As it happens, the very first author I thought of during my very first glimpse of Second Life was Kurt Vonnegut. This was in early 2003, during a demo by Philip and Robin Linden, when they told me how avatar names were created. New users could choose any first name, but had to select from a long list of surnames designated by the company. (Each of which is discontinued, after some time, to make room for new ones.) The idea, they explained, was to create immediate affiliations between individual residents who might not otherwise have anything in common but their last name. Creating, in effect, instant families.
Just like, it instantly occured to me, in Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick.
So it's a weird kind of closure for me, after all these years, to finally meet Kurt Vonnegut's avatar. A decidedly younger Vonnegut, perhaps, not the lion of American letters as he is today, at 82-- maybe Vonnegut during the Breakfast of Champions era-- but Vonnegut all the same.
When I met him a few days ago, Vonnegut was still a hollow shell, but next week Tuesday, the producers of public radio's "The Infinite Mind" promise me, he'll be inhabited by the man himself, during his in-world broadcast show with John Hockenberry. (But first comes Suzanne Vega.) It'll be a interesting to find out what the man who gave us our names will make of this place, when he gets here.
Show details at the show's SL page.