Algis Budrys

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Algis Budrys
Budrys at the 1985 Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop
Budrys at the 1985 Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop
BornJanuary 9, 1931
Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany (present day Russia)
DiedJune 9, 2008(2008-06-09) (aged 77)
Evanston, Illinois, United States
GenreScience fiction
Notable worksThe Falling Torch, Rogue Moon, Who?
RelativesFather Jonas Budrys
Budrys's "Snail's Pace" was the cover story for the October 1953 issue of Dynamic Science Fiction
Budrys's novelette "Shadow on the Stars" was cover-featured on the November 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe.
Budrys's short story "Cage of a Thousand Wings" took the cover of the penultimate issue of Planet Stories in 1955.
Budrys's novelette "The Strangers" was the cover story for the June 1955 issue of If.
Budrys's novelette "Why Should I Stop?" took the cover of the February 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly.
Budrys wrote "Resurrection on Fifth Avenue" for Fantastic under his pseudonym "Gordon Jaulyn".

Algirdas Jonas "Algis" Budrys (January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008) was a Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and critic. He was also known under the pen names Frank Mason, Alger Rome (in collaboration with Jerome Bixby), John A. Sentry, William Scarff, and Paul Janvier. He is known for the influential 1960 novel Rogue Moon.[1]


Budrys was born in Königsberg (today's Kaliningrad) in the then East Prussia, Germany. His father Jonas Budrys was the consul general of Lithuania; as a child he saw Adolf Hitler in a parade in the city. In 1936, when Budrys was five years old, Jonas was appointed as the consul general in New York, instead of Paris as he had hoped.[2][3] After the Soviet Union's occupation of Lithuania, the Budrys family ran a chicken farm in New Jersey[3] while Jonas remained part of the exile Lithuanian Diplomatic Service, since the United States continued to recognize the pre-World War II Lithuanian diplomats. During most of his adult life, Budrys held a captain's commission in the Free Lithuanian Army.

Incorporating his family's experience, Budrys's fiction depicts isolated and damaged people and themes of identity, survival, and legacy. He taught himself English at the age of six by reading Robinson Crusoe. From Flash Gordon comic strips, Budrys read H. G. Wells's The Time Machine; Astounding Science Fiction caused him at the age of 11 to want to become a science fiction writer.[3] Budrys was educated at the University of Miami, and later at Columbia University in New York. His first published science fiction story was "The High Purpose", which appeared in Astounding in 1952. Beginning in 1952 Budrys worked as editor and manager for such science fiction publishers as Gnome Press and Galaxy Science Fiction. Some of Budrys's science fiction in the 1950s was published under the pen name "John A. Sentry", a reconfigured Anglification of his Lithuanian name. Among his other pseudonyms in the SF magazines of the 1950s and elsewhere, several revived as bylines for vignettes in his magazine Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, is "William Scarff". Budrys also wrote several stories under the names "Ivan Janvier" or "Paul Janvier", and used "Alger Rome" in his collaborations with Jerome Bixby.

Budrys's 1960 novella Rogue Moon was nominated for a Hugo Award, and was later anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973). His Cold War science fiction novel Who? was adapted for the screen in 1973. In addition to numerous Hugo Award and Nebula Award nominations, Budrys won the Science Fiction Research Association's 2007 Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to speculative fiction scholarship. In 2009, he was the recipient of one of the first three Solstice Awards presented by the SFWA in recognition of his contributions to the field of science fiction.[4]

Having published about 100 stories and a half-dozen novels, with a wife and children to support, after 1960 Budrys wrote less fiction and worked in publishing, editing, and advertising. He became better known as among science fiction's best critics than as writer,[3] reviewing for Galaxy Science Fiction[5] and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, a book editor for Playboy, a longtime teacher at the Clarion Writers Workshop and an organizer and judge for the Writers of the Future awards. In addition, he worked as a publicist; in a famous publicity stunt, he erected a giant pickle on the proposed site of the Chicago Picasso during the time the newly arriving sculpture was embroiled in controversy.[6]

Budrys was married to Edna Duna; they had four sons. He last resided in Evanston, Illinois. He died at home, from metastatic malignant melanoma on June 9, 2008.[7]



  • False Night (1954)
  • Man of Earth (1956)
  • Who? (1958)
  • The Falling Torch (1959)
  • Rogue Moon (1960)
  • Some Will Not Die (1961) (an expanded and restored version of False Night)
  • The Iron Thorn (1967) (as serialized in If; revised and published in book form as The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn). On a bleak forbidding planet, humans hunt Amsirs – flightless humanoid birds – and vice versa. After one young hunter makes his first kill, he's initiated into the society's secrets. Still, he figures there are secrets the human race has forgotten altogether, and begins to hunt for answers.
  • Michaelmas (1977)
  • Hard Landing (1993)
  • The Death Machine (2001) (originally published as Rogue Moon against Budrys's wishes)

Collections (fiction, essays, and mixed)[edit]

  • The Unexpected Dimension (1960)
  • Budrys' Inferno (1963)
  • The Furious Future (1963)
  • Blood and Burning (1978)
  • Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf (1985)
  • Writing to the Point (1994)
  • Outposts: Literatures of Milieux (1996)
  • Entertainment (1997)
  • The Electric Gene Machine (2000)
  • Benchmarks Continued: F&SF "Books" Columns 1975-1982 (2012)
  • Benchmarks Revisited: F&SF "Books" Columns 1983-1986 (2013)
  • Benchmarks Concluded: F&SF "Books" Columns 1987-1993 (2013)

Short stories[edit]

Audio recording[edit]

  • 84.2 Minutes of Algis Budrys (1995), Unifont (Budrys's own company). Released on cassette, this featured Budrys reading his short stories "The Price", "The Distant Sound of Engines", "Never Meet Again", and "Explosions!".



  • Tomorrow Speculative Fiction (1993–2000); initially edited by Budrys and published by Pulphouse Publishing, with its second issue it was published and edited by Budrys with assistance from Kandis Elliott under the Unifont rubric. It ceased publication as a paper and ink magazine and became a webzine late in the decade.


  • L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. III (1987)
  • L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol. 6 (1990)
  • L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol 12 (1996)
  • L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Vol. 16 (2000)
  • L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, Vol 19 (2003)


  1. ^ Obituary by John Clute in The Independent website
  2. ^ Clute, John (October 23, 2011). "Obituaries Algis Budrys: Science-fiction writer and editor". The Independent. Independent Co. UK. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Pontin, Mark Williams (November–December 2008). "The Alien Novelist". MIT Technology Review.
  4. ^ Nebula Awards Ceremony 2009. Los Angeles, CA: SFWA. 2009. p. 13.
  5. ^ Pohl, Frederik. (May 12, 2010). "Robert A. Heinlein, Algis Budrys and me". The Way the Future Blogs. Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  6. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (July 26, 2010). "The Picasso put Chicago in a pickle". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Jensen, Trevor (June 11, 2008). "Tapped human side of science fiction". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  8. ^ "Stories, Listed by Author". Locus. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2010.

6. Williams, Mark. "The Alien Novelist." Technology Review 111, 6. (Nov/Dec 2008). pp. 80–84

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