Technical problems – unstable or insufficient connections, instabilities of the viewer software – are still far too common concomitants of cultural events in the virtual world. What happened during my reading in the Metropolis Grid last Saturday, however, was rather unusual and may have been due to the fact that the administrators of small Open Simulator-based alternatives to Second Life have to get along with far more modest resources than the scene’s giant. Just as Thorsten Küper aka Kueperpunk Korhonen was about to introduce me the whole region crashed and the respective server had to be restarted. My – fortunately very patient – listeners had to relog into the grid’s starting point and return one by one to the event location Rostige Druckerpresse, the grid home of the writer group Brennende Buchstaben. After that, however, it was a successful and, with about twenty avatars present, well-received event. I read my short story “Der Sturz” from the cyberpunk anthology Fieberglasträume (Begedia Verlag), edited by André Skora and Frank Hebben. It was especially appreciated that this story of an artificial intelligence that tries to reconstruct his realword avatar and in doing so his memories is clearly inspired by my activities in Second Life.
It should be noted that when I started the story I didn’t know that it would turn out into something like that. The initial image of a broken android whose parts are scattered about a stair was actually inspired by the fact that I live in Wuppertal, the city of hills and stairs. The story’s setting has a real counterpart, a notoriously long and steep stair between Ottenbrucher Straße and Grünewalder Berg in Wuppertal-Elberfeld (that some of my fellow writers may remember from the German cyberpunk summit in April 2012). The great thing about writing is that even the most mundane things can inspire a story and it was here, taking a rest when trying to make a shortcut via this stair, that the initial idea for “Der Sturz” hit me.
Here some more impressions of the evening, as seen from my office.