Well, I'm back from my amazing weekend in Montreal, and it was so, so much fun. It was my first WorldCon in four years, and it was so good to be back. I brought a friend with me, Devinoni of Bracing for the Zombie Apocalypse (which, sadly, he has been neglecting these many months), and we had a fabulous time. This is the view from the hotel room. I loved Montreal! Everyone was so nice, even though my French is pathetic and seems to sputter into nothingness somewhere along the line between my brain and my mouth. The city has so much character, both in the old section as well as the more modern parts. There are interesting artistic touches all over the place, statues, artwork on the sides of buildings, evocative fountains; there was even a peaceful little park that was made around the ruins of an old church.
Here's an interesting artistic embellishment that was on the side of a strange building that, from what I could tell, was a restaurant with a haunted house theme. I walked past it every day on my way to the convention center, and it tickled me every time. The restaurant looked as though it was closed down, but maybe they were going for that look of abandonment, thinking it would add to the atmosphere? Who knows!
Here is a very cool robot sculpture that was on display at the convention. The con itself was wonderful. It was a bit smaller than some of the others I've been to - I heard that the attendance was around 3400. The art show was small, and the dealer's room was tiny, more the size of one at a regional con, apparently because of the difficulty vendors from other countries had getting permits to sell in Canada (according to dealers I spoke with). But there were so many fascinating panels, readings, book signings, and other activities that it was difficult deciding which ones to attend. There were many times I was wishing for Hermione's time turner so I could go to all the ones I wanted that were being held at the same time. Just a few of the many interesting panel discussions I attended were:
The Webcomics You Should Be Reading (with Howard Tayler, Joe Pearce, Tom Galloway and Claude Lalumiere); Let the Guy Scream: Women in Current Media SF/F (with Heather Urbanski, Odellia Firebird, and Trisha Wooldridge); an editors panel in which editing anthologies and magazines and selecting stories was discussed (with Ellen Datlow, Lou Anders, Stanley Schmidt, Sheila Williams and Rani Graff); Once Upon a Time There Was a Gender Variant Metaphor, which discussed homosexuality in F and SF, coded and otherwise (with Lila Garrot-Wejksnora, Wendy Gay Pearson, and Violette Malan); Fairytales in the Comics (with Bill Willingham, Kevin Maroney and Paul Cornell); and Writing for Teens (with Fiona Patton, Ben Jeapes and Anne Harris - Eoin Colfer was supposed to be there, but I never did see him - he was supposed to give a reading, but he wasn't there either, and there was some speculation about whether he ever did get to the con at all).
The discussions were so fascinating and inspiring that I felt my brain slowly start to swell up with information and ideas - and what better way to let things settle than take a break and have something to eat. And when it comes to good food, Montreal has a lot to offer.
There is a lot more to talk about, but it will have to wait for the next post. If anyone would like to know more about those panel discussions, let me know. I took a few notes, and at least for the webcomics one I plan to hunt down links for the ones that were discussed and recommended, and I'd be happy to share them if anyone is interested.