenary. in a rather…

show #248: confessions of … rai fargis [rerun]

this show [minus the brandnew editorial in/out] first aired in june 2017 when i visited vienna austria. great conversation with a longtime second lifer & activist in various areas. great broadcaster too! rai fargis is a cool dude! topics? trolling vs mischief, virtual embodiment, choice over it = really nutritious food for thought indeed! enjoy,…

show 247: lurking … [are we all just users?]

joanne mcneil is a gifted writer and journalist with a long personal history in social media. her book “lurking” illuminates the “good ol’ days” of bbs and usenet, fairly obscure regional and niche-specific networks like echo and to friendster, myspace and into the current domination of facebook and twitter. and the book examines what engaging…

show 246: ken liu & the hidden girl

ken liu is a writer of wonderful short and epic fiction, a translator of fine chinese sci-fi, a trained lawyer, a programmer and he also owns a vr headset. since he met all the pre-requisites for being on the show – ok let’s be honest, he actually exceeded them –  drax read his new collection…

show 245: matt ruff enters virtual reality

matt ruff has written a book about mmos and virtual worlds and it is awesome: “88 names” is going right next to “snow crash” and “ready player one” [among others in the vr genre] in the drax shelf. enter a wide-ranging conversation about matt’s body of work which includes wacky ideas such as ayn rand…

show #244: decentraland is open for biz [rerun]

decentraland – a decentralized virtual world where you can buy real estate for real dollars, where the value of your property is “guaranteed” because of (artificial) scarcity – has hit the the public phase of operation. in honor of yet another offering in the vw category trying its luck to take over … [the world?]…

show #243: anne charnock tackles clifi = bridge 108

today on the show author speculative fiction author anne charnock. drax devoured her entire oeuvre & the conversation will include all of it: tales of cognitive enhancement, stories that connect female artists from the 15th century to the 21st [or was it the 22nd?] & explorations into “artificial” child birth. her new book “bridge 108”…

show #242: anrick makes realities

guest today is anrick, a director of immersive ar and vr content, founder of studio anrk & while drax is marveling over anrick’s body of work this show addresses the “elephant” in the room right at the start: layoffs at linden lab and reshuffling of talent in-house away from sansar. why is social vr [like…

show #241: joe haldeman is here

sci-fi master joe haldeman was in sansar in his avatar embodiment, based on a sketch drawn by himself [not only does he write and draw – joe also plays the bass-clarinet and the tenor sax in a variety of scenarios including dixieland!!] a fabulous conversation about war, hemingway, time travel and heinlein. oh yes and…

show #240: troll talk 2020 [rerun]

today is a rerun of a fascinating conversation i had with a [professional?] troll out of second life. she is seemingly young [judging from her voice] and she spends her weekends harassing folks like myself [and i could be her dad’s age] in virtual worlds like sl, hifi, sansar, you name it.   what drives…

show #239: ruth kemp + jessica west on translation

  we are talking translation today – from video games to literary fiction – with ruth ahmedzai kemp and jessica west. wonderful show with live audience for the first time: lightsabers and snowballs were thrown all the while bristol vr lab controlled the tech aspect tightly. consequently we had great content delivered with a bit…

show #238: radicalized by cory doctorow

happy 2020 dear listeners. we are back with the first show of the new year in a “radicalized” fashion = activist and writer [co-editor of boingboing] cory doctorow is our guest today and we are discussing his latest book of the same name: “radicalized” tells of predictive policing, proprietary bread, a superhero facing anti-immigrant sentiment…

show #237: a look back at the sansar beginning …

last show of the season, we are taking off into real life documentary filming land & holidays and and and we leave you, dear listener with a  replay of show 81: a talk with second lifers and outside slers about … yes: sansar = hopes, dreams, fears… fascinating what we anticipated back in august 2015…

show #236: infinite detail

tim maughan is a british-born author, journalist & artist, now based in canada,  and he penned a powerful debut novel with “infinite detail”. drax is obsessed with the ar/vr component of it and the deep questions about surveillance capitalism, classism, urban gentrification & art/music as savior of humanity are just icing[s] on the cake. want…

show #235: drax files book club = community pivot

as linden lab has announced recently – using a favorite word in silicon valley “slang” – they would “pivot” with sansar to focus on events rather than questing and other things. and frankly drax as a self-proclaimed hardcore non-gamer is ecstatic because standing around and talking is his core brand proposition… ok enough talking about…

show #234: disability and virtual worlds

the 8th annual international disability rights affirmation conference happened this past weekend. and where you ask? yes: second life of course. the most amazing list of presenters and panelists gathered right here in sl. and although big “competition” is afoot in the social vr space, when it comes to actual inclusion and accessibility AND rich…

show #233: debating rushkoff with ryan schultz

through a tweet by second life co-founder philip rosedale mr. drax was alerted to an article on medium by media theorist douglas rushkoff entitled ” most vr is total bullshit”. with a headline like this we here at the radio hour had to cover the “issue” and well-known virtual world blogger ryan schultz was certainly…