Steve Johnson

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(Did you mean the Steve Johnson in Oregon?)


(1956 –)

Steve Johnson, a Midwestern fan, was one of the founders of General Technics at Windycon II. He also served as an editor of and contributor to the DePaul University fanzine, Effen Essef.

Steve's fannish history is entwined with General Technics, DePaul's club, and Chicago-area fandom, but he has semi-gafiated, with occasional attendance at the General Technics Berserkers and other activities, regional conventions, and by passing the torch to his children who have developed close friendships with fannish friends Tullio Proni, Amy Ranger, and many others.

While at DePaul, Steve arranged for an on-campus speaker series with Chicago-area authors, conducted clandestine traversals of the university's steam tunnels, built blinkies and at least three robots in the Physics department machine shop, and organized an effort, with the science fiction club, to refurbish DePaul's telescope and observatory. Those efforts included Jeff Duntemann, Jim Fuerstenberg, Tullio Proni and many others. In celebration of the completion of the effort, Phil Foglio drew posters for a comet observation party. With his Physics advisor, Steve modelled the Klemperer Rosette from Larry Niven's Ringworld series using algorithms they developed for that purpose.

One of the robots was a rudimentary R2-D2 built by Steve and Tullio Proni using "found" materials. This robot was ready the night after the premier of Star Wars - A New Hope and served to get free admission to area theaters for Steve and many, many friends in the coming months. This also led to a visit by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford while they were on a publicity trip through the Chicago area.

While at DePaul, Steve provided equipment for a Moopsball game with the unwitting participation of the DePaul University athletic department. The game, organized by organized by Bill Higgins, Barry Gehm and Renee Sieber, involved fans from all over the Midwest. The Michigan State University team, The Professor George Edward Challenger Memorial Tectonic Plate Pushing and Freestyle Dinosaur Wrestling Team, prevailed.

After DePaul, Steve attended graduate school at Ohio State University, where he met and later married Carol Schmidt, the president of OSU's science fiction club, the Terran League. Their marriage was a majority fannish event, with over a hundred fans in attendance and camping out for the party afterwards. Steve persuaded John Williams to contribute the orchestral score for the Star Wars throne room scene to use as processional music.

Once they finished their graduate degrees, Steve and Carol would later move around the country, becoming more or less involved in Midwestern fandom as distances shrank and grew. For 12 years, they lived in Kalamazoo, and once again became very involved in General Technics, and other fan activities.

While in Kalamazoo, Steve was active in Critter Crunch competitions at Midwestern conventions, helping to mentor young participants and frequently winning these competitions with them. Steve was also a member of a local singing group, which performed John Williams' "Duel of the Fates" at a concert of movie music. The R2-D2 (see above) carried a miniature light sabre onto the stage for the conductor's use during the performance.

Steve and Carol have lived in Southern California since 2003, where they have utterly failed to penetrate Los Angeles fandom circles.



Person 1956
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