Libertycon 28

Uncle Timmy

This is a story about the nicest man in all of Fandom.

I first came to LibertyCon because it was a family reunion for family I’d never met before. There were… two, maybe three people at that con I’d met in person, and I’m mildly agoraphobic. At the time, make that more than mild. So meeting new people, while fun, was also terrifying. I don’t recall now who introduced me to Uncle Timmy. I know that several people pointed him out to me, and told me he was the man to talk to if I wanted to become a guest at the con myself. I do vividly recall that he came and sat with me at Opening Ceremonies and talked to me. He pointed out some people, he made bad jokes, and he put me utterly at ease. Every time I came to LibertyCon I could expect to get a hug and a few words from him, usually encouraging as I started to write more books and become more than just a fan.

I never got the time to spend a long conversation with him. Not that we both wouldn’t have enjoyed it, I think. Simply that I wasn’t the only person that wanted to say hi… everyone loves him. He could walk through the halls of the con and never have a silent moment. Over the years I got to understand that he was the heart and soul of LibertyCon. He formed it into the relaxed, easygoing family reunion atmosphere I was so delighted with from my first visit. The saying goes ‘by your fruits you shall know them.’ Uncle Timmy’s lasting legacy was the con, the one that feels like family of the heart.

It wasn’t all peaches and cream. I wept for him when the new school fandom dealt him an underhanded blow by having him uninvited from Archon. He’s a gentleman, and I never saw or heard an unkind word from him about it. Something about that calm friendly demeanor was unbearable to some petty fen, and so they squashed what they could not control. Which is I think exactly what it was. He is very much his own person, with a great mind behind that smile. He’s created something special with LibertyCon and there in the name is the one thing they hate and fear: freedom. Uncle Timmy helped me, unconsciously I am certain, to work toward my freedom from fear and doubts. I expect there are many, many more stories like mine out there.

He is a fine gentleman and a great man. Laughter and ease followed in his wake. I don’t know if he will get to see this, but thank you, sir. God bless and keep you.


    1. Increasingly the SJW have taken over operation of many regional cons and as they force their woke values on what needs to be a combination of business and entertainment those cons suffer. Cons in general operate on a very thin, often negative, margin, so demeaning and excluding a significant portion of your base will eventually guarantee that con’s demise.
      Case in point, WorldCon continues to diminish in attendance while DragonCon just keeps getting larger.

      1. Frankly, I’m holding my breath and hoping that the Atlanta city government, as Left an outfit as you’ll find, doesn’t try to encourage DragonCon to become more woke through denials of permits, fire marshal issues, etc.

      2. I’d question the comment that the Worldcon continues to diminish in attendance. For this current decade (which is almost over, so we’ve got a bunch of data), the attendance was:

        2011 – 4112
        2012 – 4743
        2013 – 4832
        2014 – 6946
        2015 – 5077
        2016 – 4719
        2017 – 7949
        2018 – 4804

        It looks mostly like it’s staying at about the same size, and is smaller when it’s in places that people aren’t particularly interested in going to or are harder to get to (2011 – Reno), and larger in popular places (2014 – London).

        1. Dude, look at the 90s and then 80s attendance. you aren’t going back far enough, you’re just looking at the same clique over and over.

          1. 90s:

            1990 – 3580
            1991 – 5661
            1992 – 5319
            1993 – 6602
            1994 – 3570
            1995 – 4173
            1996 – 6703
            1997 – 4634
            1998 – 6572
            1999 – 1548

            Note that the numbers for 1990, 91, 94, 96, and 98 include supporting memberships, which were not included in the numbers for the 201x years posted above (and are currently 1205 for this year’s Worldcon, which is pretty comparable to where it’s been for much of the decade).

            So this decade is running at about the same size as the 90s. The 90s average was about 4800 (including about 1000 supporters in half of them). This decade (so far) have averaged about 5400. So it’s grown slightly, on average.

            But I think this growth is probably somewhat distorted by the huge size of 2017 (Helsinki), and the tiny size of 1999 (Melbourne), which increased the current average, and held down the 90s. I think a more realistic estimate is that the Worldcon is about stable in size — neither growing or shrinking much. And that the sample size is small enough that there’s not much statistical significance in the size difference — the individual Worldcon differences are so large that trying to find a real trend is probably impossible.

              1. 1980 – 5850
                1981 – 3792
                1982 – 4275
                1983 – 6400
                1984 – 8365
                1985 – 1599
                1986 – 5811
                1987 – 4009
                1988 – 5300
                1989 – 6837

                So an average of just over 5200, with 7 of the 10 including supporting members in that total (1984, 87, and 89 were the exceptions).

                And this decade is averaging about 5400 (again, ignoring the fact that the current numbers don’t include supportings, and 7 out of 10 in the 1980s did, so that number is higher than the attendings) — so this decade is averaging larger than the 1980s, as well as the 1990s. But not by any meaningful amount.

                And, as with the 90s, the variations are far larger than the differences in the means between the current numbers and the 80s.

                The Worldcon roughly stabilized in size in the 80s, and hasn’t either grown or shrunk significantly since then.

                1. the numbers i was looking at must have counted supporting memberships or something… so all this proves it you can use statistics to prove whatever you want.

        2. Depending on the trendline you choose, attendance is either growing, or leveling off; although a best fit second order polynomial shows it actually starting to decrease. Second half of the data is much more variable than the first half.

          However, 2014 and 2017 are both outliers, being more than 1 standard deviation from the mean. Typically, that means statisticians would normally remove those data points as being anomalies. Doing so results in a much flatter graph, cutting the slope to only a quarter of what it was. i.e. 1.4% annual increase over 8 years, nearly flat.

          1. Exactly.

            I think the real answer is that we don’t need to torture the data unreasonably to show that the size is either growing slowly, or shrinking slowly, or staying the same — and that there aren’t enough data points to tell the difference. So all you can do is guess that it will be about average, and adjust on the fly.

            This is particularly true since there are lots of special circumstances not included in the data (for example, in 2017, the space being used was too crowded, so the convention cut off at-the-door sales, as well as getting some space in the convention center not previously contracted for because they didn’t expect that many people — which means it would have been even more of an outlier, probably).

            And, since each convention is run by a different group, in a different city, and both losing money, and making significant amounts are bad, then the financial planning is quite a challenge.

          2. It also depends on the data set you use. the dataset that I looked at during Sad Puppies showed a clear peak at the Worldcon in L.A. in .. iiirc 1984, and a sharp dropoff from there, which leveled off recently (esp if you ignore the SP years)

            Even GRRM mentions this in his commentary on SP, which Larry relinked to his response to, on FB the other day.

            1. And the 1984 LAcon was again one of those special cases I mentioned above. That convention was the first time that all three of the Star Wars films were shown together in a single place. So people heard about it, and there was a *huge* at the door turnout.

              It really is an incredibly noisy signal. The best bet is to assume that a US Worldcon will be in the 4500-5500 person range, and just track the monthly pickups against the historic averages to see if it looks like things are trending high or low, and adjust accordingly. But, even there, you get Worldcons with a huge surge of last-minute memberships, and others where the trend line suddenly plummets. And you need to decide if that’s real, or if it’s a 1-2 month anomaly, and things will revert to normal later.

              1. It looks noisy and mostly flat to me. Certainly not obviously shrinking.

      3. “Cons in general operate on a very thin, often negative, margin, so demeaning and excluding a significant portion of your base will eventually guarantee that con’s demise.”

        And the irony of it all, the farking IRONY of it all, is that they’re convinced that being welcoming to all people, being diverse and inclusive will *grow* conventions. And they’re 100% correct about that. They just insist on believing that one can create inclusion and diversity by repeated purges when the opposite is true. Room for everyone is room for everyone. If you can’t stand the notion of someone different from you, with different tastes, or different sense of humor, or different ideologies walking down the same hallway as you, you’re the one with the problem.

        1. That’s just it. They don’t consider us to be members of the “everyone” population. We’ve been dehumanized from their viewpoint. Whenever that has happened in history, it never ends well. And I can’t recall any instances of it peacefully self-correcting.

    2. I’ve not been back to Penguicon for a couple years now, and it would have been another year but $HOUSEMATE was (for once) more patient than I was and willing to give it that one more chance. It blew that chance. I’ve heard that I am (we are) NOT alone in that decision. I won’t say I’ll never go back, but I’ll need to hear more than one year’s positive reports, and then at least one directly from a trusted person (there are more than one). This year I’ve heard… absolute radio silence.

      1. Judging from their current guest lists, I won’t be going to RavenCon any time soon.

  1. John Ringo and Larry Correia, and the whole Honey Badger group, and others have been uninivited or banned from cons as well.

    There ought to be enough of them to make their own con by now…

    Someone could have a lot of fun naming it.

    1. OhNoCon comes to mind, but that leaves out the MHI fandom and others. On the gripping hand, given the, ah, enthusiasm, MHI fans and others have for boom-sticks, sharp pointy things, great stories, and other implements of mayhem, perhaps OhNoCon fits.

      1. How do we peacefully combine a gun show, shooting tournament, and Science Fiction and Fantasy convention with a LibertyCon flavor?
        I’d go in a heartbeat.

    2. I’m sure some members of the Usual Suspects would show up just to cause trouble and get themselves uninvited.

      1. Let ’em come; their money is as good as anyone’s. Just don’t let them *run* things, and don’t provide a contractual method for them to interfere with other people.

        Who knows, they might learn something by watching responsible adults enjoy themselves.

    3. I like the name JusticeCon as 1) it would be, and 2) it’d drive the SJW fools bonkers to have that name taken away from them – which would be utterly hilarious and mighty damned satisfying.

        1. The people of Canada would like to formally thank the people of the USA for taking in The Bieber. We are forever grateful. ~:D

  2. I’ve had several very enjoyable conversations with Uncle Timmy over the years. Both of us are old farts retired from government agencies, him TVA, and me NASA, so we have many a story to swap.
    His health is not the best and a few years back he turned over responsibility for LibertyCon to his daughter Brandy who IMHO does a fine job of carrying the torch.

      1. I was afraid of that. I missed LC last year, and year before he and I sat for an hour in the hallway in front of the Choo Choo meeting rooms talking about this and that.
        You could tell he was hurting and in bad shape, but none of that stopped him from being what he’s always been, a very fine human being.

      2. I was wondering because it sounded like a eulogy. I think i may have met him a number of years ago at some of the regional SF cons, but we’d be talking 20+ years ago…

        1. The tension between the present tense and the eulogistic tone was — substantial

  3. Uncle Timmy is the poster child for the toxicity of the current woke SJW fandom.

    This will, in the end, become two completely separate fandoms.

      1. there still seems to be a fair amount of overlap, at least in the circles I run in. Of course, those circles don’t include many con goers, just fans

  4. Uncle Timmy has been a major figure in fandom for many decades, has been awarded the Rebel Award by the SFC, and being named a GoH at Libertycon is very much deserved. And a really nice person who I’ve enjoyed talking with for many decades.

    And the Archon nonsense was appalling, and meant that many people from all parts of fandom won’t go to that convention.

  5. I never really “met” Uncle Timmy. But I did encounter him as he served ice cream back at LibertyCon 2007. My encounter was brief indeed, but my take-away from those moments was “nice fellow.”

  6. I hadn’t heard of Uncle Timmy before the Archon thing. It was clear that he was well loved by an enormous number of people and important to even more. God bless his journey.

    1. He was all of that. He’s one of the people who helped shape modern Southern Fandom (and well deserved his Rebel Award).

Comments are closed.