RARA-AVIS: Avram Davidson: Moore

From: foxbrick ( foxbrick@yahoo.com)
Date: 28 May 2008

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Moore" <moorich@...> wrote:
> Just read this as I have been offline for a few days. I too am a
> little puzzled as to why Avram Davidson's CRIMES AND CHAOS has
> remained out of print when other works by him have been
published. I
> would guess that the mainstream publishers did not see enough
> of the St. Martin collections to justify going deeper into his
> backlist. The small publishers are typically oriented toward
> specific genres. CRIMES AND CHAOS being true crime would not fit
> list of the SF, fantasy or mystery small press publishers.

Happily, Davidson's fiction published in COMMENTARY and other Jewish magazines, most of which predates his work for F&SF and EQMM and other fantastic-fiction and crime-fiction digests, found a publisher: EVERYBODY HAS SOMEBODY IN HEAVEN (Devora, 2000).

> I was interested in your statement that THE ENQUIRIES OF DOCTOR
> ESTERHAZY is Davidson's magnum opus and that MASTERS OF THE MAZE
> his most successful novel. I agree with the opinion on the
> series, wonderfully textured stories, but I thought mine was a
> minority viewpoint. As to the novel MASTERS OF THE MAZE, I read
> when it was a new paperback from Pryamid more than forty years ago
> and felt it captured an alien viewpoint or strangeness as well as
> anything I had ever read. I seem to recall that critics of the
> felt it began quite well but lost steam by the last half. It is a
> novel I need to reread.

More true, I'd say, of THE PHOENIX AND THE MIRROR and most of Davidson's other novels of the 1960s...though, I too, have yet to read the reassembled SCARLET FIG or the central volume of the trilogy. I've yet to read Davidson's two Ellery Queen ghost-jobs yet, too. His novel in collaboration with Grania Davis, MARCO POLO AND THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, and the his first novel, the collaboration with Ward Moore, JOYLEG, don't suffer nearly as much from Having Sold It on Chapters and Outline I Now Must Finish The Damned Thing Syndrome.

Todd Mason

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