Saturday, June 21, 2008

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Astounding November 1952

Astounding November 1952Continuing our tribute to Algis Budrys (1931-2008), the Magazine of the Week is the November 1952 issue of Astounding, cover art by Charles Schneeman. When published, the highlights of this issue were the second part of Isaac Asimov's serialized novel The Currents of Space and "Last Blast," a novelette by popular author Eric Frank Russell. But in hindsight, this issue was most important for launching the career of Algis Budrys, with his first story "The High Purpose."

Algis Budrys went on to become an important science fiction author for about the next ten years. After that, he wrote only sparingly -- although his 1977 novel Michaelmas was very well-received, and its premise of a media mogul who manages to assume control of global politics is perhaps more relevant today than ever -- focusing his energies instead on editing and reviewing. He was a long-time reviewer for F&SF and the Chicago Sun-Times. In recent years, he was the editor of Tomorrow magazine (where he rejected the first story I ever tried to sell, a truly dreadful piece that did not at all deserve the gentle note he sent me). He also managed the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest, which under his leadership became a very useful resource for aspiring writers, discovering such major authors as Stephen Baxter, Karen Joy Fowler, James Alan Gardner, Robert Reed, and Patrick Rothfuss, despite the Scientology baggage the Hubbard name carries.

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