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
"At last," he cried out. "Someone who knows English
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
I never saw him again. We heard about his death at