In Heinlein's posthumous The Pursuit of the Pankera the main characters are reading a history of the alternate universe they are in (an alternate universe with Lensmen and Boskone) and encounter an American president with the name "J. Worthington Jones." The characters react with great surprise- but there's no previous or later reference to that name. What am I missing?

From the book:

“Just a moment, sirs. While I didn’t recognize the presidents after the split in ’sixty-five, I did note the name of the president at the date—here— that we left home. A former college professor.”

“Jake Burroughs?”

“No, Zebbie. Jacob would never do a thing like that. J. Worthington Jones.”

“Huh? Infested! Let’s get out of here!”

So someone from their time period, who they know to be a professor, and someone they know to be an alien infiltrator or agent of them.

  • 2
    Just that it's unexpected? Nothing turns up, except a thread where someone else comments it has no apparent referents. A couple of historical figures by that name, but nothing notable about them that I can see. Someone speculates it was supposed to be Neil O'Heret Brain and that usage just didn't get changed.
    – DavidW
    Dec 8, 2023 at 22:54
  • I'll leave this open in the hope that someone comes up with an out of universe answer
    – Andrew
    Dec 9, 2023 at 20:02
  • Probably not a reference to Osmosis Jones... alexcwebbstudios.fandom.com/wiki/… Dec 11, 2023 at 12:53


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