May 2, 2011

Algis Budrys - Labyrinth of the moon (or Rogue Moon).

 The U.S. Government has discovered an alien artifact on the moon. It’s a structure about 100 by 20 meters, and it has a door. At the beginning of the story the government had put maybe hundreds of men through that door, and not one of them had made it out alive. The purpose of the structure seemed to be to kill whatever went into it. It was a labyrinth that would kill those who did not absolutely stick not only to the path, but also to body contortions as they moved through. Along comes Connington, a HR director for the project. He convinces Hawkes, the project manager that what he really needs is a crazy man who doesn't care about death, and delivers him Barker, a suicidal narcissist with a flair for daring-do. h get the job done they do, but in probably the biggest let down in the history of the genre. Barker makes his way gradually through the artifact over the course of months, dying on the Moon who knows how many times, but never going insane or dying on Earth, until one day he announces that he is at the end. Hawkes teleported with him on the next mission and went through the artifact with him, and together they walk out the other door and...
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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", "John A. Sentry", "William Scarff", and "Paul Janvier." Called "AJ" by friends, Budrys was born Algirdas Jonas Budrys in Königsberg in East Prussia. He was the son of the consul general of the Lithuanian government

With Edna Duna, his wife
AJ and Edna were married for more than 50 years and this is the story of how they met, as told by Frederik Pohl:

"It was a nice spring day in 1950-something and I was up in my third-floor office in the house in Red Bank, New Jersey, trying to telephone my other office in New York.

I wasn’t having much luck. Every time I picked up the phone my then wife, Carol, was already on it. Finally, I gave up, turned off the typewriter and went downstairs to see if the mail had come yet. It had. I was opening it over a cup of coffee when Carol showed up, off the phone at last. “Long call,” I said. “Who were you talking to?”

“Eddie Duna,” she said. “Oh, and I invited her out for the weekend, all right?”

“Oh,” I said. “Listen, I forgot to tell you. I already invited A J. I don’t think they’ve met.”

She gave me a look, but what she said was, “Fine. We’ve got room.” We did, too — a house that was ancient, decrepit, requiring constant infusions of money to keep it standing, but with twelve or so rooms. (I work at home and I don’t like to be crowded. My current home is about the same size, though less decrepit and needing somewhat fewer infusions.)

“Maybe they’ll like each other,” she added. “Maybe they’ll get married. A J could do a lot worse. Edna’s smart and great looking, and she’s got a good job.”

“Well, so could she,” I said, sticking up for my client. “A J is turning into a hell of a writer. What’s for lunch?”

And, you know, they did like each other and, a few months later, they did get married."

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