RE: RARA-AVIS: Algis Budrys, Rogue Moon: Denton

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 06 Jan 2004

Too quickly and incompletely, for now, because I'm under time constraints:

1) it's written with a wonderful eloquence and economy 2) every single character, as the critic James Blish once pointed out and as you almost do, is functional but insane 3) it's hilarious 4) it's poignant in that it deals with the only immortality we have being in the memories of those who love us 5) it has an immediacy that was something Budrys wasn't quite alone in honing in 1950s sf, but was among the most successful proponents of. 6) structurally it's kind of nifty that the passage through the Death Machine can be seen to recapitulate the novel as a whole

Sorry you didn't care for it quote my English professor I once leant it to was distressed, noting, "It just seems like another hardboiled novel to me." Meanwhile, having leant it to novelist A. A. Attanasio in 1984, he was struck by how modern it still seemed. TM

-----Original Message----- From: William Denton Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 11:47 PM

Someone recommend this as a noirish SF novel:

  Algis Budrys, ROGUE MOON (1959) (aka THE DEATH MACHINE (2001);

Turned out I'd had a copy sitting in my to-be-read pillar for about three years, so I got out it last month and read it. I can see why it was suggested, but I found it only middling.
[...] Much of the book is about death and madness, and though it involves trips to the moon, it feels very claustrophobic and constrained. I hope anyone who's read it will speak up about why they like it, because I never did get a real grip on it and I wouldn't rate it as high as many people do.

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