Limekiller by Avram Davidson


Between 1997 and 2003 I was a reviewer for Locus. Growing demands on my time from my work as reviews editor for the magazine and as an anthologist eventually led to me giving that up. But during my tenure I reviewed a number of books I look back on very fondly. 

As a bit of an experiment, I’ve recorded the review I wrote in 2003 and am publishing it here. It stands as a snapshot of my writing at the time, a glance at a good book, and as a test for Coode St audio. Although the book is now twelve years old, you can still order it from Old Earth Books.  I definitely recommend it.  I hope you enjoy the review.

One thought on “Limekiller by Avram Davidson”

  1. I’m surprised that Jonathan worries that a rereading of the stories would show that they suffer from “mildly sexist attitudes.” They are set in the sixties and yes, a lot of the characters evince those. It doesn’t seem an artistic shortcoming at all.

    Probably a more salient point is that the stories only work (or don’t work) individually, not as a single volume. In each story Limekiller encounters something supernatural, and his reaction always makes clear that he is doing so for the first time. No story refers to any previous one, and if you regard the volume as a coherent cycle, each story only make sense (in this respect) if it’s the earliest one. This is not a flaw for any individual story, but it does mean that they are to be experienced singly, not as part of a group.

    And of course, the stories vary in quality. The best two or three are much better than the next two or three, and at least one is a flat failure. So what we have are a few stories that undoubtedly rank among Avram’s best, a few more that are well worth reading, and a few for completists. The collection itself merely throws them in one place.

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