THE NUTMEG POINT DISTRICT MAIL

the Avram Davidson electronic newsletter

Vol. III No. 1
8 May 1998
ISSN 1089-764X

Henry Wessells, Editor.
Cooper Wessells, Honorary Secretary.

Published bimonthly by whim and fancy for the Avram Davidson Society.
Contents copyright 1998 The Nutmeg Point District Mail and assigned to individual contributors. All rights reserved.

All correspondence to:
TEMPORARY CULTURE
Post Office Box 43072, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-0072

Electronym: wessells@aol.com

Use the electronic address for requests to be added to or dropped from the mailing list.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

BOSS IN THE WALL NOVELLA DUE THIS MONTH FROM TACHYON

The April 1998 issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction features Michael Swanwick's introduction to The Boss in the Wall, A Treatise on the House Devil, due out this month from Tachyon. Your editor has seen a near-final draft of the novella and eagerly anticipates the book's appearance.

Tachyon's publisher Jacob Weisman reported that book went to the printers toward the end of April and the paperback ($12.00) is expected in May. The limited hardcover edition, signed by Davis, Beagle, and Swanwick, will follow in June. (Postage and handling is $2.00 per book for the first two books, free thereafter.)

Mailing address is:

Tachyon Publications
1459 18th Street #139
San Francisco, CA 94107
URL: http://www.tachyonpubl ications.com
Electronym: tachyon@aol.com

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

THE AVRAM DAVIDSON SOCIETY

The Avram Davidson Society was established on 23 April 1998, the 75th anniversary of Avram's birth.

The aims of the Society are:

Peter S. Beagle has agreed to serve as President of the Society.
Grania Davis will hold the post of Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors. The other founding members of the Board are Gregory Benford, Gregory Feeley, Eileen Gunn, David G. Hartwell, Richard A. Lupoff, Jim Nicholson, Reno W. Odlin, Michael Swanwick, and Henry Wessells, who will act as Chairman of the Board and Executive Director. Ethan Davidson and Stephen L. Davis are Special Honorary Members.

Pending formal adoption of by-laws, all recipients of The Nutmeg Point District Mail may consider themselves to be members of the Avram Davidson Society in good standing.

Correspondence may be addressed to:
The Avram Davidson Society,
Post Office Box 43072, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-0072

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

MORE NEWS ON MYSTERY COLLECTION

Publication of The Investigations of Avram Davidson was announced in the March issue of The Nutmeg Point District Mail. In the weeks since then, your editor has learned further details of the book. The collection, edited by Grania Davis and Richard A. Lupoff, will contain the following stories:

Publication by St. Martin's Press is scheduled for early 1999.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

AVRAM IN PARIS

Reno Odlin's Sampler from Avram Davidson's letters of the 1990s was recently on view at the Galérie Arnaud Lefebvre in Paris. The Sampler is an elegant typographic cornucopia of Avram's comments and meanders on subjects ranging from food in France to arcane languages, from life in Bremerton to recollections of Ward Moore and the composition of Joyleg.
Reno Odlin travelled to Paris for the opening on 30 April and reports that the exhibition was a overwhelming success. He was asked to give a reading, and among his options were a passage of Homeric (the first 52 lines of the Iliad, as it might have appeared at the hands of its very first transcriber); a compendium of Chinook jargon (guaranteed to drive away an audience); or fourteen dots on a page, 'Sonnet on a Theme by Cantor.'
Instead, he read from the Avram Sampler, as a Farewell. He read passages from the last four panels of the Sampler, which includes Avram's reflections on the death of his friend Alan Nourse, and a moving Envoi (9 December 1992): "Oh well. Fifty years as an adult, got to show for it, what? A row of books. A damned good son. One hell of a lot more than many, even if no broad acres, stout-built house, flocks and herds, many descendants. End of hwyll."

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Richard A. Lupoff reports learning very recently that his long-time friend Joe Gores (Hammett, etc.) also knew Avram, and that Gores and Davidson were in fact the ghost-editors of Crimes and Misfortunes: The Anthony Boucher Memorial Anthology of Mysteries (New York: Random House, 1970), nominally edited by J. Francis McComas (1911-1978).

An interesting bit of biographical and bibliographical information that warrants further investigation.

Anyone else have unreported Avram anecdotes and episodes?

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Avram Letters in the Robert Mills Archive

Bookseller par excellence L.W. Currey of Elizabethtown, New York, kindly sent your editor several pages from his calendar/inventory of the Robert P. Mills Archive describing letters from Avram to Mills and others on writing matters. Mills was Avram's immediate predecessor as editor of F&SF. He subsequently became an influential literary agent and operated as Robert P. Mills Ltd. until the agency was sold to Richard A. Curtis in 1984.
Avram was represented by Mills from 1960 until February 1964, at which point he became a client of the Scott Meredith Literary Agency (until early 1966). The correspondence in the Mills Papers consists of 28 letters and a few short manuscripts, and dates from 1962 to 1973. Currey's summaries indicate that the material includes several early book proposals; letters expressing Avram's refusal to permit appearance of his work in Germany; discussions of Mutiny in Space and Rork!; and early correspondence on The Phoenix and the Mirror and the Vergil Magus project.
The letters also clarify Avram's role in writing Ellery Queen novels. Of particular interest is a passage where Avram mentions having submitted a draft of The House of Brass that was turned down. (Correspondence with Rand B. Lee and a statement from the Dannay brothers indicate that Theodore Sturgeon was the ghost for the published novel.) A further trip to look at manuscripts in the Ellery Queen Archives at Columbia University is in order.
There is also related correspondence from Knox Burger at Gold Medal Books to Herb Jaffe, Avram's former agent, discussing one of the ghost entries in the Avram bibliography, the unwritten Don't Speak of Rope. An agreement between Gold Medal Books, and Davidson and Harlan Ellison had been signed in November 1960, but the book was never delivered. Burger describes strategies to retrieve the advance paid on the book.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Gregory Feeley's Annotations to "Vergil and the Dukos"
Correspondence & Corrections

Your editor blinked: "Vergil and the Dukos: Hic Inclusus Vitam Perdit, or The Imitations of the King" was in fact published in Asimov's Science Fiction, September 1997, pp.102-113. Apologies, etc., etc.
There have also been a some further elucidations of items (and hints) in the annotations.

Rand B. Lee writes, re: PAESTUM, "THE DOUBLE BLOSSOMING,"
For anybody interested, the twice-blooming roses of Paestum can still be found. The cultivar you want is Rosa damascena Quatres Saisons, which is available through most old rose nurseries.

Reno Odlin sends comments:
Nutmeg Point here, and as always, absorbing.
Re: DUKOS, which I did not know had been published:
.> "Dan" is also the name of a trading center, associated with Tyre.
. It was also a term of greeting or respect which AD preferred to "Don." "Min Dan" is "My Dan," as who should say "Messer."
.> HIC INCLUSUS VITAM PERDIT: Latin for "(Whoever is) confined here loses life."
. We had a considerable discussion about this, in the course of my making up a copy for him in an Archaic Latin Script. I'll try to get this pinned down this week. I have the impression that he wanted "perdit" to mean "perdidit" = "has lost his life."
.> Why Davidson insisted on reversing the two letters [SQPR] is not known.
. I may be able to track down something bearing on this as well.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The URL of the Avram Davidson Website is: http://www.kosmic.org/members/dongle/henry/

The archive of past issues of The Nutmeg Point District Mail is now available; other parts of the Website (including the Index to the Writings of Avram Davidson) have been updated, corrected, and expanded. (Some minor glitches still have to be worked out.)
Submissions of additional material for the Website are welcome.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Next issue will be published in July 1998.
 

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

NEXT ISSUE