As promised, here I am today, writing about L.P. Davies, one of the all-time cool writers. My wife and I discovered his books in our local library back in the 1970s, when he was still writing them, and became instant fans.
But you know how libraries are. Ours stopped buying L.P. Davies’ books, and then the ones it had started disappearing from the shelves, one by one. Our library has no books by L.P. Davies anymore. I suspect this has happened elsewhere. If not for the Internet, by now there might be no sign that this writer had ever existed.
What was so cool about him? Well, his stories are impossible to pigeonhole. He freely mixed science fiction, supernatural horror, and psychology to come up with plots and situations like no one else’s. His stock in trade included contagious dreams, amnesia, telepathy, persons on different planets sharing the same identity–very far-out stuff. And he could make it work because he was a skilled storyteller, able to create believable and interesting characters, lively dialogue, and realistic settings.
Thanks to online resources like amazon.com and Alibris, it has become possible to get L.P. Davies’ books at reasonable prices. We’ve just acquired The Lampton Dreamers. Other titles I’d like to get include Psychogeist, Give Me Back Myself, and What Did I Do Tomorrow?
Finding out about Davies himself is a bit trickier. Some of the information given on his books’ dust jackets wasn’t true. One researcher was unable to find out whether Davies had actually died on any of the dates given by various sources, or was still alive. The story of his search for “the real L.P. Davies”–in the end he had to hire a private detective–is told in “L.P. Davies: International Man of Mystery, Author and… Gift Shop Owner” (http://www.trashface.com/lpdavies.html ). This short piece makes for fascinating reading, and I heartily recommend it.
Why all the confusion? Why are we sometimes reduced to trying to deduce things about this man by studying his picture on the dust jacket?
I have a very strong suspicion that L.P. Davies was having a bit of fun with us!