Avram Davidson Bibliography Creator

Avram Davidson was an American Jewish writer of fantasy fiction, science fiction, and crime fiction, as well as the author of many stories that do not fit into a genre niche. He won a Hugo Award and three World Fantasy Awards in the science fiction and fantasy genre, a World Fantasy Life Achievement award, and a Queen's Award and an Edgar Award in the mystery genre. Davidson edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1962 to 1964. His last novel The Boss in the Wall: A Treatise on the House Devil was completed by Grania Davis and was a Nebula Award finalist in 1998.


Series contributed to

Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction
12. The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 12th Series (1963)
13. The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 13th Series (1964)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 14th Series (1965)


Anthologies edited

Magic for Sale (1983)
Adventures in Unhistory (1991)


Anthologies containing stories by Avram Davidson

The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 4th Series (1955)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 5th Series (1956)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 6th Series (1957)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 7th Series (1958)
A Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1960)
The Fantastic Universe Omnibus (1960)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 12th Series (1963)
Venture Science Fiction 1 (1963)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 13th Series (1964)
Venture Science Fiction 9 (1964)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 14th Series (1965)
An ABC of Science Fiction (1966)
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 15th Series (1966)
The Playboy Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy (1966)
Science Fiction for People Who Hate Science Fiction (1966)
New Worlds of Fantasy (1967)
     aka Step Outside Your Mind
Rod Serling's Devils and Demons (1967)
World's Best Science Fiction 1967 (1967)
     aka World's Best SF 3rd Series
The Hollywood Nightmare (1970)
Partners in Wonder (1971)
The Black Magic Omnibus Volume 2 (1976)
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 2 (1976)
The Year's Finest Fantasy (1978)
Shadows (1978)
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 4 (1978)
The Year's Finest Fantasy Volume 2 (1979)
A Treasury of Modern Fantasy (1981)
The Road to Science Fiction 4 (1982)
Magic for Sale (1983)
100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories (1984)
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 10 (1984)
Universe 15 (1985)
Alfred Hitchcock's Book of Horror Stories Book 5 (1986)
Heroic Visions II (1986)
The Year's Best Science Fiction Third Annual Collection (1986)
Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century (1987)
Tales of the Occult (1989)
Curses (1989)
Borderlands 3 (1991)
100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories (1992)
Inside the Funhouse (1992)
Isaac Asimov's SF-Lite (1993)
Dragons! (1993)
Future Earths : Under South American Skies (1993)
The Norton Book of Science Fiction (1993)
Dinosaurs II (1995)
The Best of Weird Tales (1995)
The Wizards of Odd (1996)
Modern Classics of Fantasy (1997)
Timegates (1997)
The Mammoth Book of Fantasy All-Time Greats (1998)
     aka The Fantasy Hall of Fame
The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy (1998)
The Young Oxford Book of Aliens (1998)
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Ten (1999)
The Mammoth Book of Seriously Comic Fantasy (1999)
The Furthest Horizon (2000)
Aliens Among Us (2000)


Short stories

My Boy Friend's Name is Jello (1954)
The Golem (1955)
King's Evil (1956)
Help! I Am Dr Morris Goldpepper (1957)
Jury-Rig (1957)
Mr Stilwell's Stage (1957)
The Necessity of His Condition (1957)
Negra Sum (1957)
Now Let Us Sleep (1957)
Summerland (1957)
The Bounty Hunter (1958)
The Grantha Sighting (1958)
Great is Diana (1958)
I Do Not Hear You, Sir (1958)
Or All the Seas with Oysters [short story] (1958)Hugo
Or the Grasses Grow (1958)
Paramount Ulj (1958)
Author, Author (1959)
The Certificate (1959)
Dagon (1959)
Love Called This Thing (1959) (with Laura Goforth)
The Montevarde Camera (1959)
No Fire Burns (1959)
The Ogre (1959)
Ogre in the Vly (1959)
The Sensible Man (1959)
Take Wooden Indians (1959)
The Woman Who Thought She Could Read (1959)
Apres Nous (1960)
Climacteric (1960)
Fair Trade (1960)
The Sixth Season (1960)
The Sources of the Nile (1960)
Yo-Ho, and Up (1960)
The Cost of Kent Castwell (1961)
Dragon Skin Drum (1961)
The Teeth of Despair (1961) (with Sidney Klein)
The Vat (1961)
Dr Morris Goldpepper Returns (1962)
Miss Buttermouth (1962)
The Singular Events Which Occurred in the Hovel on the Alley Off Eye Street (1962)
The Sixty-Third Street Station (1962)
The Tail-Tied Kings (1962)
They Loved Me in Utica (1962)
Faed-Out (1963)
The Lineaments of Gratified Desire (1963)
What Strange Stars and Skies [short story] (1963)
The Cobblestones of Saratoga Street (1964)
Sacheverell (1964)
The Unknown Law (1964)
Where Do You Live, Queen Esther? (1964)
The Goobers (1965)
The House the Blakeneys Built (1965)Nebula Awards(nominee)
Rogue Dragon [short story] (1965)Nebula Awards(nominee)
Up Christopher to Madness (1965) (with Harlan Ellison)
Bumberboom (1966)
Clash of Star Kings (1966)Nebula Awards(nominee)
The Power of Every Root (1967)
Basilisk (1969)
The Phoenix and the Mirror (excerpt) (1969)
Big Sam (1970)
The Lord of Central Park (1970)
A Bottle Full of Kismet (1971)
The Man Who Saw the Elephant (1971)
The Trefoil Company (1971)
The Last Wizard (1972)
Peregrine: Alflandia (1973)
The Case of the Mother-in-Law of Pearl (1975)
The Ceaseless Stone (1975)
The Church of Saint Satan and Pandaemons (1975)
The Crown Jewels of Jerusalem, Or, the Tell-Tale Head (1975)
The King's Shadow Has No Limits (1975)
Milord Sir Smiht, the English Wizard (1975)
The Old Woman Who Lived With a Bear (1975)
Polly Charms, the Sleeping Woman (1975)Nebula Awards(nominee)
Hark! Was That the Squeal of an Angry Thoat? (1977)
Manatee Gal Ain't You Coming Out Tonight (1977)World Fantasy(nominee)
The 13th Brumaire (1978)
I Weep, I Cry, I Glorify (1978)
In Which the Lodge Is Tiled (1978)
Lemuria Revisited (1978)
Naples (1978)World Fantasy(nominee)
Partial Comfort (1978)
Sleep Well of Nights (1978)World Fantasy(nominee)
There Beneath the Silky-Trees and Whelmed in Deeper Gulphs Than Me (1980)Nebula Awards(nominee)
Dr Bhumbo Singh (1982)
Full Chicken Richness (1983)
The Hills Behind Hollywood High (1983) (with Grania Davis)
The Slovo Stove (1984)World Fantasy(nominee)
Young Doctor Esterhazy (1984)Nebula Awards(nominee)
Duke Pasquale's Ring (1985)
Body Man (1986)
The Head of Shemesh the Eshurian (1986)
Knox's 'Nga (1988)
The Odd Old Bird (1988)
The Man Who Was Made of Money (1993)
The Boss In the Wall [short story] (1998) (with Grania Davis)Nebula Awards(nominee)
The Boss in the Wall: a Treatise On the House Devil (1998) (with Grania Davis)


Avram Davidson (April 23, 1923 – May 8, 1993) was an American writer of fantasy fiction, science fiction, and crime fiction, as well as the author of many stories that do not fit into a genre niche. He won a Hugo Award and three World Fantasy Awards in the science fiction and fantasy genre, a World Fantasy Life Achievement award,[1] and an Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine short story award and an Edgar Award in the mystery genre. Davidson edited The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1962 to 1964. His last novel The Boss in the Wall: A Treatise on the House Devil was completed by Grania Davis and was a Nebula Award finalist in 1998. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says "he is perhaps sf's most explicitly literary author".

Fiction and articles[edit]

Davidson wrote many stories for fiction magazines beginning in the 1950s, after publishing his first fiction in Commentary and other Jewish intellectual magazines.

Davidson was active in science fiction fandom from his teens. His best-known works are his novels about Vergil Magus, the magician that medieval legend made out of the Roman poet Virgil; the Peregrine novels, a comic view of Europe shortly after the fall of Rome; the Jack Limekiller stories, about a Canadian living in an imaginary Central American country modelled after Belize during the 1960s; and the stories of Dr. Eszterhazy, a sort of even more erudite Sherlock Holmesian figure living in the mythical Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania, the waning fourth-largest empire in Europe.

Lesser known and uncollected during his lifetime are his mystery stories, which were assembled after his death as The Investigations of Avram Davidson. These mystery stories frequently have a historical setting, and are intricately plotted. In addition, Davidson ghosted two Ellery Queen mysteries, And on the Eighth Day and The Fourth Side of the Triangle, and a true crime collection, Crimes and Chaos.

Other noteworthy works are his collaborations. In Joyleg, A Folly, written in collaboration with Ward Moore, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War (and of the Whiskey Rebellion) is found alive and very well in the Tennessee backwoods, having survived over the centuries by daily soaks in whisky of his own making to hilariously face the world of the 1960s. In Marco Polo and the Sleeping Beauty, co-written with Grania Davis, the background of Marco Polo's travels in the Mongol Empire is borrowed for an original story. After Davidson's death, Grania Davis also finished The Boss in the Wall, a claustrophobic horror novel that bears little resemblance to the work of any other writer.

Davidson also wrote dozens of short stories that defy classification, and the Adventures in Unhistory essays, which delve into puzzles such as the identity of Prester John and suggest solutions to them. His earlier historical essays were scrupulously researched, even when published by magazines just as happy to offer fiction as fact. Later essays were handicapped by a lack of resources in the libraries of the small towns where Davidson lived in the pre-Internet era, but are enlivened by the style and bold speculation.

Davidson's work is marked by a strong interest in history, with his plots often turning on what at first might seem like minor events. His characterization is also unusually in-depth for fantasy, and is often enriched by his ear for unusual accents.

Davidson's most obvious characteristics are his plotting and style. Very little may happen in a Davidson story, but he described it in detail. Hidden among the detail are facts or omissions that later become important to the outcome of the story. Especially in his later works, Davidson included elements that beginning writers are told to avoid, such as page-long sentences with half a dozen colons and semi-colons, or an apparently irrelevant digression in the opening pages of a story. He expects much from his readers, but delivers much to them.


Davidson was born in 1923 in Yonkers, New York to Jewish parents.[2] He served as a Navy hospital corpsman (medic) with the Marine Corps in the Pacific during World War II, and began his writing career as a Talmudic scholar around 1950. This made his conversion to Tenrikyo in the 1970s unexpected. Although he had a reputation for being quick to anger, Davidson was known among his friends for his generosity. His peripatetic life and career may have been due to a disinclination to finish what he began. His reputation among science fiction and fantasy readers peaked in the 1960s, after which he had a coterie of fans who (as with R. A. Lafferty), kept his reputation alive, especially after his death.

He was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, some of whose works were anthologized in Lin Carter'sFlashing Swords! anthologies.

While editing The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction he lived in Mexico, and later in British Honduras (now renamed Belize). He lived in a rural district of Novato, in northern Marin County, California, in 1970, but later moved closer to San Francisco. He lived in a small house in Sausalito, at the southern end of Marin County next to San Francisco in 1971 and 1972, and it was there fans and friends were welcomed. He worked for a short time in the late 1970s as a creative writing instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso. In his later years, he lived in Washington state, including a brief stay in the Veterans' Home in Bremerton. He died in his tiny apartment in Bremerton on May 8, 1993, aged 70. A memorial service was held in Gasworks Park in Seattle.

He was survived by his son Ethan and his ex-wife Grania Davis, who continued to edit and release his unpublished works until her own death.


  • Kar-Chee series
  • Vergil Magus series (a fantasy series set an alternate ancient Mediterranean world in which harpies, basilisks, and satyrs exist during the Punic Wars).
  • Peregrine series
  • Solo novels not part of a series
    • Mutiny in Space, Pyramid, 1964
    • Rork!, Berkley, 1965
    • Masters of the Maze, Pyramid, 1965
    • Clash of Star-Kings, Ace Double, 1966
    • The Enemy of My Enemy, Berkley, 1966
    • The Island Under the Earth, original to the Ace Science Fiction Specials series, 1969
    • Ursus of Ultima Thule, Avon, 1973
  • With Ward Moore
  • With Grania Davis
  • Collections
    • Or All the Seas with Oysters, Berkley, 1962
    • What Strange Stars and Skies, Ace, 1965
    • Strange Seas and Shores, Doubleday, 1971
    • The Enquiries of Doctor Eszterhazy, Warner, 1975
    • The Best of Avram Davidson, Doubleday, 1979
    • Collected Fantasies, Berkley, 1982
    • The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy, Owlswick, 1990
    • Adventures in Unhistory, Owlswick, 1993
    • The Avram Davidson Treasury, Tor, 1998
    • The Investigations of Avram Davidson, Owlswick, 1999 [collected mystery stories]
    • Everybody Has Somebody in Heaven, Devora, 2000
    • The Other Nineteenth Century, Tor, 2001
    • ¡Limekiller!, Old Earth Books, 2003
  • Ellery Queen books: mysteries written under the Ellery Queen name

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection, with an introduction by Guy Davenport. (1998)

External links[edit]

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