Bewildering Stories

Don Webb

Bewildering Stories biography

to Bewildering Stories bibliography

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. “It’s short, easy to type, a nice name... great for ordering pizza.”

Yas. All that is quite true. The trouble is, it’s too nice a name. Oh, I have been called “the don of the Web.” Flattered, I’m sure. But I was one-upped in advance years ago by the old Net joke: “If Umberto Eco were a Mafia don, he’d make you an offer you can’t 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 shoveling snow
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, “That’s Don Webb!” Now I know I’m 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 don’t 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!

Bewildering Stories bibliography

Don Webb is Bewildering Stories’ managing editor.
He regularly writes the Readers’ Guides and the Challenges.

Poetry Translations
Mars Draws Near
Trick or Treat, 2008
I’m All, “And the Night Visitor!”
Cyrano de Bergerac, The Other World:
Societies and Governments of the Moon


Jean de La Fontaine, La Cigale et la fourmi
    — The Cricket and the Ant

Frank Wedekind, Der Gefangene — The Prisoner
Prose Fiction Fiction Reviews
Dimmity Dumpling and the Scarlet Cloak
Don’t Get Noticed
The Flying Dutchman of MacKinnon Hall
Gained in Translation
The Inadvertent Intervention of the Floon
Scratch Handicap
Taking Notice
Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity
Tala Bar, Gaia
David Brin, Foundation’s Triumph
Leo Frankowski, Conrad’s Quest for Rubber
Joe Haldeman, The Coming
Michael Kandel, Strange Invasion
Jack McDevitt, Infinity Beach
Ward Moore, Bring the Jubilee
Robert J. Sawyer, Calculating God
Charles Sheffield & Jerry Pournelle, Higher Education
Oxygen and Aromasia: the Future in the Past
The End of Rationalism? Human Progress in the Novels of Joe Haldeman
Articles & Essays
Last and First Names
From Within and Without
Where the Action Is
Where the Action Is: Bridging the Gap
Writing Action and Plot
Narrative Voice
Between Science Fiction and Fantasy, part 1;
    part 2; part 3
Writing Pastiches
On Unchanging Characters
Politics in Literature: Word and Deed
Ideas
A Few of Heinlein’s Novels
Heinlein’s Characters (discussion)
An Explication of “Clocktower Winds”
The “Gauloise” CurtainLe Rideau gaulois
The Beat Goes On
On Starting a Novel
Openings
Space Aliens as Metaphor
Subtlety and Symbol
Invasion from Outer Space
Who’s Your Audience?
When East Isn’t East
What’s in a Title?
Promotion: Three Case Studies
Go Tell the Spartans...
Speedways to Literary Oblivion
Big Beaver Is Watching You
Non-Fiction Reviews
Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead; A Prophet Not Without Honor, part 1; part 2
Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God
Lionel Casson, Librairies in the Ancient World

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“It’s in here somewhere...”


Copyright © 2003-present by Don Webb

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