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Johnstone, William W

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1938-2004) US author identified as the author of over 170 novels since his first in 1980, a few of these being as by William Mason; titles after circa 2003 were seemingly written in collaboration; after his death, his name may have been used as a House Name, though more recently the Johnstone series were taken over by J A Johnstone, writing either as in collaboration with Johnstone, or solo. Johnstone was initially best known for Westerns, which he continued to produce; he wrote considerable supernatural Horror in his later career, as well as the Ashes sequence of Survivalist-Fiction military Post-Holocaust sf novels, which began with Out of the Ashes (1983) and terminated thirty-four instalments later with Escape from the Ashes (2003). The premise of the first volume is, perhaps, surprisingly frank: shocked by the imposition of gun controls, and the depredations of Federal government and the unions, a group of patriotic US citizens bring about the nuclear holocaust in the expectation that a better world will, phoenix-style, be born out of the Ashes. If it then proves impossible to establish a Libertarian Utopia in southern America without breaking a few eggs, then – as the remaining volumes of the sequence demonstrate – so be it. Perhaps rather oddly – as Paul Brians notes in Nuclear Holocausts: Atomic War in Fiction, 1895-1984 (1987) – the Utopia created by the main protagonist, General Ben Raines (and his Rebel followers) in the establishing volumes of this sequence constitutes, in fact, a socialism from above, with equality for women, compulsory identity cards, hierarchically controlled worker-ownership of factories, and so forth. The rest of America, now decadently liberal, attempts to destroy the new land; but fails. Later enemies include socialists worldwide, whom the United Nations hires Raines to destroy; the charismatic leader of a fundamentalist Christian sect; and Nazis in Africa. A perfunctory associated series, the Last Rebel sequence, begins with The Last Rebel (2003).

An earlier sequence, the Devil's/Whitfield series beginning with The Devil's Kiss (1980), is supernatural horror. Johnstone's singletons, beginning with Wolfsbane (1982), are also supernatural horror. [JC]

William Wallace Johnstone

born Missouri: 28 October 1938

died Shreveport, Louisiana: 8 February 2004





Rig Warrior

Last Rebel

individual titles

  • Wolfsbane (New York: Zebra Books, 1982) [pb/]
  • The Uninvited (New York: Zebra Books, 1982) [pb/]
  • Crying Shame (New York: Zebra Books, 1983) [pb/]
  • Nursery (New York: Zebra Books, 1983) [pb/]
  • Sweet Dreams (New York: Zebra Books, 1985) [pb/]
  • Cat's Cradle (New York: Zebra Books, 1986) [pb/]
  • Jack-in-the-Box (New York: Zebra Books, 1986) [pb/]
  • Rockinghorse (New York: Zebra Books, 1986) [pb/]
  • Baby Grand (New York: Zebra Books, 1987) with Joseph E Keene [pb/David Mann]
  • Sandman (New York: Zebra Books, 1988) [pb/Richard Newton]
  • Carnival (New York: Zebra Books, 1989) [pb/]
  • Cat's Eye (New York: Zebra Books, 1989) [pb/]
  • Darkly the Thunder (New York: Zebra Books, 1990) [pb/]
  • Watchers in the Woods (New York: Zebra Books, 1991) [pb/]
  • Them (New York: Zebra Books, 1992) [pb/Richard Newton]
  • Bats (New York: Zebra Books, 1993) [pb/]
  • Night Mask (New York: Zebra Books, 1994) [pb/]
  • Hunted (New York: Zebra/Pinnacle, 1995) [pb/]
  • Prey (New York: Zebra/Pinnacle, 1995) [pb/]
  • Breakdown (New York: Zebra/Pinnacle, 1997) [pb/]


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