Rogue Moon Critical Essays

Algis Budrys


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Rogue Moon is about the meaning of life and humanity’s yearning to transcend death. Algis Budrys uses the trip through the alien labyrinth as a metaphor for life. Barker’s discovery when he makes it completely through the alien structure—that a person must create himself or herself—is a logical extension of Hawks’s earlier statement to Elizabeth, a person he has just admitted into the intimacy of his mind. Hawks explains to Elizabeth his realization that in all the universe there is only one thing outside of nature’s universal entropic law. That one thing is the human mind, because it has nothing to do with time and space except to use them. Hawks rationally accepts that, but Budrys plumbs deeper, exposing the fears and regrets that Hawks’s duplicate experiences at the instant of death.

Budrys comments on the humanity of an individual’s life by having his protagonist—a detached, coolly observant scientist—explain that consciousness transcends nature. At the same time, however, Hawks grapples with an emotional connection to physical reality. Thus, Budrys emphasizes the ineffable quality of humanness connected to consciousness as he underlines the poignant attachment each person maintains to physical reality and the people who share it.

Even though Hawks faces his own death knowing that some part of his mind has transcended it, he is saddened at the losses of his physical life and the love he has finally allowed into...

(The entire section is 424 words.)