Benchmarks Continued: F&SF "Books"
Columns 1975-1982 is the first instalment of an intended
three-volume collected edition of Algis Budrys's classic SF review
columns for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Published: 30 November 2012.
"Before we begin, this seems an appropriate time to state the ground rules under which I do my reviews and critical essays. Here are those underlying assumptions:
"Criticism is not subject to the democratic process.
"I thank you for your kind attention, and now let's get on with it."
Algis Budrys, November 1981 column
As the title suggests, this book follows on from Budrys's Benchmarks: Galaxy Bookshelf (1985), containing the Galaxy magazine reviews of which his editor said – after many arguments about the increasing column length –
"In the long run, A.J. won all the arguments, because he had done what I asked him to to. He had written a column that contributed to the improvement of the breed, and, in fact, many readers also turned to it first in the magazine. I couldn't argue with success.
"A generation later, I'm glad I lost the arguments. The reviews are still here, they still make sense – and what do you know, they're still graceful and enjoyable to read."
Frederik Pohl, 1984
And a post-publication comment:
"As well as one of the best writers in our field, Algis Budrys was the best writer about our field. These essays are much more than reviews – altogether they're a deeply perceptive history of science fiction literature."
Tim Powers, 2013