Avram Davidson

Avram Davidson bigraphy, stories - Novelist, short story writer

Avram Davidson : biography

April 23, 1923 – May 8, 1993

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, 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. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says "he is perhaps sf’s most explicitly literary author".


Davidson was born in 1923 in Yonkers, New York. 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 study of and conversion to Tenrikyo in the 1970s rather surprising. Although he had a reputation for being quick to anger when anyone tampered with his work or misunderstood it, Davidson was also greatly in demand as a storyteller, and well-known among his friends for his extreme generosity.

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’s Flashing 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 affectionately welcomed. 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He was survived by his son Ethan and his ex-wife Grania Davis, who continues to edit and release his unpublished works.


Doctor Eszterhazy series
The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy, Owlswick Press, 1990; includes all but one of the published Doctor Eszterhazy stories.
"The Odd Old Bird" in The Other Nineteenth Century
Limekiller series
Limekiller, Old Earth Books, 2003; includes all of the published Limekiller stories
Vergil Magus series
The Phoenix and the Mirror, Doubleday, 1969; the first Vergil Magus novel
Vergil in Averno, Doubleday, 1987; the second Vergil Magus novel
The Scarlet Fig; or Slowly through a Land of Stone; Rose Press, 2005, the third Vergil Magus novel
"The Other Magus," in Edges, edited by Ursula K. Le Guin and Virginia Kidd, Pocket Books; Berkley paperback, 1980
"Vergil and the Caged Bird," Amazing, January 1987
"Vergil and the Dukos: Hic Inclusus Vitam Perdit, or The Imitations of the King," Asimov’s, September 1997, pp. 102–113
"Vergil Magus: King without Country," with Michael Swanwick, Asimov’s, July 1998
Peregrine series
Peregrine: Primus, Walker, 1969
Peregrine: Secundus, Berkley paperback, 1981
Clash of Star-Kings, Ace double, 1966
The Enemy of My Enemy, Berkley paperback, 1966
The Island Under the Earth, Ace paperback, 1969
The Kar-Chee Reign, Ace double, 1966
Masters of the Maze, Pyramid paperback, 1965
Mutiny in Space, Pyramid Books, 1964
Rogue Dragon, Ace paperback, 1965
Rork!, Berkley Medallion paperback, 1965
Ursus of Ultima Thule, Avon paperback, 1973