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A wonderfully creative person in Second Life by the name of Janeel Kharg has actually built a virtual version of Ankh-Morpork, with all kinds of interesting details, hidden ways, goodies and giveaways. Be sure to pick up a free map when you arrive so you can find your way around. To get there, use this SLURL. There are also some excellent Discworld Avatars available at the sim, which you can look at here.

If this was an Anime I would be so there; the style in this preview slips back and forth between dimensions, and it looks like there are murders to solve (or at least avoid becoming another victim). But this is the game Catherine, being released soon for the PS3 and XBox360. Either way, it looks like a fun world to hang out in.

If you hang out in Second Life, there are several Doctor Who events you should be aware of. Coming up this Sunday, at 1PM SL time, the Sci-fi & Fantasy Portal on Info Island will have a Doctor Who Discussion. The link to get there can be found here. The folks at Gallifreyan Embassy and Podshock also have meet-ups inworld periodically; do a search for Podshock, and again for Doctor Who. They had a really nice Tardis HUD that is fun to teleport with.

Avatar finally comes out this weekend! The trailers have been amazing, the interactive app has been fun, and the hype has been overwhelming. I have pretty much been waiting all year for this film, and I am glad it is finally time to watch it.

Also showing on the big screen this week is RiffTrax: Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza, with special guest Wierd Al Yankovic. The program is live on the 16th, with an encore replay on the 17th; feed your zip code into each date to find the closest theaters to you.

Appearing live in Virtual Reality this week is Cory Doctorow on Copper Robot, doing a real time interview in the Second Life Seaside Theater, over at World2Worlds Island. That happens on Wednesday, the 16th, 8PM SL time (11PM EST, since 2nd Life time is California time). If you already have the free 2nd Life software installed, this is the SLURL that will launch it and take you straight to the event. If you are trapped behind an office firewall and can’t get into the metaverse, you can watch it in real time at Copper Robot, or grab the podcast after the event to listen to at your leisure.

Next week brings both The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Sherlock Holmes to the big screen. I’m going to have to see each of them, and maybe swoop back for a second pass at Avatar.

There are some days when your native language just won’t express what you have to say in satisfactory manor. For those occasions, you can just Tweet in Klingon, and have the same sounds you get when you hear a Sysop yell at his/her server farm in Spoken *Nix (Ch’Mod! Mk’Dir!) echoing through your posted environment.

You might rather play a Toy Building Game over at the History Channel web site, or for a different kind of silliness, enjoy the Dresden Dolls doing this White Stripes cover (complete with the trangender costuming as a visual aid for those in the audience slow to pick up on the parody). Whatever you choose, I hope you have fun this holiday!

( translation, * = LInix, Unix)

We have two top domestic live action choices this week! The first is Terminator Salvation, and Warner Bros. is holding a online event on December 5th with the director. If you are interested in the history of this kind of event, read all the way to the bottom of this posting to see my latest rant on the topic.

The other big film is Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which I just missed seeing at the Smithsonian IMAX theater premier event (tickets were WAY tight). It is also being released as a two movie package if you didn’t get the first one already, Night at the Museum/Battle of the Smithsonian.

If there was a live-action speculative fiction TV show released this week, I managed to miss it. Someone will no doubt point it out to me about 15 minutes after I post this.

It is a DVD, and Fantasy, but it is a DVD Game, not a movie: Harry Potter DVD Game: Wizarding World also comes out on Tuesday.

There are several interesting Anime releases this week. For the classics, there is My-Otome Complete Collection: Anime Legends edition. The Anime Legends series are extremely popular programs re-released with an economical pricing structure. Out as a compilation for the first time this week is Chevalier D’Eon – The Complete Series, a beautifully crafted alternate history sequence, but definitely not a lighthearted story.

Hunter X Hunter Box Set, Volume 4 continues the push for Gon and his friends to track down power in the form of treasure, magical beasts, and so forth. The Gunslinger Girl OVA gives some more background on a few of the formerly human characters, and trust me when I say these are children you would NOT want to meet in a dark alley.

‘Rental Magica’ DVD Collection 1 is an assortment of strange magic users out to battle evil, and come from a variety of magical traditions. Most sites claim this was actually released last week, but since I missed the Anime section last week I though I should mention it now.

About the Warner Bros. Special Events. This is something they have started recently (there is another one coming up for the new Harry Potter DVD release), and seems to involve group watching of the DVD together with an internet connection to the meeting software that allows you to type in questions, which the director (or actors or anyone else they involve from the movie production team) can answer verbally.

If you have been in moderated celebrity events in Second Life this decade, Virtual Places Chat in the ’90s, or live Usenet (meaning IRC or Internet Relay Chat) in the 80’s, you have already experienced this. And yes, I know the Usenet example I cited was from the 90’s, it was just the one I had handy courtesy of a recent post on a different topic. I actually have transcripts from moderated IRC sessions with SciFi authors I asked questions of going back as far as 1984 from QNet (the Commodore version of AOL and Compuserve in those days), but I didn’t have a link to any of them to point to. Perhaps this reference work will help, should you need it.

The bandwidth, and therefore the resolution, has just gotten better each decade; text only in ’84 at 300 baud, downstream-only audio in the mid ’90s at 56K, entire 3D virtual worlds with 2-way audio chat and streaming video by the mid 2000’s with 2-way asynchronous broadband. From the description of what they are going to do and how they will be doing it, this application of the event environment appears to be something we had the technology to do by 1998 or so, except for the Hi-Def video. But since the Video is going to be played locally from a DVD player and not streamed over the Net, it does not in any way change the bandwidth requirements.