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Algis Budrys
Size fb2:
1254 kb
Size epub:
1118 kb
Hodder Fawcett Ltd.; New Ed edition (1968)
159 pages
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Science Fiction & Fantasy
Science Fiction
  • Ndyardin
Algis Budrys' Rogue Moon is a 1960 sci-fi classic. An artificial, alien structure has been found on the moon, but its investigation leads to the death of explorers going inside. To overcome this obstacle, the technology of the day is to create in a 3D printing manner, clones of the explorers, but their repeated death experiences leads to mental instability. The lead engineer and scientist on the project finds the perfect subject and a strange relationship develops as the labyrinth is slowly mapped.

Budrys' sci-fi elements are a high tech version of 3D printing of both mechanical as well as biological material such that a duplicate person, maintaining a connection to the original, is built on the moon, while the former stays on Earth. Also of note is the idea of divergent time futures where the two versions of the persons gradually evolve into different individuals because of the differing experiences. The story is also notable for the influence on future sci-fi writers such as Arthur C Clarke, Alastair Reynolds, and Gene Roddenberry.
  • Fomand
This story is a bit dated as far as the technology goes, but the philosophical implications of what happens is cutting edge. Read it and see what you think...
  • Marelyne
The literary quality of this book is marvelous. Budrys takes the reader deep into the characters to face their internal conflicts. While I enjoy the character-driven narration of Rogue Moon, as opposed to societal conflict or a purely plot-driven narration, the science fiction is limited. The novel deals with the idea of teleportation with wonderful rationale and science, but the moon the novel is so named after is only talked about until the final 17 pages, due to the third-person-limited narration that reports only what the scientist who built the machine experiences. The character who actually steps on to the moon dozens of times throughout the novel only gives one sketchy report to the scientist that the reader is allowed to overhear, and then we are taken back into the earth-bound life and self-analysis of Hawks, the main character. I enjoy a pensive read, but I had picked this book up hoping to find myself in some fantastical world of great imagining, but I was just stuck on earth with a handful of relatively normal people with suicidal and homicidal tendencies.
  • Todal
Algis Budrys has written better novels than Rogue Moon. For example, the truly outstanding Who? written in 1958. Rogue Moon is a mixed bag. It has some very original ideas (for the times): the pseudo teleportation of humans to the Moon, where only information is transmitted and a exact replica of the original individual is created on the Moon. The essential concept in the novel is basically the same as in quantum teleportation, on which only information is transmitted instantaneously. The little science described in the book seems hopelessly obsolete 50+ years later, which is only natural. Budrys uses analog computers and UHF radio transmission to store and transmit all the information (body and mind) of one individual from the Earth to the Moon, which looks considerably preposterous, reading it in 2014.

The main problem with this short novel (only 180 pages) is not the obsolete technology, but the fact that the science and the science fiction part of it takes a much shorter space that the ugly human interactions among the characters. In itself, this would not be bad; on the contrary, plot and character development should take a preeminent role in a well written novel. However, in this case it becomes a burden because almost all the characters, the main protagonists and even the secondary characters, are quite unpleasant and they all exhibit clear signs of different mental diseases: suicidal cases, sadomasochists, psychotics of various kinds, and their pathological interactions become the bulk of the novel.

Also, the whole premise of the novel assuming that there would be numerous volunteers for what is in essence a series of suicidal trips with no return to the Moon, seems considerably absurd. And the final successful outcome of a brief passage through the inside of a lethal alien artifact on the Moon, after many previous deaths of the individuals that failed before, is hugely unsatisfying because at the end they learn nothing about the nature of the artifact or the aliens that built it. In fact, it is the same huge dissatisfaction generated by the ending of Clarke's 2001, written eight years after Budrys wrote Rogue Moon.

Of course this is not a defect unique to Budrys, or to Clarke. Unfortunately it is very frequent in science fiction that writers grow and grow readers expectations for a Great Revelation that at the end it either is not produced at all (cases of Rogue Moon or 2001) or if produced, it seems silly or pedestrian, compared to the very high expectations created by the author (there are many examples of this case, for example several of the novels written by Jack McDevitt and by Robert Charles Wilson).
  • Sti
The premise is a phenomenon is found on the moon that is literally deadly to explore. However, the whole moon thing is really just a sidebar / vehicle for the story. The book is REALLY about the interaction of the characters and I found all of that to be a VERY heavy handed and obvious.

The dialog is so well written and the characters speak so well that _I_ don't know anyone that talks that way (so it's a little over the top), but they ARE pretty sentences. But it's not like I spent so much time with the characters to really care about them much.

The important part to me is that it was a short book that introduced a couple of intriguing concepts about the nature of man and what makes him unique.

If it had been a long book, I would have been annoyed that the whole thing on the moon was treated in such an abstract way (I wanted some meat about the device too but it's never delivered - like a book about cars that never actually talks about any cars - but it IS a short book and that's just not what the author wanted to cover). But the idea(s) the author bringings up are kind of interesting and I suspect they will float around in my brain for a while.

The other reviews made this book sound like a GREAT BOOK of classic status... Um maybe it was great stuff _when it was written in 1960_, but lots of good stuff has been written since then too.

For entertainment - 1 star

For future pondering - 3 stars

The answer is - 2 stars

"Time machine message to myself" - read it only since it's so short.
  • Phallozs Dwarfs
Great novel with well developed characters and a deep, thoughtful plot with beautifully written, tough prose. Highly recommended.