Tobias Buckell (author of Crystal Rain) has called for science fiction writers of all types to get together online in the virtual world of Second Life. He’s got others talking about building an artists conclave of sorts. A place where writers could hang out, discuss the craft, and interact with fans. Jason Stoddard (author and creator of Second Life virtual property) has even offered to build authors some slick virtual pad for free.
If you aren’t familiar with Second Life, you can be forgiven. It is an online 3D virtual world, where most of the content is created by the users. The stated goal is to create a world that works like the Metaverse described in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. And so far, they’ve done a pretty reasonable job. There is a thriving community of folks who create online content that they either sell or give to others. There is an in-game currency (the Linden dollar, named for the company Linden Labs who owns the software) that converts to real world currency.
It would seem only natural for science fiction authors to find a place here. It has potential, but whether or not it will be realized is another matter. It is certainly a non-traditional approach and while it wouldn’t appeal to Harlan Ellison, it might attract the next generation of authors.