Avram Davidson died on May 8, 1993, of a heart attack, after having been hospitalized with a bout of pneumonia ; he was seventy years old. Avram had a strong presence in the pages of this magazine, making a string of twenty-one sales to Asimov's that started under George Scithers and continued to the present day. He may be the only writer ever to win the Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Award (including the prestigious Life Achievement Award), and the Edgar Award. Avram was at his best at short story length, and his short work has been collected in many volumes -- including The Best of Avram Davidson, Or All the Seas with Oysters, What Strange Stars and Skies, Strange Seas and Shores, and Collected Fantasies -- but his novels, although they may not reach quite the level of accomplishment of the best of his short stories, still contain much that is brilliant, engrossing, and fascinating, especially the underrated Masters of the Maze, Rork!, Rogue D ragon, and The Phoenix and the Mirror. His recent work was as strong or stronger than ever, and his series of stories about the bizarre exploits of Dr. Engelbert Eszterhazy (collected in the World Fantasy Award-winning The Adventures of Doctor Eszterhazy and the strange adventures of Jack Limekiller (as yet uncollected, alas) must rank among the best short fantasies written by anyone in the last ten or fifteen years.
Avram was one of the most eloquent and individuals voices in science fiction and fantasy, and there were few writers in any literary genre who could match his wit, his erudition, or the stylish elegance of his prose. He was not always an easy man to work with, but I was one of the editors who thought that his stories were worth every bit of the aggravation you sometimes had to put up with in order to obtain them -- at his best, he may have been one of the great short story writers of our times, and he was certainly one of the Uniques, an absolutely individual voice and perspective and mind; nobody other than Avram could possibly have written any of Avram's stories, nor could you have possibly mistaken a line of Avram's prose for the prose of any other writer, and that's something rare and valuable in a day when some people aretrying to force fiction to be as bland and interchangeable and "marketable" as possible. Avram fit no molds, and can not be replaced he will be missed. The only comfort we can take f rom his death is that his work survives, and will be there to speak to us in that unique, instantly recognizable, quirky, intensely flavored voice every time we open the page and read.
-- Gardner Dozois
Originally published in Asimov's, November 1993.
Reprinted with permission.

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