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Algis Budrys 1931-2008

from the fanzine The Drink Tank #194, reprinted from Vanamonde

One of our finest authors, one of our finest critics, his most celebrated novel Rogue Moon (1960) he wanted to call The Death Machine, his last was Hard Landing (1993), he published the collections Budrys' Inferno (1963) and Blood and Burning (1978), but his unceasing deeds showed us all his big heart. He left us half a dozen novels, ten dozen short stories. He was six years principal book reviewer for Galaxy, eighteen for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, then resigned to edit Tomorrow, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch said letting him go was the biggest mistake she made as editor of F&SF. He had eight Hugo nominations, two for the Nebula. He was Author Guest of Honor at the World Science Fiction Convention in 1997; in 2007 he received the Pilgrim Award for lifetime contribution to s-f scholarship, and as I had the honor of announcing at that year's Worldcon, to a theater of applause, he was placed in the First Fandom Hall of Fame.

A.J. Budrys at six taught himself English by reading Robinson Crusoe; his Lithuanian background inspired The Falling Torch (1959), which I always liked but he never did; Michaelmas (1977) is excellent, Who? (1958) a wonder; Benchmarks (1984) collects his Galaxy reviews, Writing to the Point (1994) his advice, Bicycles (1976) his expertise in another hobby – he, his wife, and four sons rode high-performance machines of his own assembly, he also directed four-wheel-drive racing teams. He taught at Harvard, Rice, Brigham Young, the Library of Congress, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Clarion East, and the Charles Dickens House. For twenty-five years he worked with the Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future contests, long the Writers' Co-Ordinating Judge, teaching the contest workshops, editing the anthologies.

When he left F&SF Rusch said his wonderful, insightful language made reviews of books out of print worth reading; when he began he said (November 1975) "You and I and all our other kinsmen are here waiting between trains in a small town on the windward slope of Parnassus.... so let's talk." At Kelly Freas' funeral he said "Kelly was my best man and he still is." A month before his death he said he read every issue of Vanamonde. R.I.P.