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AD 100, Volume 1


642pp/$23.99/April 2023

AD 100, Volume 1


AD 100, Volume 2

by Avram Davidson

Or All the Seas with Oysters Publishing

AD 100, Volume 2


552pp/$20.99/April 2023

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Avram Davidson was born on April 23, 1923 and died on May 8, 1993. During those seventy year, he gained a reputation for his erudite fiction and non-fiction and his editorial skills. His short fiction has been collected in such books as Or All the Seas with Oysters, The Avram Davidson Treasury, and The Other Nineteenth Century, among others. It says something about his prolificacy that in honor of the centennial of his birth, AD100, a two volume collection of one hundred stories, most of which have not been reprinted since their original publication, could be released.

Although Davidson is generally thought of as a science fiction and fantasy author, his collections The Investigations of Avram Davidson and Everybody Has Somebody in Heaven demonstrate that he is equality at home writing mysteries and straight-forward Jewish stories. The first volume of AD 100 opens with several of the latter stories, telling the tale of a young rabbi finding his way at his new congregation, a married couple who completely understand each other, and the tribulations of bringing a relative over from the old country. However the point of this two-volume collection is to demonstrate the breadth of Davidson's talent and the stories, from "Benny, Bluma, and the Solid Gold Wedding Ring" at the beginning of the first volume to "The Wailing of the Gaulish Dead," one of Davidson's explorations of legend "Adventures in Unhistory," at the end of the second volume certainly shows that Davidson could write in different genres and voices.

At times, it feels as if the stories in AD100 are grouped thematically, but that is merely because they have a tendency to be ordered by the date they were written or published, although in many cases that date is conjectural for the previously unpublished works. It makes sense that stories written an proximity to each other should share some of the same themes, but even then, Davidson brings a different take to each story, making them all stand out from the rest of them. "Caravan to Illiel" demonstrates his ability to master the swords and sorcery genre, while "If You Can't Beat Them," published the year before, demonstrates his ability to build a mystery, but also his ability to create a living, breathing world based in South America.

The chronological order of the stories also reveals Davidson's growth as an author. The earliest stories tend to focus on the more familiar, set in a familiar New York filled with immigrants. Eventually, Davidson's stories move further afield, reflecting his own travels and his willingness to allow his imagination take him to places that he couldn't actually visit. The stories also become more complex, still focused on normal people, but putting them into a variety of situations, wheather using the tropes of mysteries, science fiction, or fantasy, that require them to figure out how to respond to their atypical surroundings and events.

AD100 is not the final word on Davidson's works. Despite the sheer quantity of stories that are included, he still has some stories, such as "The Head of Shemesh the Eshurian," which have not been reprinted. Readers who have had the pleasure of devouring the 100 stories included in the present volume, the scores of stories reprinted in other collections, and Davidson's various novels, can look forward with hope to the eventual publication of the rest of his un-collected works in a future volume.

AD 100, Volume 1 AD 100, Volume 1 AD 100, Volume 2 AD 100, Volume 2
Benny, Bluma, and the Solid Gold Wedding Ring Mean Mr. Murray The Roads, the Roads, the Beautiful Roads Addrict
with Grania Davis
What Time Is It? Rest in Peace Big Sam Mountaineers Are Always Free
Captain Patch Man Who Found the Body, The Rite of Spring Vergil and the Caged Bird
Clash of Personalities, A Tenant, The The Captain M. Caper Knox's 'nga
Arriving on the 7:15 Note for the Milkman, A They Loved Me In Utica Nothing Like a Clean Weapon
Nifert Pifter-A Bie Gezunt Prince's Mixture Timeserver Benny and George
Skinny The Liberty of the Subject Zon Conversational Tales of the Wanland: Number One: Of Sundry Tribes
Thanatopsis The Traditions of His Family Basileikon: Summer Down by the Depot
The Playing Fields of Earth Blood Money How My Grandmother Came Around the Horn to California Events Which Took Place a Day Before Other Events
Israel Inbetween What Are You Crying For? Loups-Garous Waiting for Willie
The Natural Order and Basis of Society Jack Be Nimble How Could He Do It? Have You Tried Gummies
The Big Liberty Mirror, Mirror Rookie Cop Mr. Rob't E. Hoskins
The Stone That the Builders Rejected Snuff Amphora Seeomancer
The Descent from Olympus The Invasion The Mad Sniper Unforced Entry
The Holy Man The Old Pro If You Can't Beat Them Leg
The French Key The Restorer of Balance Caravan to Illiel The Day They All Came Back
Spinner Bumberboom The Other Magus In Brass Valley
A Shot from the Dark Night Basilisk The Ape The Man Who Was Made of Money
The Healing Hand Never Forget a Face Dear Friend Charlene
with Grania Davis
George's Shirt
Circle of Guilt Quick with His Hands The House Surgis Sword Sacrifice
The Creator of Preludes The Curious Capitulation of Betty Jane Smith Body Man Vergil and the Dukos: Hic Inclusus Vitam Perdit or, The Imitations of the King
No Fire Burns The Memory Bank Landscape with Giant Bison Blunt
Dive People To Avoid Conviction Louie and the Library Vergil Magus: King Without Country
with Michael Swanwick
The Sensible Man Doing the Lambeth Walk Mr. and Mrs. Piggott Kindly Hold Out Your Right Index Finger
Dealer in Fear Tears for Alfred Hook Witness The Wailing of the Gaulish Dead
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