Tags: worldcon


Back home

And we're back. The jet-lag has kicked in, and I'm somewhat woozy, so activity by me here may be low for a day or two. The cats were fairly pleased to see us, although they are now informing me that they got Much Better Service from tamaranth and that we need to shape up.
We had a largely good time. I am now hugely tempted to go to World Fantasy (as mentioned). So:

Poll #1444984 World Fantasy: the marquise should --

Go to World Fantasy

Ohmigod, no, no...

Stay in the UK and go to Milford


Stay home and do something else

Tell me in comments
Goth marquise

Day One

It's remarkably hard to find breakfast in a tunnel. No, really. What with this, that and the other (mainly my sense of duty), we skipped breakfast in the hotel and set out for the con this morning intending to buy breakfast en route. After all, we reasoned, the underground corridors in Vancouver are essentially malls. Therefore... In Montreal, not so much. A couple of coffee shops, but no real breakfast, and we arrived at the con breakfastless and rather confused, in time ot collect programme participant packs and fail to find the person I was do to report to for being good duty. Breakfast was eventually tracked down in a nearby hotel and turned out to involve blueberry granola pancakes. I approve. There should be blueberry granola pancakes on all breakfast menus. (Though the marquis prefers kippers.) Then back to the con to fail to connect yet again with my manager and thence on to panel Ye First.
This was the Celtic one, which was packed out. Long nervous look around from the panellists who had not had any advance discussion. 'Off you go,' said the moderator, so off I went on my standard Famous False Beliefs about teh Celts rant (1. Not one people; 2. Not egalitarian; 3. Not peace-loving; 4. Not worshippers of a single set of gods; 5. Slave-owning; 6. Oh, and Christianity didn;t come along and ruin everything for them. Rather the opposite, for women, at least.) No-one screamed, threw anything, or left, and off we went on what we liked and didn't like in Celtic fantasy (Evangeline Walton,mostly), what we thought was interesting and productive, and a lot of jokes about Baltimore. I've been on this panel many times, and this wasn't the best it's been, but it was pretty good.
And and an hour and a half long. I was on another panel, on Translations, immediately afterwards, which was also an hour and a half, and which I was moderating. Great set of participants, great audience, long complex debate about everything from grammar to the philosophy of translation: I learnt a lot and felt we did a good job.
Then off to watch the marquis on his first panel on the Hugo novel shortlist. No-one really loved any of the nominated books, and the marquis compared one of the books to an overenthusiastic labrador. A very British item, and a rather baffled audience, but a lot of fun.
We tried to have food after that (lunch didn't fit into the no time between items thing, so this was early dinner). Lovely beer and a good starter, then the restaurant was distracted by the arrival of a huge pre-booked party, and everything slowed so much that I had to leave for my next item before my main course arrived. P got his, though, and says it was good, and they didn't charge for mine. The panel in questi
Things I've learned today: people get very attached to old translations, and translators feel under-loved (so if you have one, give him or her a big cheer); the cheese sandwich seems to be a rare concept in this bit of Montreal but the con suite has food (we don't have these in the UK); Canadian green room is US in style and thus not comprehensible to the likes of me; there is a local brewery called Trois Mousquetaires...
Goth marquise

O Canada

So here we are, in the lobby bar of the Hilton Bonaventure Montreal, myself with a mojito and the marquis with a beer, making use of the free wi-fi. Not so much the usual, for a Wednesday evening. We flew in with no problems whatsoever -- pleasant on-time flight, airports efficient at both ends, and all luggage accounted for. To find ourselves in a hi-rise Hilton set in its own rooftop garden, all very calm and quiet and green. And Montreal is lovely. (If too hot.) We have seen archaeology at the Museum of History and investigated the power of water at the Biosphere; been honoured by two long glimpses of a very plump groundhog in the Parc Jean Drapeau, and rather shorter ones of beavers, macaques, otters, lynxes and a sloth in the Biodome.

The greenhouses at the botanic gardens contain a plant (a spotted begonia) that bears an uncanny resemblance to Horus. No, really. Long, pointy and spotted. We have dined with fjm, chilperic and mkillingworth, and attended a party in honour of papersky, where there were many more British usual suspects. Plus some nice Americans and Canadians. Through the windows of a moving train, we glimpsed ci5rod setting off somewhere purposefully.

The local beers are excellent, notably a house-brewed cherry wheat beer at Brutopia. The lovely bilingual bookshop, Indigo had Living With Ghosts on its shelves, and let me sign their copies and sold me Pierre Pevel's Musketeer-influenced fantasies in a lovely French edition. (Plus many other books.)

We have discovered that, given a choice between walking underground and walking in direct hot sun, I'll take the underground every time. The marquis is a amused. Me, I think it just goes to prove that a rational hatred of the nasty horrid burning stuff trumps a phobia any time.

Tomorrow, the con starts. I have three panels before the opening ceremony (Celtic fantasy, heaven help me; translations; dark fantasy); the marquis has one. Keep your fingers crossed for me for the Celts. I'll keep you posted.
Living With Ghosts

Worldcon and birthdays and questions, Oh My!

First of all, many many happy returns to the wonderful rozk. I hope you have a good day.

I have my programme schedule for Worldcon. It's mow close enough that I'm getting excited -- I've wanted to go to Quebec province since I was eight or nine. My schedule looks like this:

12.30 Thursday The Werewolves of Brigadoon
The appropriation of Scotland, Ireland and Wales as lands of "Celtic fantasy" by North American authors whose Celtic experiences appear to begin with Sir Walter Scott, travel through
Brigadoon, and conclude with bad Hollywood movies. This one could get interesting. I have Views and I can quite genuinely claim to be expert. As most of the popular beliefs are, well, wrong... Hmmm.
Kari Sperring, Peadar Ó Guilín (M), Ian McDonald.

2 pm Thursday Translation Challenges
What are the artistic and professional challenges faced by translators? How do they tackle translating between languages whose grammars are incompatible?
Jetse de Vries, Kari Sperring (M), Rani Graff, Tom Clegg, Fernandes, Eileen Gunn

7 pm Thursday Horror and Dark Fantasy Writers: What Makes the Story "Horror" or "Dark Fantasy"?
Horror and dark fantasy writers tell how they do it, how do they think up the horror and how do they know it when they write it?
Ellen Datlow (M), Kari Sperring, Maura McHugh, Susan Forest, Kaaron Warren

9 am Friday Medieval France: Just another fantasy?
Fantasy authors are often inspired by medieval France, but how much reality actually gets ends up in their fiction?
Edward James, Faye Ringel, Kari Sperring (M), Sean McMullen

2 pm Saturday he Middle Ages: Getting it Right
Description: Professional medieval historians help you avoid howlers and offer you unlikely titbits of information.
Edward James (M), Kari Sperring (The Edward-and-Kari show rides again).

4.30 pm Sunday Kari Sperring Signing
Say what?

7 pm Folk Tales
Description: Listen to some folk tales from around the world. (Children's programme and bilingual)
Josepha Sherman (M), Kari Sperring
(I'd like to tell a really scary Viking folk-tale. Will I be lynched?)

10 am Monday 150 Years Later: The Continuing Exploits of the Three

Description: Kari Sperring (as Kari Maund) is the co-author of The Four Musketeers: The True Story of D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis and Athos
My solo talk on Musketeer sequels.

11 am Monday Non-Fiction for SF Fans
What non-fiction should SF fans be reading? The panel recommends and discussed recently published books and perennial classics.
Geoff Ryman, James Cambias, Kari Sperring, Niall Harrison (M), Vincent Docherty

12.30 Monday Author Reading
Patrick Rothfuss; Kari Sperring; Michelle Sagara.
(Eep. I am reading with Important Writers).

Monday morning is going to be rushed, methinks! But I've done worse when I was still teaching in universities. Most of these look like fun, though my translation skills involve mediaeval languages.

Serious question: can anyone on the f'list put me in email contact with Josepha Sherman, please? I've never met her, but I suspect the folk-tale item will need careful advance planning. I can tell a Welsh story in French quite happily, and another Welsh one (or Irish or Scandinavian) in English, but I don't want to overlap and I know little about her interests.

The marquis is on four items -- 3.30 pm Thursday, a discussion of the Hugo-nominated novels; 3 pm Friday, Jedi training workshop for the children's programme; Friday 9 pm, on RPGs and their fictional tie-ins; and 9 am Saturday on Mediaeval Technology.