Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Chandler Davis Online Archive

Readers who made it through my introduction to It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis were rewarded by a passage saying, The release of this volume will be accompanied by the launching of a website that offers links to several Chandler Davis pieces for which this volume lacked space. So I think I've completed the website in question: The Chandler Davis Online Archive is up and, I hope, running. Three stories and four essays by Professor Davis, plus links to Related Books from Aqueduct and Similar Works by Me.

More specifically:

To Still the Drums. A 1946 suspense story that predicts guided missiles and nuclear escalation. The piece is much admired by H. Bruce Franklin; it's also been praised by David Seed. Chan thinks it's not much of a story.

The Journey and the Goal. A 1947 interplanetary conflict piece that begins a promising story and then just kind of stops. Maybe Chan had a deadline.

Hexamnion. I'm ambivalent about this story, which Chan wrote in the 1960s, as I indicate in my Afterword to It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis. But I have to admit that the attempt to write lush Sturgeonesque prose and to explore the question of sexual object-choice is worth a look.

So You're Going to Prison! Chandler Davis in The Nation! A wonderful autobiographical essay that can't be read without nostalgia for how different U.S. prisons were back in 1960.

The Purge. Davis's definitive statement on the academic blacklist. Read it alongside "From an Exile," the second essay in It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis.

What Might Sex Mean? Chan never got this provocative late-seventies essay published: it was limited to samizdat circulation. Today's sexual libertarian readers, weaned on "Times Square Blue" and The Trouble with Normal, might be tempted to dismiss the essay's association of sex with affectionate relationships between individuals. But maybe that's why it has to be part of the conversation.

Science for Good or Ill, complete. Davis's great essay on the social responsibility of scientists. It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis includes a sexy excerpt thereof.

The presence of a work in The Chandler Davis Online Archive should not be taken to preclude the possibility of its appearance in a future volume of Chan Davis's works.

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