2001 World Fantasy Award Trip Report
Montréal, Québec, Canada, 1-4 November 2001


2 November

Had a fascinating trip up. JFK security confiscated the wrench I use to tune my bongos and a metal rod (blunt, not sharp) that I mount some of my percussion on. Both easily replaced, but also both going into checked luggage. However, I really didn't want to create a fuss, so off they went into whatever limbo land confiscated items go to.

Took two thirty-two-seater puddlejumpers, one from New York to Boston, one from Boston to Montréal, both with only one flight attendant (so when the pilot normally announces, "Flight attendants, prepare for landing," they instead said, "Kelly, prepare for landing," which was amusing). The plane to Montréal only had five passengers, and two of us were there for World Fantasy (the other being Wen Spencer).

I got held up briefly at customs -- apparently I look suspicious -- and then at last made it to the Delta Centre-Ville in beautiful downtown Montréal.

The hotel is lovely. I'm in a room that's sort of in a corner with a king-size bed, big bathroom, and a TV that can only be seen from the bed if you pull the tray out of the cabinet and turn it all the way to the left. Very bizarre layout, but nice anyhow.

Had a good Tibetan dinner with friends, then did a panel on "Fantasy Faux Pas" last night that went very well. Afterward, Laura Anne Gilman, Sharyn November, James Hartley, and I went to the Whiskey Bar, a place with a plethora of single-malt Scotches, as well as other fine things like caviar and good cheese. A most decadent evening.

This morning James, Laura Anne, and I went shopping, mainly so the two of them could find leather coats. We were eventually successful, after much shop-hopping (I also got Terri's Christmas present), and a good time was had by all.

Montréal is an interesting city. I get the same feeling of hybridization that I got in Sydney. There, it felt like a combination of America, Europe, and Japan. Here, it's America and Europe.

4 November

After my last post, I went off to do my reading at 2pm. I got a good crowd -- six people, two of whom I'd never met before -- and read my Xena short story as well as the Aeryn-gets-drunk bits from Farscape: House of Cards and a couple of brief scenes from Spider-Man: Venom's Wrath. Three of the six people were Canadians who had never seen Farscape before, so they were appreciative of the introduction to the series I provided.

The rest of Friday was fairly uneventful -- there were conversations and parties and things -- and I went to bed at a semi-reasonable hour (2am or so). Saturday I slept until 10, got up and ready for my 11am panel on "Mythology in Fantasy," which I was moderating. Aside from one bit where Bill Willingham and Josepha Sherman almost came to blows (all over Bill misunderstanding what Jo said), it was a most excellent panel, full of nifty ideas and much talk of myths, folklore, legends, and storytelling.

Saturday night was the cabaret, which had a variety of musical bits, ranging from full-band stuff to a cappella numbers. Highlights included Julienne Lee (aka J. Ardian Lee) singing "Mercedes Benz" and me joining a bunch of folks including Charles de Lint, Mary Ann Harris, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Ellen Kushner, C.J. Randall, Delia Sherman, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman on a variety of songs, ranging from "City of New Orleans" to some of Charles' original stuff to a song that was sung in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (performed by the "Taliband," featuring most of the performers wearing fake long beards, and highlighted by Charles doing a hysterical white-man dance).

We continued to jam well into the night after that, finally giving up at 2am or so. My favorite part was a four-song medley that included two traditional Irish songs, a song by Fred (I forget his last name, but Fred is Canada's answer to Weird Al, and Charles does many songs from his repertoire), and "Copperhead Road."

Then I adjourned to the bar where I joined my old buddy Colleen Anderson, some Brits, and some other folks. After the hotel bar closed, we went to a local Irish pub. After they kicked us out, we went to an all-night pizza place.

It's now 5.13am as I type this. I have an 8am flight, and the joys of post-11 September life is that I have to get there at 6am, hence my simply staying up all night. Once I've sent this post, I'm going to pack up the laptop, check out, and catch a cab to the airport.

This was less of a must-do-business trip than WorldCon was, but I did spread the word about Imaginings, which was the primary purspoe of coming along.

5 November

I've only done two all-nighters in my life -- neither when I was in college, oddly enough, though I came close once during a weekend when the latest issue of the paper was especial hard work. One was when I had to finish a proofreading job a couple years back. The other was 3-4 November 2001 when I had to be at Montréal's airport at 6am for an 8am flight. It being Saturday night at a con, there was little point in trying to get any sleep, as normally one wouldn't even get to bed until 4am or so anyhow....

Naturally, I got to the airport at the requisite two hours ahead of time. Just as naturally, I got through security and customs (including paying $15 CDN to get out of the country -- you wanna leave, you gotta pay for the privilege) with no problems, and sat in the waiting area for well over two hours, as the plane was forty-five minutes late. Luckily, my connecting flight in Boston wasn't for two hours after landing.

I spent most of the time in the waiting area alternating between reading and sleeping, all the while listening to music on my laptop. I had finished Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley on the way up, and was now reading Rob Neyer's Feeding the Green Monster. I think it adequately sums up my personality that I can go from a book about a sociopath who murders and impersonates someone cooler than him to a diary of a baseball writer who attended all eighty-one Red Sox home games at Fenway Park without blinking. (I'm now reading The Commitments by Roddy Doyle. After that are Doyle's sequels, The Snapper and The Van, then I'm probably going to read Peter David's latest Star Trek: New Frontier book. Either that, or I'll pick up Carl Hiaasen's Paradise Screwed, his latest collection of Miami Herald columns.)

I slept the entire time on the trip from Montréal to New York. Napped and read while waiting for the New York flight, which was also late, but still landed early -- go fig'. Landed so early, in fact, that the bus that was supposed to take us to the gate wasn't there. It eventually showed up, my parents were there to pick me up, and I went home to collapse for a few hours before meeting said parents for dinner. My father's birthday was Sunday, and we ate at a restaurant conveniently located around the corner from Terri's and my place. I had a fantastic four-cheese risotto that I managed not to fall asleep into, and a good time was had by all.

[First posted on sff.people.krad at SFF.net from 2-5 November 2001.]

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