Subject: Campbell
as related by Lee Gold



Back in 1969, Worldcon (and Westercon, that year) as run by Donaho, Rogers and Stark was at the Claremont in Berkeley. One night, I ran into John W. Campbell, Jr., editor of Astounding Science Fiction/Analog, surrounded by a group of admiring fen. (I'd met him back in 1960 when I visited New York and worked up the nerve to call the ASF office -- and found myself being scheduled with a chat with the editor.)
So I wandered over and found Campbell patiently saying, "OK, I'll say it again. Boston has two railway stations. One is the largest railway station on the East Coast, but it's not the largest railway station in Boston."
People made various guesses and got told they were wrong. He repeated the problem. After a bit, I said, "Mr. Campbell, is the reason that the railway station isn't the *largest* railway station in Boston is that there are only TWO railway stations -- and so it's the *larger* railway station."
"At last," he cried out. "Someone who knows English grammar."
So I gave him a copy of the current issue of my fanzine, THE THIRD FOUNDATION, and told him he might be interested in the article on THE UNIVERSITY OF STEF. (Which we'd started after I'd heard a TV commentator refer to Ray Bradbury as "the Dean of American Science Fiction" and found myself crying out: "Nonsense, Heinlein is the Dean of American Science Fiction. Bradbury's a guest lecturer in Gothic Literature." After which, my friends and I had attempted to fully staff the Unviersity (with Campbell as head of the Engineering Department and Bradbury as a guest lecturer from Miskatonic).
The next day, Peg Campbell sought me out to tell me that her husband had spent half the night reading the article, and chuckling over what departments we'd assigned various authors.
I never saw him again. We heard about his death at Torcon.