Birthday Reviews: D.G. Compton’s “In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing”
D.G. (David Guy) Compton was born on August 19, 1930.
Compton’s 1971 novel The Steel Crocodile was nominated for the Nebula Award, and in 2007 he was named Author Emeritus by the SFWA. In addition to writing science fiction, Compton also writes Gothic novels and crime novels. Compton has used variations of his own name, and has also published using the pseudonym Frances Lynch. Compton collaborated with John Gribbin on the novel Ragnarok.
“In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing” appeared in Starlight 3, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden in 2001. It is Compton’s most recent science fiction short story, and has not been reprinted.
The characters in Compton’s “In Which Avu Giddy Tries to Stop Dancing” live in a world where it is illegal not to dance, although Compton never fully describes what life is like in a world in which everyone dances as they go about their private lives. Instead, he looks at Avu Giddy’s decision to set himself apart from the law-abiding masses and the effects it has on his relationships, none of which were particularly good to begin with.
Avu’s main relationship for the purposes of the story is with the narrator. Although the narrator doesn’t particularly like Avu, the two are of a similar age and have known each other a long time, having grown comfortable in each other’s presence. They work relatively close to each other and meet for lunch in a park with some regularity. When Avu makes his decision to quit dancing, the narrator is dragged into the situation by Avu’s estranged daughters, Jenna and Karen who sought his help in talking sense to their father.
Jenna, who had a husband and children of her own, was mostly concerned with the perception people would have of the family with such an out-law father, while single Karin, who only recently left Avu’s house, firmly believed her father had made his decision with the sole purpose of embarrassing her.