Books in a Virtual World

Today I decided to make an experiment : selling books in Second Life. Some people already did, but I couldn’t find anything looking successful enough, so I tried to imagine something different. I picked two high traffic malls with relevant themes : one in a rock club, the other in a dark fantasy roleplay area.

Now is the most difficult part of any experience like this one : wait and see 🙂

shop at Sanctuary Rock b


shop at Crossroads


Update 5/8 : I added a thrid shop, at the Gor Hub, a place dedicated to roleplay around John Norman’s work, and which is quite popular. I hope Fantasy fans who play there will also like my stories.


Final update : it was fun, but didn’t bring me any sales… Experiment discontinued.

May 2023 : First Dutch colony on Mars

It was a nice May Day. The ship was in time. The trip had been quite uneventful, except the daily routine of physical exercise,  science experiments, and of course the usual interviews for the Show. After all, the huge media coverage had been the key in the mission’s success, and the reality Show held a few billion viewers spellbound.

The crew was excited, of course. It was the beginning of a new life, four people isolated on a distant world in a hostile environment, with no hope of coming back. But before that, they had to land, and they knew the risks. No matter how prepared they were and how perfected the procedures were, the safe arrival wasn’t guaranteed.

Strangely enough, the viewers seemed interested by a very specific part of the mission. Three men, one woman. And there had already been a love triangle during the past months of training missions. How would they deal with the situation on Mars ? Hannah didn’t seem too worried about it, but Piotr and Jon’s eyes hardened when they looked at each other. The viewers had noticed, of course, and their questions to the crew were mostly about the issue. The affairs between the potential astronauts, during the selection parts, were probably the key for the Show’s early success. Without them, maybe the mission would never have been possible… A cable channel had already planned a special encrypted show, in a month from now. “First Sex on Mars”. If everybody knew who would be the female participant, there were huge amounts of money exchanged by bookmakers about who would be the male. Piotr and Jon were neck and neck in the bets. Han, who hadn’t expressed any interest for Hannah, was still credited of fifty to one.

According to the polling organizations, “First Sex on Mars” would be the biggest paying audience ever recorded in history.

Nevertheless, Mars One would still be a giant leap for mankind…


 The true story of Mars One is here

How future cities might look like

Vertical Urban Scrawl by ~JakeMurray on deviantART

Sometimes it’s easier to imagine social interactions in a future (or parallel) society than describe the architectural settings our characters are living in. Or at least describe them in an architecturally and technically correct way. Fortunately, some people already did the job. When will we see them for real ?

Here is a really great page with plenty of these amazing gigantic cities

You can also visit Future Cities Lab, website of an experimental design and research office.

Also this post on BBC news gives interesting leads

Can’t miss this TED talk either

Your Asteroid Insurance Policy Has Expired

I can’t count the number of stories I’ve read (or seen in movies) about Near Earth Asteroids. Even though I was kind of fond of the Bruce Willis / Liv Tyler performances, all of these stories are moving along the same line : an asteroid is detected, a conspiracy tries to keep it quiet, a big project is on its way to destroy/divert the rocky monster, and they either succeed in the end, or the survivors find a way to do so.

This morning, while checking on all the wonderful news Zite and Feedly bring me, I stopped on an interesting article, about nonprofit private space telescope which would hunt down rogue asteroids. And this little idea came up to my mind. In a near future, private companies will own about everything that’s now public service. Including seek and destroy of asteroids. Of course, if it’s a huge one which represent a planetary danger, the company in charge of the destruction will just bill it to the world governments. But what of small asteroids, which could, let’s say, destroy a small city. Or even just a neighborhood ?

I imagined a scene where the Company Guy knocks at a farmer’s door. “Your Asteroid Insurance Policy has expired… And there is a small ball of nickel and iron heading right down on your house. How would you like to pay ?”

It made me laugh, at first. On a second thought… you never know.


A Dalek Killed Him

I’ve always been fascinated by people who take so much time, effort and creativity to build models and places to look exactly like in movies or books. I used to daydream in front of the picture of a steampunk computer, wonderfully done with brass tubes and these old typewriter keys.

When I saw these pictures of homes transformed into a Star Trek Enterprise ship, or a Dr Who Tardis control room... Made me imagine a few interesting scenes. I’m sure Castle wouldn’t object if we once found a rich eccentric murdered by…A Dalek. How would the nasty robot-like alien do that ? But Daleks are mean, everybody knows that 😉


Fantasy vehicles : reinventing snowmobiles

It might seem easy to imagine a Steampunk Zeppelin. But reality has other vehicles which can be used in fantasy worlds, uchronias and other alternate histories.

When I looked at this story about odd snowmobiles, I felt like if I was in an episode of Grand Star. So if you plan to write something taking place in a world covered with snow, here’s what you need :

Cities, rooms, landscapes, surroundings and other settings…

As writers, we don’t have the time, the money, or both, to travel everywhere we’d like to just to feel an atmosphere or to discribe better a city or a specific place. Sad, but it’s a fact. So when I find some interesting pictures on the web, I try to imagine how the place is, I look for details… And sometimes I even discover some wonderful settings I would never have thought of.

Some examples ?
On this blog, there is a whole serie of pictures of abandoned antarctic outposts, cabins and villages. Ideal for a thriller or some horror story ? Just have a look 🙂

I can’t resist adding pictures of a place I do know : the Caves Saint Sabin, in Paris. It was once the best Gothic club in this part of Europe, and the surroundings are just amazing.

I have to add this, too… 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world …


Scary Skulls’ Stories

Did it ever happen to you to imagine a whole story just by looking at a picture ? Yesterday found out an interesting story about strange human remains. While reading it, I was hypnotized by this picture. It comes from a Chachapoya burial site. Looking for information about the “Cloud Warriors”, I found out that there were a few legends (without any scientific evidence, on the contrary) that they might have been blonde haired and white skinned. And apparently, some of them had a quite scaring death.

Might be a fun story. Who was this guy ? Why did he die in such terror ? Was he the last White Man of the Cloud Forest ? Which legend can we make up around him ? Would be worth a short story. Or maybe a whold novel, who knows ?


(I linked to this photo from here, but the original one seems to be on National Geographic page there)



Save The Species

Let’s say that in a very close future we have the way to give birth to any creature as long as we have its DNA. Instead of just protecting endangered species, ecological fundamentalists would then decide to resurrect all the species extinct because of mankind. At first, it would be easy : species we knew until the past few years and which unfortunately died out. But as they’d go back in the past, they’d realize that there are many more animals who aren’t on this Earth anymore and could be here again. When would they stop ? And what would be the consequences on the balance of our actual ecosystem ? The reintroduction of some type of lizard, or even a rabbit, could change the face of the planet… not necessarily for the best.

Source of the idea here

The Mind Network

What will become of children who started using computers and tablets since they’re toddlers ? Some already wonder. Reading this piece on Wired, I imagined that maybe in a few years we’d have entire networks of kids focused on the virtual worlds, maybe finding new ways to communicate with one another. Their brains would be wired differently, they might even be adapted to interface with machines…  What would be the life of the first kids to have these abilities ? How would they fit in a normal school environment ? And which powers might they get ?