Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Algis Budrys has died.

Due to all-day intensive classes, I've been away from the internet today and only just discovered that we have lost Algis Budrys. Here are a few of my memories.

A.J. kicked off my professional writing career in 1995 with a simple note that informed me he would like to buy my first story, how much he would pay, and concluded with, "It is a brilliant story." I can't even begin to explain how that felt: The man who wrote this was one of my writing heroes, an editor and author whose works include many Hugo and Nebula nominees, whose teachings have shaped many a writer. This giant in the field not only wanted to buy my story, but he had such kind words to say! It would be like a young physicist getting such a note from Einstein or Feynman with the offer to work together. I would have sold it to him for a dollar.

Before that, I met A.J. at the 1993 WindyCon in Chicago, my first SF convention. There I learned about how Lester Del Rey took Budrys under his wing and taught him "everything I know about editing." I also got some wonderful insight into the SF publishing world.

Later, Budrys' novel Rogue Moon inspired my first real novel. Shortly after I completed it, he dropped me a note stating that he was moving into agenting, and because he liked my work, he wondered if I might have a novel he could agent. Well! I sent it to him almost immediately, and he wrote back just a few months later saying that if I split the (very long) book into three parts with adequate openings and closings, he was confident he could sell it for me. Oh, and he opened with the line, "Brilliant and almost perfect." That validation kicked me into a massive revision program, but I began to falter as his health failed and he gradually stopped responding to correspondence.

A.J.'s scholarship won him the 2007 Pilgrim Award, and he sent a lovely, funny letter to be read during the awards ceremony (ill health prevented his traveling).

The Old Guard of the SF field is falling ever faster. Today we witness yet another tragedy as we lose another world of knowledge and experience, another man who was there in the beginning and who helped build and shape this genre we love.

By the way, I created a Wiki page for his magazine, Tomorrow SF. Please dive in and make any changes and additions you can think of to ensure the the entry's survival.

Tags: science fiction

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