Levitation 2024 Eastercon

Conventions held over Easter weekend are difficult for me to attend. Twice (in 2018 and 2019) I managed to travel to Eastercon but in usual circumstances my family likes to have me around. Yet in recent years it was possible to join Eastercon remotely. This opened a “new era” of Eastercon participation for me.

Not enough time

The biggest issue I had with Levitation was a lack of time. It is way easier for me to have a weekend for myself when I am travelling somewhere. When staying at home many things are getting in my way. In this particular case I lost whole Friday, half of Sunday, and almost whole Monday. This means that the four days long conventions shrank for me to a day and a half. All those who attended Eastercon before would probably agree with me that this is not enough to properly enjoy the con. Having said that I did my best to enjoy what I could as even a short convention is better than no convention!

Picture of a yellow decorated Eatser Egg on green background. The decorations are green and black. Black ones are zigzags and green ones depict rockets and unicorns. Below the egg there is a white inscription 'Levitation 2024'
The beautiful logo of Levitation 2024.


The easiest way to participate online is to listen to the programme. And it is what I was doing most of the time. The selection of topics was quite broad. It is important to say that most of the items were available both in person and online. Some of the panels even had mixed in-person and remote participants. In this regard it was similar to Conversation (Eastercon 2023). However the platform used was different.

Levitation used RingCentral Events – the same platform that Glasgow 2024 will be using in August. On Friday I was a bit concerned as the streams didn’t work for me too well. Yet as it turned out it was related to me losing around 14% of packets because of my old and broken RJ-45 cable. After fixing this the platform had almost no hiccups for me. The delay in the stream was very small. I don’t know how how long it lasted exactly but I think it was below 60 or even 30 seconds. For some items the streaming was starting a bit later than it should. It seemed to be rather a matter of setting things up and not the RingCentral Events tooling.

Screenshot from the website. In the center it shows a streamed video. It shows a few of space objects in the background and in big letters it reads 'BSFA', and below in smaller font 'The British Science Fiction Association'. In the top right it shows 'Established:1958' and an icon of loudspeaker.
This is how the online streaming looked like in RingCentral Events.

The item that I enjoyed the most was BSFA Lecture “Annals of Vandalism” by John Clute. It was exciting but also left me aghast. It seems that for around two centuries British Library was throwing away dust jackets from the books they were supposed to preserve. The speaker gave some great insights into the topic. I am tempted to buy his new book that will treat exactly about this.

I also listened to other talks and panels. Some of them treating on science and others more on fan life. I generally enjoyed the programme yet John Clute’s lecture definitely stood out.

Now when the convention has finished I have some programme items I want to catch up. And this time I even managed to watch two of the items I missed.

Screenshot from the website. In the center there is a stream from a screen. From top to bottom it lists 'BSFA British Science Fiction Association', 'Annals of Vandalism', and 'John Clute'. Background is generally black but the inscriptions on top have some planets and stars behind them.
The item I liked the most during the convention.

Zoom fatigue?

For some time I have an impression that we became tired of remote participation. Some conventions resigned from online offering and others made it limited. As stated above Levitation decided to keep the big online offering. Yet something has changed.

I think that there is fewer things to do remotely now. And there is definitely lower level of “active participation”. I don’t recall any social Zooms during Levitation. And the Discord was used but not as much as it was “back in the days”. On a positive note the usage of Discord was definitely higher than on some other hybrid cons but it is still “nothing” compared to 2020 or 2021.

Picture shows the announcement of the 'Decorative Bags' programme item. Background is green with yellow and balc stripes on top and bottom. On the left side there is the Levitation name and logo (Easter egg). Right hand shows programme item title and description. On the bottom bar is the room name and time.
Between some of the items announcements of future ones were made.

On one hand I am craving for the social interactions at online cons but on the other hand it is too much for me. I didn’t manage to fully follow Discord even though it was not very busy. This led me to questioning myself as to what extent was I participating in the convention?

Watching the programme alone is not enough for my full convention experience. I felt that something was missing for me. On some occasions I was reacting in the same way I would should I be there in person. Still the lack of social interactions made Levitation into a long session of talks and panels.

I had some short conversations with the people on site. Thanks to España I even managed to participate in the Fan Funds auction. (I didn’t manage to buy any of the items I wanted though). All of this was great but I want a bit more. By no means it was Levitation’s fault. It was rather me (and I think other fans as well) who changed and thus we approach hybrid cons differently.

Screenshot of the website. Most of it is filled with the picture. It shows robot with easter egg as a head and next to it is the text 'Doc Weir Award'.
When Dave Langford was announced as the Doc Weir Award winner I started clapping. A well deserved recognition!

Will I join other hybrid cons as remote participant? I am sure that yes, but I will not attend 21 cons remotely as I did back in 2021!

Happy Busy Weekend

I prefer to be positive and therefore I had a good time at Levitation Eastercon. On some occasions I was clapping my hands for the speakers and the award winners. I was also expressing my joy more verbally and I did this despite the fact that stream worked one way only. It was a good convention and it was clearly visible how much love was put into preparing and running it.

I regret I didn’t manage to travel to Telford and I hope I’ll able to attend Reconnect next year. It will be the first ever Eastercon in Northern Ireland so it would be a great opportunity to visit it. Ytet for now I am not sure whether I’ll manage to do so.

The next post will appear within four weeks.

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