Jeff Johnston

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Name: Jeff Johnston
Alias(es): M.J. Fisher, Michael
Fandoms: Star Trek: TOS, Star Wars
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Jeff Johnston was a writer and zine publisher. His publishing company was Kzinti Press.

Johnston was an early publisher of Star Wars zines and in his fan correspondence, he often used the term eofandom. He defined this term as "the period between the time when the potential for a fandom exists, but has not been realized is known in sf fandom as 'eofandom'." [1]

According to a 1987 issue of Comlink, Johnston gafiated in 1980.

M.J. Fisher and Jeff Johnston are the Same Person

The editor and publisher of Spectrum states in the first issue that "Fisher" took the zine over from Johnston:

I'm glad to be bringing the first issue of Spectrum out. Spectrum, as you know, was formerly the newsletter of the Toledo chapter of S.T.A.R. It became obvious to the editor, Jeff Johnston, that as a simple club newsletter, it was reaching almost no one. It was decided to change the format, turn Spectrum into a fanzine that would have a more general appeal. Spectrum did not do badly as a newsletter, It had over 70% subscription renewal. Mr. Johnston has worked on this format and turned the publication over to me [M.J. Fisher]. [2]

It is unknown if Fisher/Johnston intended to keep these two identities separate, or if the fact they were the same person was a fandom open secret.

The editor of Stardate in April 1976 connects the two names twice in his publication: "Johnston, who puts out SPECTRUM under the alias of M.J. Fisher (see the fanzine reviews), recently wrote these interesting remarks in response to some inquiries on my part concerning fanzine reviewing..." And: "I really wasn't fair to M.J. (alias Jeff Johnston) last issue, and this issue of SPECTRUM makes me swallow my words emphatically." [3]

Up to issue #32 of "Spectrum," "M.L. Fisher is listed as the editor and publisher. From #33 onward, the publisher is listed as Kzinti Press.

From Joan Verba in Boldly Writing: "Edited by Jeff Johnston (whose pen name was M. J. Fisher), [Spectrum] contained mostly editorial matter, but it was always interesting."

Jeff, in Some of His Own Words

Jeff wrote of his interest in fandom and of the birth of Star Wars fandom in Alderaan #5 in 1979:

I have an interest in fandoms of all sorts. Even if the theme of certain fandoms does not appeal to me, then at least I still have something in common with the fans. All fans, no matter which fandom they belong to, share a bond of kinship. Fandoms unite all fen to a degree. I've never been able to explain this, and I have long ago stopped trying to come up with "the" definition of fandom. Fandoms are unique—even weird—in many ways. In my own personal experience, some of my worst adventures, as well as some of my best have been through my involvement in fandoms. This nagging elusiveness and indefinability have helped keep me in confusion ever since I discovered fans back in 1969. The chance to see and to be involved in a new fandom is as exciting for me as being able to relive the excitement I felt during the first moon landing ten years ago. By the time I became active in Trek fandom in 1973 (which was the same year I became a passifan in SF fandom) ST fandom was already well-developed. I never had the opportunity to see how it was that ST fandom grew. Even if Trek fandom had begun in '73, I still wouldn't have seen it all from my vantage point as a neofan. I would have lacked all of the necessary contacts and knowledge to see what was happening. I had that information to draw upon in 1977, and some of what I saw did surprise me. [4]

SekWester*Con, The Mimeo Machine, and "The Cage"

When Jeff attended SeKWester*Con, Too (1977), he brought his trusty mimeo and created a zine in four days:

... many people were interested in how to make their own fanzines, so Jeff, the editor of the zine 'Spectrum' volunteered to create the zine, The Cage at the con so that those attending the convention could see a mimeographed fanzine being put together before their very eyes. It took all four days of the con. (The result was 41 pages, printed on Jeff's machine. There were a variety of contributions—stories, articles, satires written under pseudonyms (one of which was "Su Do Nims"), plus an honest-to-goodness Mary Sue story.) [5]



Zines Johnston Published

Other Zine Contributions



  1. ^ from Comlink #30
  2. ^ from the editorial in issue #18
  3. ^ from Stardate #8
  4. ^ an excerpt from Who Comes With Summer (1979)
  5. ^ from Boldly Writing