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Progress continues on my virtual book launch for my next novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, which will be available in stores and as a free download on July 1. I’m going to be doing a virtual launch in the Second Life massively multiplayer world on Sunday, July 24 at 2pm PDT/5pm EDT/10pm London time.

The Second Lifers have been holding a competition to see who can design the coolest in-game ebook for my launch, and the finalists are in. Each one is amazing, a worthy re-think of what a book means in the virtual world. Just looking at the sketches for these things makes me go crosseyed with futurismicness.

They’re also competing to come up with an avatar for me to wear in-game, which is pretty excitingly weird in and of itself!

Frans Charming’s prototype features a retro-cool chair that’s a little like one of those odd bubble seats from the old “Prisoner” TV series; that’s where the reader sits, because once there, the sitter’s camera is auto-locked into an ideal reading position, with a clickable GUI beneath it, for turning the pages. The contraption itself turns the novel into a conveyor belt of text; pages you’ve just read are sent on their way down a track, while incoming pages are put on the rail, and prepared for instant delivery.