Tim Lane (1951-2021)

Remembrance by Joseph T. Major:

Bruce Gardner knew another wargaming guy.

It was after I had graduated from the University of Louisville, back in 1976.  I was back up in Louisville, trying to put things in order, and there was this guy who was a wargamer.  So I went along.

Tim was portly.  I soon found out that he was fatherless, too: his father had died in Vietnam.  But more to the point, he was also into science fiction.

He blended in quickly.  He went to Rivercon, our convention in Louisville, then to MidAmeriCon 1976 with B. J. Willinger, Grant McCormick, and me.  We had a splendid time, except for the problems you get when you share a room.

Tim flourished.  He joined FOSFA, our local club (the Falls of the Ohio Science Fiction Association), participated in the meetings, and managed to expand his field of operations.

Time passed.  The group changed.  After two or three turnovers, he ended up being the editor of FOSFAx, the clubzine (with Janice Moore as co-editor to curb his enthusiasms).  We started running reviews, had a large and often acerbic letter column, and regular monthly publication (I’m sure this astounded many people).

One thing we did was to send the zine to writers who were reviewed in it.  As a result, we ended up getting letters of comment from people such as L. Sprague de Camp.  On the other hand, we got letters of comment from people such as Piers Anthony, which stirred controversy.

FOSFAx was where most of the articles which were collected as my book Heinlein’s Children were first published.  And there were other reviews and reviewers.  We would do perhaps twenty to twenty-four pages a month, with maybe twenty letters or more, and about as many reviews.  For example, Tim himself would write about baseball, and politics.

Not that we were entirely sercon.  One would have but to get the zine Phosgene (or PhosGene), composed of humorous and satirical (not always the same) articles, some new, many old.

But, as age and debility crept up on us all, things changed.  Tim’s conservative political views became more acerbic, which provoked long and strident debates in the letter column.  He lost his job due to an inability to adapt to changing computer technology.  Finally, his health broke down, and he had to abandon the publication, back in 2011.  He spent some time in various residential hotels before having to move to a care facility.

He was bedridden, but still alert, and trying to express himself in various venues.  Lisa and I would go see him.  We had been used to having Friday dinners with him and Elizabeth Garrott, his housemate, and sometimes Grant McCormick, our tenant, and now that he was unable to get out, we tried to bring him information.

Then the lockdown came.  He had email, he communicated, but it became less and less.  I heard from him on my birthday and then the next day on Christmas.  Grant said he heard from him January 6th.  He seemed all right then.  After that . . .

It turned out he had died on January 15, a little more than a month after his 69th birthday, and was buried in the family funeral plot he had.  So ended a faned with multiple Hugo nominations.

Timothy Brian Lane

December 12, 1951 — January 15, 2021

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