There’s this thing I call competence cascades, whereby if a fandom encourages skillsets people acquire those skills and then the whole thing escalates — one of the examples is monster makeups. And he said, “of course, one of those skills is the ability to navigate corpuses of work.” Back in the early eighties I’d invented the concept of the Big Dumb Object, the setting that’s also a plot macguffin and also creates the mood of the story, things like Rama or the Ringworld, so on this train journey he said, “oh, you might as well call them Big Dumb Narrrative Objects, like the DC and Marvel Universes.” And then he said, “of course, I suppose by now the DC and Marvel Universes are the largest narrative constructs of human culture.” “By George,” I said. “I think you’re on to something there. I might write a book about that sometime, unless you regard that idea as totally yours.” He said he’d never be interested in doing that, so he was fine. And Superheroes is the book. You see, what Sturgeon’s Law that 90% of everything is crud fails to pick up on is the fact that the crud, that 90% is what the 10% grows out of, like manure. Good stories are often arguments with bad stories.