Monday, November 09, 2009

The Great Short-Story Collection Purge, Parts 14 & 15

The Great Short-Story Collection Purge has been on hiatus for quite a few months, but with all my recent book purchases, I believe its return is inevitable. For those of you new to The Purge, I'm reading at least one story from every unread short story collection (but not anthologies) I own. After reading a story or two, I'll decide whether to keep it or purge it. So here we go with Parts 14 & 15:

The Avram Davidson Treasury: A Tribute Collection (1998) - Avram Davidson

I picked up this collection and the one below at a library sale a few years ago, both library discards. I had only heard of Davidson, but what I'd heard was stellar: smart, humorous, literate, wildly creative, cranky, imaginative... the list continues. I read the first two stories from this collection, "My Boy Friend's Name is Jello" and "The Golem," both of which confirm all of the above attributes. The stories contain excellent writing, a sharp wit and a bit of a sting (in a good way). The volume also features introductions and afterwords by some pretty heavy-hitters in speculative fiction, among them Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, John Clute, Peter S. Beagle, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Swanwick, Lucius Shepard and many more.

The Verdict = Keep it.

The Other Nineteenth Century (2001) - Avram Davidson

Focusing on historical tales of the fantastic, The Other Nineteenth Century contains stories from the 1970s and 80s, several of which appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine or Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, although many appeared in F&SF and Asimov's. So far I've only read one story from this collection, "The Singular Incident of the Dog on the Beach," which was, as I expected, well-crafted, clever and enjoyable. I'll read at least one more before making a final decision, but I'll probably stick with The Avram Davidson Treasury and see how it strikes me first. If I like it, I'll seek out The Other Nineteenth Century.

The Verdict = Purge it.

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