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Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf (Alternatives) Hardcover – 15 Jun 2006

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About the Author

Algis Budrys, critic and SF historian, is the author of such acclaimed novels as "Michaelmas "and "Rogue Moon."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa05623fc) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0569e88) out of 5 stars Great books, & great advice for would-be writers 28 July 2002
By Tracy Deaton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
BENCHMARKS is a brilliant book of insightful, incisive, even FUNNY 30-year-old science fiction book reviews originally published in the pages of late, lamented GALAXY magazine. Budrys takes close looks at SF classics like Frank Herbert's DUNE, John Brunner's STAND ON ZANZIBAR, Ursula LeGuin's LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, Philip K. Dick's THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH, Larry Niven's RINGWORLD, Roger Zelazny's CREATURES OF LIGHT & DARKNESS, ISLE OF THE DEAD, & LORD OF LIGHT, Samuel R. Delany's EINSTEIN INTERSECTION & NOVA, Harlan Ellison's DANGEROUS VISIONS anthology, & 100's more, plus great overlooked classics -- & shows not only how & why these books succeed (or fail), but passes on priceless advice to would-be SF writers, & snapshots of how it felt 2 B an SF writer 30 years ago. A MUST 4 NE serious SF reader or writer! Budrys was the best book reviewer of his time in the SF magazines of the late 60's, late 70's & early 80s. 2 bad he isn't still reviewing, the modern SF scene could use the input....
HASH(0xa0921a80) out of 5 stars An excellent collection of science fiction book reviews 2 April 2013
By K. Bunker - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume collects 54 book-review columns originally written by Algis Budrys for the fondly-remembered Galaxy Science Fiction magazine, covering the years 1965 through 1971. Budrys was an excellent reviewer/critic, and this book is a great read. One of his strengths as a critic was in finding logical flaws in SF stories -- sometimes flaws in the science (even fictional science should be held to the rules of common sense), and sometimes flaws in the behavior of characters (sure, real people often behave like numbskulls, but that doesn't make it okay for a story's plot to be kept aloft purely by a character's convenient numbskullery). Often while reading Budrys' analysis of some book that I was familiar with I would find myself wincing and thinking "Darn, he's right. Why didn't I catch that?" But at the same time Budrys is willing to admit that the worth of a novel is never entirely dependent on rationally analyzable qualities. To quote: "sometimes I find that the enjoyable things in a story will not yield to description in analytical terms."

So while Budrys may find gaping rational holes in many novels (probably including one or two of your favorites, so brace yourself), he's also happy to declare that some books are worthy of high praise (and your reading time) despite flaws of logic and story-telling. For just one example, he calls Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron "a flawed but acceptable telling of a magnificent story; a representation of nobility, one might say, with a Mickey Mouse ending."

In sum, this book makes for interesting and educational reading about what distinguishes good science fiction from bad, and it's also a highly engaging and enjoyable read.
HASH(0xa0cb7cb4) out of 5 stars A classic of SF reviews 14 Jan. 2010
By Jody Lynn Nye - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
AJ Budrys had marvelous insight into what made a good book. This collection of his critiques is instructive both to readers and writers. Glad to have it on our bookshelf.
HASH(0xa09f2390) out of 5 stars Budrys serious critic of his genre. 23 Dec. 2014
By James T. Trombetta - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No other books on science fiction are so analytic and revealing.
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