FIND in
<--prev V209 next-->
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 16:55:24 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) MICHAELMAS, another thread of Budrys in Urth

I've just read Algis J. Budrys' novel MICHAELMAS [1976].  I have previously
TORCH, and HARD LANDING.  I haven't read WHO? but I know about it: the case
of a guy who suffered an accident and has been repaired as a cyborg,
raising questions as to his identity (and possibly his humanity).  ROGUE
MOON is all about the teleported astronaut working his way through a deadly
alien labyrinth, knowing that the original he is based on was destroyed by
the scanning process.

MICHAELMAS approaches some of this material again: there is a wounded
astronaut, presumed dead, who might be real or might be fake (clone,
reconstruction); there is Michaelmas himself, the ace-reporter and secretly
the most wired man in the world, with his secret AI program making magic
happen via the internet; there is the female reporter who looks and acts
disturbingly like Michaelmas' dead wife, which might be just chance, or the
fact that she spent time in a world-famous clinic in Switzerland.  To me it
is a Brunner big novel with some Ballardian elements and some PK Dick
angles all in a short novel form.

In CASTLE OF DAYS article "Algis Budrys II," Gene Wolfe writes that
MICHAELMAS is Gene's favorite Budrys novel.  He also notes that while
friends call Budrys 'A.J.,' "though _A_ and _J_ may not be his true


In the end, the clinic in the Alps basically has a presence chamber which
can draw analogs from alternate universes.  Like Niven's "All the Myriad
Ways," but this dingus, operated by distant alien entities that experience
one of their afternoons in Earth decades, can pull an entity from its home
universe and put it into ours (if I understand it correctly).  So the
astronaut really did die in our world, but the  human conspirators fed
media files on the guy into the dingus and the aliens fished up his analog
and made him appear in the manifestor device.

And the human conspirators are trying to draw up a Michaelmas analog -- in
fact, it is in the manifestor device and banging to be let out, but then
Michaelmas makes them send it back.

Beyond all the main action there is a haunting bit at the end in that
Michaelmas suspects (I think) that the female reporter, therefore, really
=is= an analog of his dead wife, rather than being a cosmetic forgery (of
the conspirators) or a pure coincidence.

The wounded astronaut (WHO? and ROGUE MOON and MICHAELMAS) would be
translated on Urth as crippled sailor, pointing to Jonas.  The teleporting
of the astronaut in both MICHAELMAS and ROGUE MOON point to the same for
Jonas.  The hidden/uncertain identity, clearly.  The haunting love interest
complicated by teleporters in MICHAELMAS (with maybe a tad of this in ROGUE
MOON, iirc?) also links to Jonas. (The mysterious aliens who think the
whole thing is just a parlor trick and experience time-flow at a different
rate than Earth seems like a solid starting point for the denizens of

And not the least, Jonas is the middle name of Budrys, the "J" of "A.J."


Sirius Fiction
booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
29 copies of "Snake's-hands" until OP!


<--prev V209 next-->