(1960- ) US antiquarian bookseller, editor, small press publisher and author who began to publish sf outside the genre with "Virtual Wisdom" for Exquisite Corpse in 1992, a literary journal edited by Andrei Codrescu, and within the genre with "From This Swamp" in The Starry Wisdom (anth 1994) edited by D M Mitchell. In 1993, he encountered the work of Avram Davidson and began to compile bibliographical information relating to Davidson, whom Wessells never met. His lists grew into the Avram Davidson website and an associated electronic newsletter, The Nutmeg Point District Mail, as well as a series of chapbooks, comprising the Publications of the Avram Davidson Society. With Grania Davis, he has co-edited several volumes of Davidson's writings. His collection of short stories, Another Green World (coll 2003), displays a fascination with the book as artefact and with the capacity of fiction to embody critical response inextricable from story; Extended Range; Or, the Accession Label (2015 chap) is a fantasy tale.
From 1996 to 1999, Wessells worked for AB Bookman's Weekly, the only period when he was a prolific writer. Since 1998 he has contributed regularly to The New York Review of Science Fiction. A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Readings in Science Fiction and the Fantastic (coll 2018) arranges NYRSF and other material into a knowledgeable conspectus of Fantastika as a whole; some eccentricities in the selection of books to discuss come from the book's additional function as a guide to an exhibition of volumes from his own collection, held at The Grolier Club, New York, in 2018. His Small Press imprint, Temporary Culture, has published original works of sf and critical monographs on the literature of the fantastic.
Wessells is a competent hand bookbinder whose fine press bindings include Puck Aleshire's Abecedary (2000 chap) by Michael Swanwick, Endless Things (2007) by John Crowley, Forever Peace. To Stop War (graph 2008) by Joe Haldeman and Judith Clute and The Ugly Chickens (2010 chap) by Howard Waldrop; he has a propensity for forming small, almost imaginary literary societies. [HW]
born Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: 14 May 1960
works as editor
Publications of the Avram Davidson Society
- Avram Davidson. The Last Wizard with a Letter of Explanation (Upper Montclair, New Jersey: The Nutmeg Point District Mail, 1999) [story: chap: first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in December 1972: pb/nonpictorial]
- Avram Davidson. El Vilvoy de las Islas (Upper Montclair, New Jersey: The Nutmeg Point District Mail, 2000) [story: chap: first published in Asimov's, August 1988: preface by Joanna Russ; introduction by Don Webb; afterword by Gregory Feeley: hb/nonpictorial]
- Avram Davidson. The Beasts of the Elysian Fields by Conrad Amber (Upper Montclair, New Jersey: The Nutmeg Point District Mail, 2001) [story: chap: first published in Adam Magazine, Vol. 12 No. 3, 1968, as by Davidson despite the byline Conrad Amber found on his typescript: hb/nonpictorial]
Works by Avram Davidson
- Avram Davidson. The Other Nineteenth Century: A Story Collection by Avram Davidson, Containing Startling Revelations of the Lives of Literary Persons; Also, Truthful Accounts of Living Fossils, Montavarde's Camera, The Irradiodiffusion Machine, and El Vilvoy de las Islas; With Heinous Crimes, Noble Ladies in Adversity, Brilliant Detections, Imperial Eunuchs, Political Machinations, etc, etc (New York: Tor, 2001) edited with Grania Davis [coll: hb/Tom Kidd]
- Avram Davidson. ¡Limekiller! (Baltimore, Maryland: Old Earth Books, 2003) edited with Grania Davis [coll: hb/Douglas Klauba]
- Avram Davidson. The Ennead: The Romaunt of Vergil Magus: The Scarlet Fig; Or, Slowly through a Land of Stone (London: The Rose Press, 2005) edited with Grania Davis [novel: hb/nonpictorial]
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