Overview


Avram Davidson was one of the great original American writers of this century. He was erudite, cranky, Jewish, wildly creative, and sold most of his wonderful stories to pulp magazines. They are wonderful.

Now his estate and his friends have brought together a definitive collection of his finest work, each story introduced by an SF luminary: writers like Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Poul Anderson, Gene Wolfe, Guy Davenport, Peter S. ...
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The Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection

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Overview


Avram Davidson was one of the great original American writers of this century. He was erudite, cranky, Jewish, wildly creative, and sold most of his wonderful stories to pulp magazines. They are wonderful.

Now his estate and his friends have brought together a definitive collection of his finest work, each story introduced by an SF luminary: writers like Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, Poul Anderson, Gene Wolfe, Guy Davenport, Peter S. Beagle, Gregory Benford, Thomas M. Disch, and dozens of others. This is a volume every lover of fantasy will need to own.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
According to Silverberg, Davidson was one of the finest short story writers ever to use the English language; Gardner Dozois ranks him with the likes of Saki and John Collier. The stories collected here bear witness to the truth of these statements. Davidson wrote stories in Yiddish until 1954, when his first stories in English appeared. He died in 1993, still writing, after a career that spanned four decades and produced outstanding works in each. During the course of his career he won the Hugo Award (voted on by the fans of science fiction), The Edgar Award for best mystery, the Ellery Queen Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. And as if that were not enough, he was nominated for seven Nebula Awards (voted on by science fiction writers) and another four World Fantasy Awards. Thirty-eight of these stories appear here-all of them award winners, nominated for awards, or chosen to appear in "Best of" collections. Each story is introduced by well-known authors including Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, William Gibson, Peter S. Beagle, Kate Wilhelm, Gene Wolfe, and Alan Dean Foster. The work is arranged by decades: "The Fifties," "The Sixties," "The Seventies," and "The Eighties and Nineties." There are two forewords, one by Silverberg, and one by Davis who at one time was married to Davidson and remained close to him even after she remarried. Afterwords are provided by Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. In sum, this collection contains mysteries, fantasies, science fiction, and fiction stories that for the most part are brief and to the point. It is a brilliant collection and a loving tribute to an extraordinary author-witty, literate, stylistically challenging, and rewarding to read. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being better written, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12 and adults).
Kirkus Reviews
All agree that Davidson (1923þ93) was a gifted and technically accomplished writer with a good ear for dialogue. He won awards in several categories and genres: a Hugo, an Ellery Queen, an Edgar, and a Howard (world fantasy), and he also edited The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, 1962þ64. These 37 tales, arranged in four sections by decade (beginning in the 1950s, ending with the 1980s/þ90s), with each introduced by a more or less famous writer or luminary (such as Gregory Benford, Damon Knight, John Clute, and Ursula K. LeGuin), offer an excellent overview of his output. Many, indeed, are famous, often reprinted, and have appeared in previous anthologies or single-author collections. If some of Davidson's ideas seem familiar today, that's because he invented or reinvented many of them, or adopted an independent and unexpected approach. Some of his most cherished tales, reprinted here: "The Golem," offering Davidson's own slant on the traditional Jewish legend; "Now Let Us Sleep," a devastating commentary on racism; and his most famous yarn, "Or All the Seas with Oysters,"explaining why safety pins and coat hangers disappear. Other immediately recognizable titles include "The Goobers," "Goslin Day," "The Tail-tied Kings," "Take Wooden Indians," "Author, Author," and "Dagon." There are two afterwords that really aren't: Ray Bradbury's is a recycled introduction to a Davidson collection that appeared 25 years ago; and Harlan Ellison's, penned in 1993 after receiving news of Davidson's death, is more revealing of Ellison than of Davidson. Dense, erudite, and literary, these stories seem destined to find a small but highly appreciative audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429972673
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 445,924
  • File size: 627 KB

Meet the Author


Avram Davidson was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1923. After spending some time at New York University, he served in the Marines from 1942 till 1946--and again saw action during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. For two years in the early 1960s, Davidson edited Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. He earned awards and accolades throughout his life for his SF writing, including the Hugo Award, the Edgar Award, the Ellery Queen Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Davidson died in 1993.
 Harlan Ellison has written or edited 75 books and more than 1700 stories, essays, articles, and newspaper columns as well as two dozen teleplays and a dozen motion pictures.  He won the Hugo award nine times, the Nebula award three times, the Bram Stoker award six times (including The Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996), the Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America twice, the Georges Méliès fantasy film award twice, and was awarded the Silver Pen for Journalism by PEN, the international writer’s union. Harlan has garnered two Audie Awards for the best in audio recordings.  Along with Stefan Rudnicki and other narrators, Harlan read the 20th anniversary edition of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, published by Macmillan Audio.
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Read an Excerpt


  THE FIFTIESMy Boy Friend’s Name Is JelloINTRODUCTION BY ROBERT SILVERBERGThis little story was the science-fiction world’s introduction to the art of Avram Davidson. It occupied just four pages of the July, 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which then was an elegant and fastidious publication edited by the elegant and fastidious Anthony Boucher, a connoisseur of fine wines and opera and mystery stories and fantasy, and his colleague J. Francis McComas. Boucher’s brief introduction to the story went like this:
Avram Davidson, scholar and critic, has the most beautiful beard that has ever visited our office, and one of the most attractively wide-ranging minds, full of fascinating lore on arcane and unlikely subjects. For his first fiction outside of specialized Jewish publications, he takes his theme from an offtrail branch of folklore, the baffling rime-games sung by little girls, with distinctive and delightful results.
Thus the new author was placed perfectly for us as he actually was: the bearded scholar with the wide-ranging off-beat mind. And Avram did the rest, with the dazzling opening paragraph that (while seeming to be bewilderingly diffuse) actually communicates a dozen different significant things about the narrator and his predicament, and then, deftly leading us onward through one circumlocution after another, depositing us less than two thousand words later at the sharply ironic final moment.It was all there, right at the outset: the cunning narrative strategy, the mannered prose, the flourish of esoteric erudition, the sly wit, all done up in a four-page marvel of a story. Surely we all saw, right away, that a stream of further masterpieces would follow this introductory tidbit. Surely we did: surely. Oh, Avram, Avram, what a wonder you were!
MY BOY FRIEND’S NAME IS JELLO
FASHION, NOTHING BUT FASHION. Virus X having in the medical zodiac its course half i-run, the physician (I refuse to say “doctor” and, indeed, am tempted to use the more correct “apothecary”)—the physician, I say, tells me I have Virus Y. No doubt in the Navy it would still be called Catarrhal Fever. They say that hardly anyone had appendicitis until Edward VII came down with it a few weeks before his coronation, and thus made it fashionable. He (the medical man) is dosing me with injections of some stuff that comes in vials. A few centuries ago he would have used herbal clysters … . Where did I read that old remedy for the quinsy (“putrescent sore throat,” says my dictionary)? Take seven weeds from seven meads and seven nails from seven steeds. Oh dear, how my mind runs on. I must be feverish. An ague, no doubt.Well, rather an ague than a pox. A pox is something one wishes on editors … strange breed, editors. The females all have names like Lulu Ammabelle Smith or Minnie Lundquist Bloom, and the males have little horns growing out of their brows. They must all be Quakers, I suppose, for their letters invariably begin, “Dear Richard Roe” or “Dear John Doe,” as if the word mister were a Vanity … when they write at all, that is; and meanwhile Goodwife Moos calls weekly for the rent. If I ever have a son (than which nothing is more unlikely) who shows the slightest inclination of becoming a writer, I shall instantly prentice him to a fishmonger or a Master Chimney Sweep. Don’t write about Sex, the editors say, and don’t write about Religion, or about History. If, however, you do write about History, be sure to add Religion and Sex. If one sends in a story about a celibate atheist, however, do you think they’ll buy it?In front of the house two little girls are playing one of those clap-handie games. Right hand, left hand, cross hands on bosom, left hand, right hand … it makes one dizzy to watch. And singing the while:
My boy friend’s name is Jello,
He comes from Cincinello,
With a pimple on his nose
And three fat toes;
And that’s the way my story goes!
There is a pleasing surrealist quality to this which intrigues me. In general I find little girls enchanting. What a shame they grow up to be big girls and make our lives as miserable as we allow them, and oft-times more. Silly, nasty-minded critics, trying to make poor Dodgson a monster of abnormality, simply because he loved Alice and was capable of following her into Wonderland. I suppose they would have preferred him to have taken a country curacy and become another Pastor Quiverful. A perfectly normal and perfectly horrible existence, and one which would have left us all still on this side of the looking glass.Whatever was in those vials doesn’t seem to be helping me. I suppose old Dover’s famous Powders hadn’t the slightest fatal effect on the germs, bacteria, or virus (viri?), but at least they gave one a good old sweat (ipecac) and a mild, non-habit-forming jag (opium). But they’re old-fashioned now, and so there we go again, round and round, one’s train of thought like a Japanese waltzing mouse. I used to know a Japanese who—now, stop that. Distract yourself. Talk to the little girls …Well, that was a pleasant interlude. We discussed (quite gravely, for I never condescend to children) the inconveniences of being sick, the unpleasantness of the heat; we agreed that a good rain would cool things off. Then their attention began to falter, and I lay back again. Miss Thurl may be in soon. Mrs. Moos (perfect name, she lacks only the antlers) said, whilst bringing in the bowl of slops which the medicine man allows me for victuals, said, My Sister Is Coming Along Later And She’s Going To Fix You Up Some Nice Flowers. Miss Thurl, I do believe, spends most of her time fixing flowers. Weekends she joins a confraternity of over-grown campfire girls and boys who go on hiking trips, comes back sunburned and sweating and carrying specimen samples of plant and lesser animal life. However, I must say for Miss Thurl that she is quiet. Her brother-in-law, the bull-Moos, would be in here all the time if I suffered it. He puts stupid quotations in other people’s mouths. He will talk about the weather and I will not utter a word, then he will say, Well, It’s Like You Say, It’s Not The Heat But The Humidity.Thinking of which, I notice a drop in the heat, and I see it is raining. That should cool things off. How pleasant. A pity that it is washing away the marks of the little girls’ last game. They played this one on the sidewalk, with chalked-out patterns and bits of stone and broken glass. They chanted and hopped back and forth across the chalkmarks and shoved the bits of stone and glass—or were they potshards—“potsie” from potshard, perhaps? I shall write a monograph, should I ever desire a Ph.D. I will compare the chalkmarks with Toltec emblems and masons’ marks and the signs which Hindoo holy men smear on themselves with wood ashes and perfumed cow dung. All this passes for erudition.I feel terrible, despite the cool rain. Perhaps without it, I should feel worse.Miss Thurl was just here. A huge bowl of blossoms, arranged on the table across the room. Intricately arranged, I should say; but she put some extra touches to it, humming to herself. Something ever so faintly reminiscent about that tune, and vaguely disturbing. Then she made one of her rare remarks. She said that I needed a wife to take care of me. My blood ran cold. An icy sweat (to quote Catullus, that wretched Priapist), bedewed my limbs. I moaned. Miss Thurl at once departed, murmuring something about a cup of tea. If I weren’t so weak I’d knot my bedsheets together and escape. But I am terribly feeble.It’s unmanly to weep … .Back she came, literally poured the tea down my throat. A curious taste it had. Sassafrass? Bergamot? Mandrake root? It is impossible to say how old Miss Thurl is. She wears her hair parted in the center and looped back. Ageless … ageless …I thank whatever gods may be that Mr. Ahyellow came in just then. The other boarder (upstairs), a greengrocer, decent fellow, a bit short-tempered. He wished me soon well. He complained he had his own troubles, foot troubles … I scarcely listened, just chattered, hoping the Thurl would get her hence … . Toes … something about his toes. Swollen, three of them, quite painful. A bell tinkled in my brain. I asked him how he spelt his name. A-j-e-l-l-o. Curious, I never thought of that. Now, I wonder what he could have done to offend the little girls? Chased them from in front of his store, perhaps. There is a distinct reddish spot on his nose. By tomorrow he will have an American Beauty of a pimple.Fortunately he and Miss Thurl went out together. I must think this through. I must remain cool. Aroint thee, thou mist of fever. This much is obvious: There are sorcerers about. Sorceresses, I mean. The little ones made rain. And they laid a minor curse on poor Ajello. The elder one has struck me in the very vitals, however. If I had a cow it would doubtless be dry by this time. Should I struggle? Should I submit? Who knows what lies behind those moss-colored eyes, what thoughts inside the skull covered by those heavy tresses? Life with Mr. and Mrs. Moos is—even by itself—too frightful to contemplate. Why doesn’t she lay her traps for Ajello? Why should I be selected as the milk-white victim for the Hymeneal sacrifice? Useless to question. Few men have escaped once the female cast the runes upon them. And the allopath has nothing in his little black bag, either, which can cure.Blessed association of words! Allopath—Homeopath—homoios, the like, the same, pathos, feeling, suffering—similia similibus curantur—The little girls are playing beneath my window once more, clapping hands and singing. Something about a boy friend named Tony, who eats macaroni, has a great big knife and a pretty little wife, and will always lead a happy life … that must be the butcher opposite; he’s always kind to the children … . Strength, strength! The work of a moment to get two coins from my wallet and throw them down. What little girl could resist picking up a dime which fell in front of her? “Cross my palm with silver, pretty gentleman!”—eh? And now to tell them my tale …I feel better already. I don’t think I’ll see Miss Thurl again for a while. She opened the door, the front door, and when the children had sung the new verse she slammed the door shut quite viciously.It’s too bad about Ajello, but every man for himself.Listen to them singing away, bless their little hearts! I love little girls. Such sweet, innocent voices.
My boy friend will soon be healthy.
He shall be very wealthy.
No woman shall harry
Or seek to marry;
Two and two is four, and one to carry!
It will be pleasant to be wealthy, I hope. I must ask Ajello where Cincinello is.Copyright © 1998 by Grania Davis
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Table of Contents


Foreword by Robert Silverman
Foreword by Grania Davis

The Fifties
My Boy Friend's Name Is Jello
The Golem
The Necessity of His Condition
Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper
Now Let Us Sleep
Or the Grasses Grow
Or All the Seas with Oysters
Take Wooden Indians
Author, Author
Dagon
Ogre in the Vly
The Woman Who Thought She Could Read

The Sixties
Where Do You Live, Queen Esther?
The Sources of the Nile
The Affair at Lahore Cantonment
Revolver
The Tail-Tied Kings
The Price of a Charm; or, the Lineaments of Gratified Desire
Sacheverell
The House the Blakeneys Built
The Goobers
The Power of Every Root

The Seventies
Selectra Six-Ten
Goslin Day
Polly Charms, the Sleeping Woman
And Don't Forget the One Red Rose
Crazy Old Lady
"Hark! Was That the Squeal of an Angry Thoat?"
Manatee Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight
Naples

The Eighties and Nineties
Full Chicken Richness
The Hills Behind Hollywood High
The Slovo Stove
Revenge of the Cat-Lady and The Last Wizard
While You're Up
The Spook-Box of Theobald Delafont De Brooks
Yellow Rome; or, Vergil and the Vestal Virgin

Afterword by Ray Bradbury
Afterword by Harlan Ellison

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First Chapter

CONTENTS
Foreword: Oh, Avram, Avram, What a Wonder You Were! by Robert
Silverberg..........................................................11
Foreword: Starship Avram: A Writers' Memorial Party by Grania
Davis...............................................................17
THE FIFTIES
    My Boy Friend's Name Is Jello  Introduction by Robert
    Silverberg......................................................25
    The Golem  Introduction by Damon Knight.........................30
    The Necessity of His Condition  Introduction by Poul and
    Karen Anderson..................................................37
    Help! I Am Dr. Morris Goldpepper  Introduction by F.
    Gwynplaine MacIntyre............................................46
    Now Let Us Sleep  Introduction by Gregory Benford...............60
    Or the Grasses Grow  Introduction by Alan Dean Foster...........72
    Or All the Seas with Oysters  Introduction by Guy
    Davenport.......................................................80
    Take Wooden Indians  Introduction by John M. Ford...............90
    Author, Author  Introduction by Melisa Michaels................110
    Dagon  Introduction by John Clute..............................124
    Ogre in the Vly  Introduction by Peter S. Beagle...............133
THE SIXTIES
    Where Do You Live, Queen Esther?  Introduction by Kate
    Wilhelm........................................................153
    The Sources of the Nile  Introduction by Gregory Feeley........159
    The Affair at Lahore Cantonment  Introduction and
    afterword by Eileen Gunn.......................................183
    Revolver  Introduction by Bill Pronzini........................195
    The Tail-Tied Kings  Introduction by Frederik Pohl.............205
    The Price of a Charm; or, The Lineaments of Gratified
    Desire  Introduction by Henry Wessells.........................213
    Sacheverell  Introduction by Spider Robinson...................219
    The House the Blakeneys Built  Introduction by Ursula K.
    Le Guin........................................................226
    The Goobers  Introduction by James Gunn........................236
    The Power of Every Root  Introduction by Thomas M. Disch.......244
THE SEVENTIES
    Selectra Six-Ten  Introduction by Ed Ferman....................263
    Goslin Day  Introduction by Jack Dann..........................271
    Polly Charms, the Sleeping Woman  Introduction by Gene
    Wolfe; afterword by Harlan Ellison.............................277
    And Don't Forget the One Red Rose  Introduction by
    Richard A. Lupoff..............................................297
    Crazy Old Lady  Introduction by Ethan Davidson.................302
    "Hark! Was That the Squeal of an Angry Thoat?" 
    Introduction by Mike Resnick...................................306
    Manatee Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight  Introduction by
    Peter S. Beagle; afterword by Lucius Shepard...................315
    Naples  Introduction by William Gibson.........................344
THE EIGHTIES AND NINETIES
    Full Chicken Richness  Introduction and afterword by
    Gardner Dozois.................................................355
    The Hills Behind Hollywood High  Introduction by Grania
    Davis..........................................................365
    The Slovo Stove  Introduction by Michael Swanwick..............382
    Two Short-Shorts: Revenge of the Cat-Lady and The Last
    Wizard  Introduction by F. M. Busby............................402
    While You're Up  Introduction by Forrest J. Ackerman...........409
    The Spook-Box of Theobald Delafont De Brooks 
    Introduction by Algis Budrys...................................412
    Yellow Rome; or, Vergil and the Vestal Virgin 
    Introduction by Darrell Schweitzer; afterword by Ray...........429
Afterword: Night Travel on the Orient Express, Destination:
Avram by Ray Bradbury..............................................442
Afterword: Turn Out the Lights by Harlan Ellison...................445

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