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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 retired and has taught an on-line course in French for Reading Comprehension for several years 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.”

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 and 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.

Titles in boldface are ones frequently cited.

Poetry Translations
Mars Draws Near
Trick or Treat, 2008
I’m All, “And the Night Visitor!”
The Absurd of the Theatre
The Glass Jar Present
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

Arthur Rimbaud, Le Dormeur du val — The Sleeper in the Vale
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 Michael Kandel, Strange Invasion
Claës Lundin, Oxygen and Aromasia: the Future in the Past
Jack McDevitt, Infinity Beach
Ward Moore, Bring the Jubilee
Robert J. Sawyer, Calculating God
Charles Sheffield & Jerry Pournelle, Higher Education
The End of Rationalism? Human Progress in the Novels of Joe Haldeman
Non-Fiction Reviews
Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God (in Cassandra’s Voices)
Lionel Casson, Librairies in the Ancient World
Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (in Cassandra’s Voices)
John Dominic Crossan, God & Empire (in Cassandra’s Voices)
Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead (in Cassandra’s Voices) Margaret MacMillan, The Uses and Abuses of History
James J. O’Donnell, The Ruin of the Roman Empire (in Cassandra’s Voices) Don Webb, Cassandra’s Voices in 2016 (in Cassandra’s Voices)
Articles & Essays
Last and First Names
Santa Claus Died in Lisbon
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
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
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
It Beats As It Sweeps As It Cleans
Science Metaphors
Space Colonies: the Dark Side
First Contact in a Coffee Cup
Voices Bodied and Disembodied

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“It’s in here somewhere...”

Copyright © 2003-present by Don Webb

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