Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Algis Budrys dead

Heard earlier today that American science fiction writer Algis Budrys has died. When I read the obits by Ed Gorman and Todd Mason, I was a bit sorry that my reading of Budrys has remained only with Rogue Moon. I didn't like it, but it was one of those cases when you just can't get into a book, no matter how hard you try. I'll have to try it - or some other Budrys - again, since Ed and Todd, whose taste I've found to be trustworthy, both like him so much.

Budrys is very little known in Finland. I've found only one translation by him: "The Distant Sound of Engines" from 1959 became "Moottorien kaukainen kumu" in the fanzine Aikakone 3, in volume 2. (It's somewhere around 1984 or 1985.) I remember reading this when I was a teenager and simply not realizing what really happened in the story. Haven't read it again.

(This must be one of the sorriest obits you've ever read.)


Todd Mason said...

Oh, mine is currently a thin reed, hastily cobbled together, not realizing that it would get as much attention as it has.

"The Distant Sound of Engines" struck me when I read it as Budrys's variation on Richard McKenna's "Casey Agonistes"...a little less cute, but not quite as powerful. There is much better Budrys to chose from, but I think it was one of Budrys's own favorites among his work...among the short stories, "Wall of Crystal, Eye of Night," "The Choice," and a number of others are much better. And "The Master of the Hounds" has stuck with me since childhood, the first story of his I read (in a HITCHCOCK PRESENTS antho, naturally).

Todd Mason said...

Or, even, "to choose from."

Here, by the way, is a link to Ellen Datlow's online "reprint" of "Casey Agonistes."


Todd Mason said...

It might be that "Engines" and "Casey" were products of the same Milford Conference, the writers' gatherings Damon Knight, Judith Merril and James Blish used to organize, it suddenly occurs to me.

Juri said...

Todd, I can always count on you - three comments on this blog is a rarity! Thanks for the comments (and reminding me of Richard McKenna, will get back to him some time).