Bewildering Stories biography
A personality or biography article presumes that one knows who one is. As we shall see, that may not always be the case...
As founding conceptualizer of Bewildering Stories — I resist being called father, saying, If I’m the father, where’s the ... mother?! — I feel I should contribute something more than the tidbits you can glean from Last and First Names. Herewith the result, and every word of it is true. It may even shed some light on the primordial origins of our now-famous Bewildering Stories webzine.
For the more serious-minded readers, here’s a curriculum vitae of sorts.
Don Webb is a teacher of French language and literature. B.A., Dartmouth College; Ph. D., University of Wisconsin. Major: French; minor: German. Thesis: Jean Jacques Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Héloïse. Most of his career was spent at California State University, Sacramento.
Ten years moonlighting as a professional translator of French and Italian.
He is currently semi-retired and teaches an on-line course in French for Reading Comprehension and, occasionally, French for Listening Comprehension at the University of Guelph, in Ontario.
I realize that the grand public of the Analog and Asimov’s forums has been asking itself for a long time now why I sign myself Don W. Why not Don Webb? they surely clamor. Its short, easy to type, a nice name... great for ordering pizza.
Yas. All that is quite true. The trouble is, its too nice a name. Oh, I have been called the don of the Web. Flattered, Im sure. But I was one-upped in advance years ago by the old Net joke: If Umberto Eco were a Mafia don, hed make you an offer you cant understand. Umberto Eco and a Mafia don I am not, but that last I can handle.
Too many people already have a piece of my action, although the pizza occasionally arrives intact. A Net search reveals that I am an entomologist, which is an admirable specialty. I am also a writer of occult fiction and have apparently written an exciting, fast-paced science-fiction mystery novel that contains some gratuitous sex scenes. I am all the more tempted to read it now that we have published an exciting, fast-paced truly Bewildering story sent to us by the same, real Don Webb.
Don with his snow shovel
I am also a famous actor. My dentist went to see a stage play starring Donald Sutherland. Who no sooner made his entrance than she exclaimed, Thats Don Webb! Now I know Im somebody. I think.
I have at least one Doppelgänger, a mirror image of myself. The first time I met myself, I saw me in a parking lot, getting out of a car. I was searching for a slot and, by the time I circled back to confront me and ask me, Who am I, and what am I doing here? I had disappeared.
The second time, my parents saw me at a shopping mall. They were amazed, because they had just left me at home. They went up to me and asked what I was doing there and how had I teleported there so quickly. After a pleasant exchange they and I parted ways amicably although in a cloud of mutual befuddlement. Typical me.
The third time I saw me again in a parking lot. This time I was getting out of a pickup truck I dont have. But again I got away before I could stop and make my acquaintance.
In the meantime, I began getting strange phone calls: ex-girlfriends I never had; credit-card companies; collection agencies... And finally a gravelly-voiced character named Muggsy talking about a past-due loan...
Now hear this: You people out there with my name, clean up our act!