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Comment: This hardcover book was published in 1998 by Tor Books with 447 pages. The text is unmarked. The binding is tight. The dust jacket is unclipped but moderately worn around the edges with several small closed tears, a few scratches and impression marks. The foredge has one medium sized soil spot.
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The Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection Hardcover – September 15, 1998

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312867298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312867294
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,294,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The Avram Davidson Treasury may be the most satisfying short-story collection of the decade. Davidson (1923-1993), one of science fiction and fantasy's greatest writers, was "a master shaper of small stories," writes Alan Dean Foster in his introduction to "Or the Grasses Grow." Foster is joined in introducing the stories by dozens of extraordinary authors, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Gene Wolfe, William Gibson, Poul Anderson, and many others. Davidson was clearly adored, and often emulated, despite his reputation for being somewhat curmudgeonly. His mastery of language was exquisite, and his stories glittered like diamonds. Each of the 38 tales in this collection spanning five decades is a self-contained wonderland. One of the most famous (and most often plagiarized) short stories in science fiction appears here: "Or All the Seas with Oysters," tells of slightly sinister safety pin pupae, coat hanger larvae, and bicycle adults in a world where machines are more than they seem.

Of "Dagon," John Clute writes, "It is as vicious as the world of a fish, and wise. It is masterly.... it cannot be read. It can only be re-read." On the surface, this is the story of an American military officer in Peking in 1945, but lurking underneath are ancient gods, Chinese magicians, and the obscene torpor of hell. As Ray Bradbury writes in his afterword, "Many of these stories are complete mysteries, puzzles. Avram Davidson starts us in a fog and lets us orient ourselves slowly.... His knack for a proper pace is that of a true teller of tales." But all of Davidson's stories aren't dark--far from it. He was a satirical genius, able to poke fun at sacred cows and turn a comic phrase with the best of them. Some of these stories will make you laugh out loud.

To the fan of great literary short fiction: Don't skip over this deeply fulfilling treasury because Avram Davidson was "only" a science fiction author. He's been compared to Rudyard Kipling, Saki, John Collier, and G.K. Chesterton, if you need a literary excuse.

And to the science fiction or fantasy fan: This amazing and creative Hugo, Edgar, and World Fantasy Award winner, nominated for seven Nebula Awards by his fellow writers, will astound and amaze you. --Therese Littleton

From Booklist

Containing 38 of Davidson's best pieces of short fiction and story-introductory tributes to him by nearly that many of his colleagues, this is necessarily a stout volume. Since Davidson possessed a willingness to listen only to his muse and an almost stereotypical lack of business sense, much of his work was out of print before his death in 1993. For readers who may not have heard of any of the stories herein except "Or All the Seas with Oysters" and "Manatee Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight?" this book contains revelations. It is a safe bet that it will be a pleasure to almost all readers, even if no two of them end up with the same listing of favorite stories. Davidson had one of the most original imaginations in the history of American sf and fantasy--genres he did not worry much about distinguishing from each other--and deserves to be enjoyed by generations of ordinary readers rather than left to the dubious mercy of sf academics. Roland Green

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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And the stories are the only real reason to buy and exult in this book.
Richard R. Horton
Davidson is easily one of the best writers SF has produced, and this collection is filled with masterpiece after masterpiece after stunning masterpiece.
Michael Kozlowski
I was able to renew my acquaintance with some of the delightful stories I had first read ten to twenty-five years ago.
Paul Brooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By silt on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
I hate some of the stories in this book; the remainder leave me gibbering with awestruck, overwhelmed delight. The specific stories a reader might revile or adore (or both) will vary. It's a huge, manifold collection of shorts by one of the best writers in English from...
OK, I'm hesitant to say, "the last century" or "the century recently passed", partly because that's awfully goofy, and partly because I'm not near well-read enough to make such claims with authority. I'm gonna say it anyway. I stumbled upon a copy of a long out of print and svelter collection of Davidson's work (Or All The Seas With Oysters...) at fourteen and I've never been quite the same. He's not the writer whose works I wish I could have written: he is the writer whose works I would have wished I could have written had I been the writer I wished I could have been.
(we see why a writer I am not, Yoda knowingly says)
Davidson had a dear whimsy, a weariness, and a bite that was, dare I say it, very Jewish. When I (re)read his stories I feel as if I (an agnostic Gentile) have magically been allowed to understand & overhear the Yiddish folk yarns the kindly, crusty grandfather spins for the kids while the middle generation shouts in the background.
Davidson wrote as well as Singer. Perhaps better, at his best. No small praise; I know what I am claiming. Do not allow my muddy writing dissuade any reader from buying and luxuriating in this important collection.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on December 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Avram Davidson died in 1993. He was, as so often said, one of the great originals. His writing was elegant and complex: always adapted to the voices of his narrators and characters, always at some level humorous even when telling a dark story. He was one of those writers whose stories were always enjoyable just for wallowing in the prose: for its sprung rhythms and fine, out of the way, images. And his stories were enjoyable for wallowing in the atmosphere: for its evocation of exotic place-times, whether it be late '50s New York City or early '70s Belize or turn of the century Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania or far future Barnum's Planet, and for its evocation of exotic world-views, and the packing and repacking of wondrous, seemingly inconsequential (though rarely truly so) tidbits of history and unhistory into the backgrounds. And his best stories took these characteristics and harnessed them in the service of well-honed themes or (sometimes) clever plots.
This collection is organized as a retrospective, with the selections placed in order of first appearance. This is, I think, an excellent choice for any collection of this magnitude in that it allows the interested reader to try to track evolutions in the writer's style and thematic concerns over time. (I would suggest, perhaps, that the older Davidson was more prone to explorations of esoterica than the younger, and less often openly angry. Throughout his career he was ready with the comic touch, even in the midst of a darker context. His style was always special, but perhaps grew more involved as he grew older.)
Another feature of this collection is the introductions, by many of Davidson's friends: mostly fellow authors and editors, but also his bibliographer, Henry Wessels, and his son.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scipio on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I read a particularly good short story I look back and try to imprint the author's name on my memory (nowadays with mixed results). As far as science fiction & fantasy goes, the first time this happened was with a story by Avram Davidson, many years ago. As time went by I would notice his name on several memorable works. To say he had a style all his own is not quite right, since he actually had several styles, all fascinating. What I didn't know until fairly recently was that AD was surprisingly obscure, considering his amazing talent and prolificacy (try searching for his work on Amazon).

This collection brings together much of his finest short stories. Each one is chosen and introduced by another writer - Avram was evidently an author's author. While I probably would have made a few different choices, I was grateful to be able to experience many excellent works that I had never seen before. Chances are, even if you're an old Davidson fan, you'll find a few stories that are new to you as well. You would have to search far and wide - and at great expense - to replicate this compilation.

The collection is too long and varied to elaborate on the individual pieces, but suffice it to say, reading Davidson is a real joy. The quality of the story and the effortless technique are something you will see very rarely. The downside of reading a collection like this (are there any like this?) is that it spoils you. Afterwards, most other writers seem flat and uninspired by comparison.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Rouleau on August 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Someone once wrote of Shirley Jackson that she never wrote a bad sentence. The same could be said of Avram Davidson. Although I am not familiar with his longer work, his shorter works are finely polished gems that unwind (to mix a metaphor or two) beautifully. Introduction after introduction uses the words "overlooked" and "underappreciated" a depressing number of times. And, since this is only the 3rd review of this book on Amazon, it doesn't look like Avram is going to become famous again anytime soon. Which is too bad, because his stories are decidedly modern in their execution. What I mean is: a lot of genre stories (mystery, sci-fi, fantasy) don't age well. Rereading older stories by Asimov, Heinlein, Kornbluth, et. al, sometimes causes a gut reaction of "Wow, I can't believe people published this stuff." Not so with this collection. Any one of these stories could be dusted off and published in any modern literary collection with no embarrassment whatsoever. This stuff is GOOD.
Buy, enjoy.
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