Friday, August 7, 2009

Or All the Seas with Oysters

“Or All the Seas with Oysters” by Avram Davidson, originally appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1958.

Summer reading is comfort reading and it can be a good time to revisit old favorites. This is probably Avram Davidson’s most well-known story. It won a Hugo Award for best short story.

Oscar and Ferd run a bike shop. Oscar is a beer drinking, skirt-chasing, outgoing fellow, and Ferd is a bookish nerd, before the word was invented. Ferd discovers what he calls “false friends,” creatures using mimicry, living in the bike shop. There is a pupa stage, a larval stage, and an adult stage. The story is delightful, compact, and a touch mordant. Well worth looking up.

One of the wonderful things about this story is that if you encounter someone else who has read it, all you have to say is: safety pins, hangers, and bicycles.

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