Today’s Magic District is more about the act of reading than about any book in particular. It’s also about taking in fiction through other mediums (TV, movies) and how I have this weird, uncritical first response to it, which results in such problems as trying to justify The Phantom Menace, Jar-Jar and all. Not my best critical moment, certainly.
It’s almost worth the mental dissonance involved in listening to Metallica cover “Whiskey in the Jar” just to hear the lead singer growl out “whack-fol-a-derry-o.”
(…Anyone else hear the opening bit of that one Information Society song whenever they hear those three words? No? Okay, it’s just me.)
A little late, but today’s Magic District touches very lightly on cities in fantasy — specifically, how each has its own personality. Montreal got me thinking about the soul of a city, partly because I could not pin down what it was I loved so much about the city. (Aside from tasty food everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I had the best sandwich I’d ever had, and that was just from a stall at the Les Francofolies music festival.) I’d be curious to see what other fantastic cities I’ve forgotten — the ones that came to mind were a bit scattershot.
Let me get this out of the way first: I have no sense of rhythm. None. I can lose the beat even when the really big drum what goes “boom” is right behind me, and I should not be allowed near cymbals. I can even manage to fumble maracas.
So when John Scalzi describes that one session of Rock Band as “[Scalzi] on vocals, Annalee Newitz on guitar, Pablo Defendini on bass, and Margaret Ronald on drums”, keep in mind that “on drums” is really an overstatement. “Flailing gleefully” might be closer.
Got it? Okay. On to other matters.
Montreal was absolutely beautiful. In fact, if it weren’t for the massive amounts of snow they get come winter, I’d move up there right now. My husband and I stayed in a fantastic little bed and breakfast and wandered around the city until our feet were worn out, and though I spent most of the following weekend at Worldcon, I did manage to continue the wandering. It’s a gorgeous city, and I’m already trying to think of excuses to go back.
I had an up-and-down reaction to Worldcon itself. I think it was just a matter of finding the middle ground between loving everyone I saw and wanting to stab everyone I saw; a few petty annoyances fed into my usual con neuroses. However, it was a lot of fun, all told. Highlights of the weekend included:
- Rock Band, as mentioned above. Later on in the evening I managed a Mighty Mighty Bosstones song, and my throat was sore for days. Totally worth it.
- The fireworks Saturday night. The resident organist and I had caught them when we arrived in town, and I’d hoped to see them again — and just after the “Love Bites” panel, they started up. We got to see them from the terrace on the Palais (with many other congoers), and I realized again just how directly fireworks tap into my personal sense of wonder.
- The “Legitimizing the Woo” panel was awesome, mostly due to Peter Watts. We meandered all over the original topic, and I wish I’d been in the audience so I could have taken notes on some of it (the study on incomprehensible scientific papers in particular). I also got to describe how I approach some of the fantastic element as a “woo katamari.”
- At one point Seanan McGuire and I were accidentally stalking each other, which ultimately resulted in a fantastic conversation about The Middleman, Narbonic, and the already-sanitized versions of fairy tales that Disney drew on. I want a copy of her book now — unfortunately, it’s not out till September.
- I got to actually sit down and talk with friends from near and far. Much of the con experience is about reconnecting with people you see rarely, which can be a little disorienting for the first couple cons if, like me, you’re skittish about meeting new people. But that’s also part of the joy — finding people who share your interests, who are funny and fascinating and bizarre in all the right ways, and then looking forward to seeing them again.
Best of all, though, was coming home to the resident organist and a quiet evening in my own home. Tomorrow, I revise. Tonight, rest.
And no drums.