the Avram Davidson electronic newsletter

Vol. IV No. 4-5
November 1999-January 2000
ISSN 1089-764X

Henry Wessells, Editor.
Cooper Wessells, Honorary Secretary.

Published bimonthly by whim and fancy for the Avram Davidson
Society.  Contents copyright 2000 The Nutmeg Point District Mail
and assigned to individual contributors.  All rights reserved.

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Post Office Box 43072, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-0072


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Memories of "AD" as American Author Abroad
                                        by Hugh Leddy

    I met Avram in San Francisco the year after he bought my first sale to Fantasy & Science Fiction. I worked on the Examiner at the time, and we first met in the reporters' bar around the corner at 3rd and Mission. He was a welcome change from everything I was used to . . . drab streets, hurrying pedestrians, angry traffic.  Even though he'd come from the East after leaving his job as the editor of F&SF, he brought with him an air of the exotic, of farflung places and spice-laden voyages sailed from uncharted lands.
    It was his conversation, you see.
    With a few well chosen words he could transport you completely out of the Twentieth Century and back to other places and times. As Richard A. Lupoff put it, in a comment on AD in The Investigations of Avram Davidson:

    "With a mere handful of syllables he could transport a reader to
the deck of an ancient sailing vessel as it plied the waves of the
sun-dappled Mediterranean, to a musty and mysterious little shop
in a shadowy byway of Victorian London, to the Spartan
executive offices or the clattering production line of a modern
corporation.  [...] Avram Davidson transcended the usual
boundaries of categories, and simply told Avram Davidson stories."
    And he told amusing stories besides.
    As it happened, my first wife, Chris, and I, and Grania and Avram all lived in separate residences in the Haight Ashbury and used to get together for story conferences. My daughter, Justine, attended the alternative school where Grania taught and was a playmate of Avram and Grania's son, Ethan.
(That was the year Justine announced she wanted to be Jewish because Ethan at Hannukah got a present every day for eight whole days, and not just one at Christmas!)
    Avram was an undisputed genius when it came to writing luminous prose and doing deft characterization. His plotting skills sometimes deserted him when he was plotting out a novel. Hence the story sessions -- and though he didn't follow any suggestion I ever made, it was still fun to see him discard all