(August 8, 1920 -- June 28, 2008)
John Bristol Speer was one of the fathers of fandom and perhaps the first really important fanhistorian, writing Up to Now: A History of Science Fiction Fandom as well as the first Fancyclopedia in 1944. In 2004, he was Fan GoH at Noreascon 4 in Boston.
Jack Speer became became a fan around 1935 and was responsible for a long series of firsts:
- Besides writing Up to Now, he developed a system of Numerical Fandoms, which was later expanded by other fan historians such as Robert Silverberg and Ted White.
- He followed Up to Now with Fancyclopedia 1 (updated in the late 50s by Dick Eney as Fancyclopedia 2). Harry Warner, Jr., also a fan historian said that Speer was "the first to stress (fandom's) subcultural aspects.
- Single-handedly, he made fandom's AJs something entirely different from the mundane amateur journalism groups" by introducing the "mailing comment" in the 3rd issue of FAPA.
- At Chicon I, the second Worldcon, Speer distributed a set of science fiction songs he had written, now called filk, as the Science Fiction Song Sheet. They were reprinted under the pseudonym John Bristol in Xenofilkia, as "Various Songs", and "Twilight Prelude".
- Also at Chicon, Speer and Milt Rothman suggested a costume party or masquerade which is still part of Worldcon today.
- After founding editor E. E. Evans stepped down, Speer became the editor of the N3F's Official Organ, The National Fantasy Fan for the remainder of 1945.
- He invented FooFoo.
Originally from Oklahoma, where he started reading sf at in 1928 at age 8. He found fandom through the letter columns of Wonder in the early 30s where he started a correspondence with Don Wollheim. He lived in DC during the War and later moved to the Pacific Northwest before retiring to Albuquerque.
His fanzines included A, Allegory, Antaios, Avalon, Demeter, Deukalion, Eos, Epimetheus, Hesper, Oduooeus, Olympus, One Fingers Number Four Fingers Number One (with F. T. Laney, Charles Burbee, and Walt Leibscher), Phosphor, Photon, Science Fiction Forum, Stefnews, The Stefnews (with John Bristol), Stf and Nonsense (with Dan MacPhail) Sustaining Program, Synapse.
He was a member of FAPA (and was a leading member of the Brain Trust) and served in many offices, and his FAPAzines included Black and White (with Forrest J Ackerman), Blitzkrieg (with Elmer Perdue and Milt Rothman), The Cosmic Circle & Fandom , Decimal Classification for Fantasy Fiction, Full Length Articles, Investigation in Newcastle, Konan, Matters of Opinion, Please Lay This Aside,Ramblings, and To Relive Ten Years!.
Articles about Speer:
- Jack Speer -- Elder God by Bob Tucker.
- The first issue of Lee Hoffman's Fan History in February 1956 was the Jack Speer issue.
- Jack Speer & Fandom
Jack was born in Comanche, Oklahoma. He became a lawyer and after WWII, he began practicing law in Washington State, where he was active in the Democratic Party and served a term in the State House of Representatives. He later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He continued to practice law and served two terms as the judge of the Bernalillo County Small Claims Court.
An obituary by Jon D. Swartz appeared in New Series #18, 3rd quarter, 2008, issue of Scientifiction: The First Fandom Report. Speer was also the subject of a Founding Members article by Swartz in the July, 2017 National Fantasy Fan (IA).
- Read his short history Up To Now for Jack Speer on early fandom -- and on Jack Speer
- For an early short biography, see
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1961 -- Baycon
- 1984 -- Norwescon VII
- 1994 -- Past president of the FWA
- 1995 -- First Fandom Hall of Fame
- 2004 -- Noreascon 4
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