Writers & Illustrators of the Future Blog

The purpose of this blog is to provide a forum for winners, judges, entrants and anyone interested in sharing information regarding the contests and the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future volumes. For more information you can also go to www.writersofthefuture.com

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sad News Today - WOTF Contest First Judge - Algis Budrys Passes Away

Algis has been with us from the beginning of this contest, he will
be missed.


Algis "A.J." Burdys
(January 9, 1931 - June 9, 2008)

Algis “A.J.” Budrys, age 77 of Evanston, beloved husband of Edna F. Budrys; loving father of Jeffrey (Kathleen), Steven, Timothy (Mary) and David Budrys; dear grandfather of Zia and Dexter Budrys. Algis was a noted Science Fiction author and editor. Visitation Friday 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral Service Saturday 10:00 a.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Rd. Skokie. Interment Maryhill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 30 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 2015, Chicago, IL 60602 or the American Cancer Society, 820 Davis St, Suite 400, Evanston, IL 60201.

I've given you the above information in case you would like to send something to the family. Best, Joni


  • At June 9, 2008 at 10:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The obituary and information (and spelling errors) have been corrected. You can find it linking through the funeral home's website.


  • At June 10, 2008 at 8:03 AM , Blogger mary and Dave Wolverton said...

    Fa rewell to Algis

    One of the greatest privileges in my life was to get to know Algis Budrys—really getting to know him.

    Algis was a big man with a tough exterior. That, coupled with the authority that he wielded as one of the most powerful literary critics in the field of speculative fiction made him seem rather imposing. As a critic, he was often quite candid if he didn’t like something.

    So when I first met Algis, I have to admit that I felt intimidated much in the way that a budding actor might be nervous to meet Jack Nicholson. It never occurred to me that we might actually become friends.

    But in his dealings with other writers, I soon saw that Algis had a heart of gold. Though he was honest, I never heard him be “brutally” so, for Algis was aware that good writers, even great writers, sometimes fall short of their best work.

    More than that, I suspect that it would surprise those writers that he helped nurture to know just how much Algis cared about them. I never saw Algis when he didn’t beg to hear about the other writers from my area. “How is Shayne Bell doing? How’s Ginny Baker? Have you seen Carolyn Larsen lately? What’s going on with Doc Smith?” He’d go through a list of twenty or thirty people—often surprising me by asking about someone that I wasn’t aware that he knew, and I’d tell him about their latest accomplishments. One day, he asked about a writer, and I had to admit that our mutual friend was gravely ill. Upon hearing the news, Algis’s eyes misted over and he excused himself from the room. He spent half an hour crying in the bathroom, and even then wasn’t able to compose himself—such was his depth of compassion.

    It wasn’t until I’d known him for many years that I realized that Algis felt that way about most of the people that he met. Algis loved to praise other writers. He was not eloquent in his praise. In fact, he was often rather brief—he was a minimalist, after all. But I noticed a pattern with him. The day after I first won the Writers of the Future, I called a high-powered literary agent to see if she would be willing to help me sell my first novel. She said, “Oh, I’ve heard of you: Algis Budrys told me about your work. Yes, I’ll take you as a client.” She didn’t ask to see a manuscript; she didn’t hesitate to take me—even though she hadn’t taken a new client in years. Algis’s word was good enough. Over the years, I discovered that Algis had spoken kind words into the ears of many other writers and editors. So Algis was sparse with his compliments, but he spread them wide and far.

    Yet it wasn’t just me who was enriched by his generous praise. On one occasion I happened to be with him at a large science fiction convention where he mentioned to Tom Doherty, the head of Tor Books, that some new writer had written an excellent manuscript, one that, Algis said, “brought tears to my eyes.” At this Tom became thoughtful, answered, “Tell that writer that I’d like to buy his book. I’ll give him ten thousand dollars advance, sight unseen.” Thus, for a time Algis quite accidentally went from being a critic and an editor to working as a literary agent. He loved the job. He took great satisfaction in seeing his writers get published.

    So, I admired Algis Budrys for his keen intellect, but I loved him even more for his compassion and kindness. The world was much richer for having him, and we are all made poorer at his passing.

    Dave Wolverton


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