Science-Fiction-Seminar in Second Life

Diese Meldung dürfte vor allem für meine deutschsprachigen Kollegen und Second-Life-Mitstreiter interessant sein, deshalb poste ich sie ausnahmsweise auf Deutsch. Ab dem 23.2. werde ich, wie seit längeren geplant, in meinem Zweitprojekt The Turing Galaxy in Second Life ein Seminar für Science-Fiction-Storyautoren veranstalten. An zwölf Abenden zu je zwei Übungsstunden möchte ich vor allem jungen, aufstrebenden Autoren eine Einführung in Konzeption und Schreiben moderner SF-Stories geben, mit dem Ziel, ihre Chancen zur Veröffentlichung in einschlägigen Anthologien oder Magazinen wie Exodus und Nova zu verbessern. Weil es dabei auch allgemein um Schreibtechniken und Sprachgebrauch gehen wird, könnte das Seminar auch für Nicht-SF-Autoren interessant sein.

Das Seminar wird im Zweiwochenabstand jeweils am Montagabend ab 20:00 Uhr im Seminarraum im Ground Office der Turing Galaxy stattfinden. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos, Spenden zur Unterstützung meiner SL-Projekte werden aber gern angenommen. Die SLURL ist

Zur Durchführung des Seminars sind mindestens sechs Teilnehmer erforderlich. Die Anzahl der Teilnehmer ist, um eine persönliche Betreuung zu gewährleisten, auf 15 begrenzt. Wer teilnehmen möchte, sende mir bitte eine Anmeldung per Email an . Bitte eine Kurzvita und einen noch unabgeschlossenen bzw. in Arbeit befindlichen Text mitsenden.

Hier eine Übersicht der voraussichtlichen Seminarthemen:

Montag 23.2.: Vorstellung, allgemeine Einführung 

Montag 9.3.: Einführung in die Problemfelder des Schreibens

Montag 23.3.: Lektüre klassischer Kurzgeschichten 

Montag 6.4.: Lektüre klassischer SF-Stories 

Montag 20.4.: Grundlagen der Sprachbeherrschung 

Montag 4.5.: Das Prinzip “Show, don’t tell” und seine Reichweite 

Montag 18.5.: Dialogschreiben und Innerlichkeit 

Montag 1.6.: Erzählperspektive und Form 

Montag 15.6.: Typen der Kurzgeschichte 

Montag 29.6.: Typen der SF-Kurzgeschichte 

Montag 6.7.: Entwicklung von SF-Konzepten 

Montag 20.7.: Quellen und Hilfsmittel für Autoren 

Tears in Rain – A Reaffirmation

Especially in times of economic and personal struggle, when you’re tempted to doubt some of the crucial decisions of your life, it may do some good to remind yourself why your passions are what they are. One of the best ways to reaffirm my conviction to be a science fiction writer and continue to be one is to watch one of the most memorable scenes of science fiction fiction cinema (which is well on its way to become the most iconic moment of recent cinematic history), Roy Batty’s famous Tears in Rain monologue at the end of Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner of 1982.

What is it that makes this short scene so touching that it moves fans to tears, even when watching it for the hundredth time? I think we have here, condensed and focused within the context of a masterpiece, all that is (or can be) great about science fiction: the sense of wonder in the detailed, atmospheric depiction of another world that, with all its visual attraction, is prophetically rooted in a reality we see unfolding; the political and dystopic aspects of a future when, once again and in new disguise, sentient beings are exploited as slaves; the metaphysical discourse of what is it that defines a human being and whether our creations may one day become more human than ourselves; and finally the realization that science fiction, especially sf cinema, can be in its best moments a stunning blend of multiple art forms, literature, music, visuals, in this case even great acting (it has been told that the film crew, at the end of an exhausting filming, spontaneously applauded Rutger Hauer’s performance after filming this scence; it was Hauer himself who had changed the screenplay’s original lines to the monologue we hear in the movie).

The hope to reach such a peak of expression in your own writing, in your own humble way, and be it just once or a few times, makes all the trouble of being a science fiction writer worthwhile, at least to my mind.

Shutting down the year: Thanks to you all!

My last task of the year is to send a special greeting and a big thank you to all the people who supported my work over the year and/or proved to be reliable companions in our common projects:

Thanks to my Nova co-editor Olaf G. Hilscher, to our editorial assistant Sven Kloepping and translator Tommi Brem, to all our authors and artists – too numerous to name them all here – and to our new publisher Jürgen Eglseer who made the survival of our magazine in its twelfth year possible. Thanks to my Second Life companions, especially Thorsten Kueper aka Kuperpunk Korhonen, Johanna Düffel, Moewe Winkler and Asmita Duranjaya. Thanks to my publishers Uschi Zietsch of Fabylon and Harald Giersche of Begedia for their enthusiasm and patience. Thanks to all my fellow writers, especially Horst Pukallus and Oliver Kemmler. Thanks to my friends Katharina and Bunga, Tomas Juriga, Albert Hoch, Sigrun Schmidt, Gisela Diederichs, Ela & Andreas Brenger. Thanks, last not least, to my cousin Martina for her day-to-day help and support.

A last greeting is reserved for my daughter Juliana: wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you’re happy and that we’ll meet again one day.

Afterthought: An exhaustive Second Life weekend

Toward the end of the year I usually invite friends and fellow writers to my home for a pre-Christmas celebration. This time I tried something new and extended our gathering last Saturday into a hybrid world party. While tending to my guests in real life, I also moderated the official opening of my two new projects, the World Culture Hub and The Turing Galaxy, in the 3d Internet world of Second Life. I hope it has been an interesting experience for both sides. While the guests gathered around my computer screen could follow the guided tour, the exhibitions and the readings by Nova authors Marcus Hammerschmitt and Guido Seifert, the visitors inworld may not just have heard my comments but some wicked remarks in the background.

Burkhard Tom-Bubb, the fastest Second Life blogger known to mankind, has again been the first to put a report on the event with an extensive picture gallery online. Another report with a lot of pictures can be found at Hydorgol’s website.

The Second Life weekend wasn’t yet over for me with that. On Sunday night I took part in a scenic reading of Thorsten Küper’s story “Der Hummer vor den Toren”, recently published in the anthology Tiefraumphasen (Begedia). Set designer Barlok Barbosa created several settings of the story exclusively for the reading. Four of Thorsten’s aka Kueperpunk Korhonen’s fellow writers took speaking parts of some of the story’s characters. It was an interesting and, as I hope, trend-setting experiment that worked remarkably well (even I didn’t manage to miss my entry). I guess we all agree that especially Bernhard Giersche’s performance as the dying corporate big shot Cronstetten was worth listening.

Opening of The World Culture Hub and The Turing Galaxy

I have just set up a new static page about my two new projects in Second Life, the World Culture Hub and The Turing Galaxy (see main menu on the right). Both projects will be officially opened on Saturday, December 13th. The following events are planed:

10:00 SLT / 19:00 CET
Introduction & a guided tour of the World Culture Hub
Entry Hall, World Culture Hub

10:30 SLT / 19:30 CET
Harter Fall – Images and objects
Marcus Hammerschmitt – Photographies
Christian Günther – Science fiction illustration
Sky Center, The Turing Galaxy

11:30 SLT / 20:30 CET
Marcus Hammerschmitt – Guido Seifert
Science fiction reaging (German)
Seminar room, The Turing Galaxy

2:00 SLT / 23:00 CET
Michael K. Iwoleit: Electronic ambient music, live
Main stage, World Culture Hub

3:00 SLT / 0:00 CET
Aftershow party
Club, World Culture Hub


A new home for Nova

It’s no secret that my co-editor Olaf G. Hilscher‘s and my attempt to establish Nova – one of the leading German science fiction magazines, now in its 11th year – on a wider market via a professional magazine distributor have failed due to a lack of sales (and maybe due to failures of our distributor that I will not discuss here). The attempt resulted in major financial losses and we discussed a number of ways to get the magazine going again. Olaf quickly managed to make a deal with Jürgen Eglseer and his Amrun Verlag. After he already stepped in to allow for the publication of Nova 22,  Jürgen’s small publishing house will now provide a permanent new home for Nova. Jürgen will care for production and distribution while Olaf and me are free to concentrate fully on the editorial work. The only drawback of this arrangement is that, for the time being, we can only publish one issue a year. We hope we can switch back to two annual issues when enough copies are sold.

We strive to publish the next Nova issue early to mid February. Nova 23 will be a theme issue about the future of music, introduced by Franz Rottensteiner and including new stories by Marcus Hammerschmit, Gabriele Behrend, Marc Späni, Karsten Kruschel, Norbert Stöbe, Michael Marrak and Thomas Sieber, a guest story by Stephen Katowych (USA) and an essay about science fiction and music by music ethnologist Martina Claus-Bachmann, furthermore a classic reprint by Thomas Ziegler aka Rainer Zubeil (one of the greatest talents of German science fiction who died tragically young with just 48 years in 2004).  Starting with this issue, Nova will be extended from 180 to 200 pages.

Introduction to anthology “Tiefraumphasen”

André Skora, Armin Rößler and my former co-editor Frank Hebben recently edited a new original anthology with stories by established and up-and-coming German science fiction writers. The book Tiefraumphasen, published by Begedia Verlag, features cyberpunk stories set in space by Thorsten Küper, Christian Günther, Karsten Kruschel, Sven Klöpping, Niklas Peinecke and others.

Busy with two novels, I couldn’t make it in time to contribute a story myself but I wrote a short introduction about the tradition of dark and dirty future scenarios, starting with Ridley Scotts movie Alien (1979) and infusing Cyberpunk’s bleakness with the even more profound existential calamities of a rundown humanity, confronted with the coldness and emptiness of space that failed to realize the Utopian hopes of classical science fiction.