August 11th, 2009

Earth from space

Worldcon 2009 wrap-up/10 Things I learned at Worldcon

Whew! Five days is a long con! Luckily, Montreal is a great place to have a con. The Palais de Congress (I'm not going to attempt the accent marks) where the con was held is only a few blocks from Old Montreal in one direction, and a nice shopping mall in a different direction (using the underground tunnels, if you like). Plus, it's pretty much cheek by jowl with Chinatown. Except for the hotel restaurant, which we were warned to avoid, the food was great everywhere.

My only logistical complaint is the recent Worldcon trend of putting the con suite in the party hotel, but choosing a hotel for both that's at least two or three blocks from the con itself. That was especially bad this time, where the elevators in the 29-floor Delta Hotel were just not up to the task of ferrying hordes of party-goers skyward.

I had a great time, though, and can't really complain. Here are some wonderful things I experienced at Anticipation:

 • Reconnecting with friends I don't see often, like mindyklasky, scottedelman, maryturzillo (we got to meet her husband geofflandis for the first time), and Nancy Kress. I was elated to watch Nancy get her second (well-deserved) Hugo for "The Erdmann Nexus", which I really enjoyed.

 • My husband waited in line with me for an hour to get tickets to the Neil Gaiman signing, ten waited anohter hour so we could get both our badges signed as well as two Sandman books.

 • Every time I used the "voodoo board" to leave someone a message (the board was particularly popular because a lot of folks' cell phones didn't work in Canada), I would almost immediately run into them. Maybe that's where the voodoo comes in?

 • The sun came out and the rain stopped, and I did finally get to take a carriage ride around Old Montreal. If you do that, too, look for a white horse named Mr. Blue, and a nice young woman driver named Pascal.

 • My final con moment was magical. Charlie and I were hanging out with Mary and Geoff when Connie Willis stopped to chat before her last panel. It was totally cool!

10 Things I learned at Worldcon:

#1 Everything sounds more impressive in French, even just telling folks where the exits are.

#2 Canadians don't jaywalk (at least not in Montreal).

#3 Even famous writers can get choked up when they win Hugos.

#4 The Cybook is a cool-looking eReader, really light & has a great screen, but you can't organize books.

#5 If you don't see the line for the Neil Gaiman signing, which is coming up, don't assume there isn't one. You are, in fact, in the wrong place.

#6 If you set aside the last day of the con to sight-see, it will rain on that day.

#7 If you're sitting behind a table on a panel, the audience tends to assume you know what you're talking about. The trick is not to let them see they're wrong.

#8 Every adult person in Montreal speaks English better than I speak French

#9 It is a lot of fun to be on a panel; it is even more fun when the other panelists are all knoweldgeable and polite.

#10 In moderating a panel, the audience can be harder to control than the other panelists.

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