So, if you haven't read it, you may not want to go further here, just in case I spoil it for you.
What I'm going to do here is talk about some of the ideas about it that I have been mulling over.
I'm not going to repeat what I've already written either, so if you do want to read on, you might want to check my earlier "review" first.
First of all I think it is really two books in one. In fact it is divided into 2 distinct parts.
The first part is about cloning from DNA, the ethical issues that arise from that, and what you actually get when you clone a human.
- is the clone the twin of the earlier person, a duplicate perhaps?
- Is everything exactly the same? birthmarks, physical things like twitches
- is the mind/soul cloned too, or is there something outside the body that is the soul of the body? Is it possible therefore for a soul to have 2 bodies?
- what is the role of environment in shaping the child?
- is the baby born with "adult" intelligence, and just spends the years waiting for the body to catch up? Would their IQs be the same?
- Is there any sort of empathetic bond between the original and the clone?
However it differs from Second Life in the way it is constructed. Second Life is built by its inhabitants and often does emulate the real world, but is also often seen as place where the avatars can attempt things not possible in real life. The creators of Shadowland in WICKER have created a recognisable replica of the real world, and many of its inhabitants are TTLs (True to Lifers)
Here are some of the ideas explored
- a virtual world can be a release valve for people in the real world who have anti-social tendencies, or who want to understand "what it is like" to kill someone, or steal, or just drive a car extremely fast etc.
- Virtual worlds may have a beneficial social effect on the real world by keeping the crime rate down, or reducing the murder rate, by allowing players/avatars to commit these things in the virtual world, rather than the real one.
- A murderer may practice his technique in the virtual world, before he/she murders in the real one
- restraints that hold us back in the real world have been relaxed in the virtual one
- People may use the virtual world for establishing relationships in the real one.
- Life is cheap in the virtual world. Values as we know them don't exist.
- SL "represents an unhealthy disengagement from, and evasion of, the real world."
- Just Killin': Avatar Murder: the act of two consenting adults simulating murder, killing, and war are not only permitted without debate in SL, they are accommodated
- Virtual Rape is Traumatic but is it a crime?
- Hidden Virtual World Prison Revealed. Dubbed the "The Corn Field," the moonlit environment contains only rows of corn, two television sets, an aging tractor and a one-way teleport terminal allowing no escape.
- SL Community Incident Report: the crimes detected recently include assault, illegal gambling, littering, spamming, and use of a weapon
- Child abuse, pornography in Second life