>Nostalgia & Ankh Morpork in Second Life

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I don’t think I can fully explain or describe just how good today has been. But I’ll try. :) It started when I was randomly clicking islands on the map and I found myself on Time and Space. (Moderate maturity rating) There didn’t seem to be a lot there but I noticed a tree which looked familiar. And then some flowers and other trees. They were from my Second Life youth.

Now I’m a big fan of Lalo Telling’s Seconderth series, the one that documents the early years of Second Life. The objects that looked familiar to me on this sim made me feel all nostalgic and even a little emotional. Things move so fast on the grid that we forget what it was like when we started out and, even though I’m not that old, the world looks very different than it did when I was first exploring and learning to build. There are flowers from 2004, trees from 2008 and lots of bits and pieces that would be considered “antique” if they were in a museum. But they’re not, they’re in use and available for all of us to experience and they made me feel “homesick” for my early days.

Janeel Kharg is the owner and designer of the island and is a delightful woman. I tried to convey my pleasure at the “old school” objects and at the same time hoped she understood I wasn’t being insulting because I loved it. Janeel explained that she doesn’t change things just for the sake of change. She has many repeat visitors and they like the comfort of the familiar.

The two of us are very close to the same age in Second Life and I can remember the “eureka” moment when I realized I could build something in here and it would form part of this world. We have something else in common as well. For many years I was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses, primarily fibromyalga. I spent more than ten years walking with a cane, when I could walk, and dealing with pain and fatigue that made me think I must have been very bad in a previous life. Janeel has to deal with myalgic encephalomyelitis (or CFS) which makes the next part of what I want to tell you even more remarkable.

High above Time and Space Janeel has created an inworld version of Ankh Morpork. Building something like this takes time and energy and passion. She’s done a fantastic job and I’m in love.

Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld series is phenomenal and those of us who live this world through his books know the city state of Ankh Morpork. We know the river Ankh, which is so full of silt and pollution “even an agnostic could walk across it”.

We know the hippos which appear on the city shield and their statues on the bridge. It is said that, should the City be threatened, they will run away.

We know Dibblers’ pies and we know enough not to eat them. We are familiar with the guilds and the characters that populate this place. We appreciate the humour and the insight in the books and the mind of the author and we’re very protective of his world.

Luckily for us, so is Janeel. She has based the design of the City on the illustrations by Paul Kidby and she has his permission to do so. If you know the books you’ll recognize this place when you visit.

After a quick jaw dropping look around the City I went to visit the City Watch House to pay my respects.

The Ankh Morpork build has a hunt set up if you’re so inclined. There is also the possibility of role-play and she has provided character information for that purpose. She has also created many character avatars and has a vendor there if you’d like to get a jump start on the play but there are also free outfits just so you’ll fit in as you wander the the streets.

I had some trouble deciding which character I would become to begin my journey and finally decided to start at the top of the food chain. Vetinari is one of my favourite people in the books (well, right behind Sam Vimes) and it seemed to me that somebody should inhabit his palace and take care of business for him.

So, I assumed his form and walked with confidence up to the front door.

I forgot that he can be a little touchy about things sometimes. The good news is that I managed to learn a lot of his tricks and secrets over the years so they only thought they had me.

I’ll be back. Frequently. And I’ll start my next visit in the Assassins’ Guild – it worked for the Patrician and I’m betting I can make it work for me.

If you know this world of Terry Prachett go visit Janeel’s Ankh Morpork. If you don’t know this world – start reading the books. One of my goals this year was to reread all of them in order. Now I have a place on the grid to visit while I do.

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