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The Iron Thorn

2.94  ·  Rating details ·  62 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
[Front Cover]

"A wry, savage, brilliant idyll of a world to come and a human condition that is forever"

[Back Cover]

"Honor White Jackson was a human being. But his planet was not Earth, nor his time Now. His world was dominated by a giant Iron Thorn. Beyond the reach of this tower there was, supposedly, nothing---except a frozen, airless desert where huge winged beasts calle
Hardcover, 189 pages
Published February 1968 by Gollancz (first published January 1967)
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Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the SF writers of the 50s and 60s, Algis Budrys is most famous for being unpronounceable and for the edition of _Rogue Moon_ which was spelled "Rouge Moon" on the spine. I never read any of his early stuff, but I remember a 1970s computer thriller called _Michaelmas_. Should probably go find that again. (I look over the tide of new books coming towards me, and retire that thought without comment.)

Here, however, is an ancient (1967, fifty-cent) paperback, fallen into my grasp. Being a pulp
Darren Goossens
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review is from here.

Budrys is an author whose fiction oeuvre in sheer wordage is not huge, but whose every effort is worth a little attention. He wrote with a sharpness and an eye-catching simplicity that showed him to be a more finely tuned wordsmith than many in SF. Probably his best novels are Michaelmas and Rogue Moon, and I remember enjoying Hard Landing when it came out in F&SF many years ago.
Cover of <i>The Iron Thorn</i> by Algis Budrys. Cover of The Iron Thorn by Algis Budrys.

This one, first published in Galaxy in the
Jason Mills
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who think.
(My edition is just called The Iron Thorn.)

This story literally hits the ground running, with our hero White Jackson hunting a Amsir (the indefinite article is a foible of his dialect) across a desert. He must stay within sight of the Iron Thorn, a clearly ancient man-made tower, or he won't be able to breathe. This limited environment is the first microcosm that Jackson explores and then abandons. His small tribe huddling around the Thorn with their frozen culture do not satisfy him, and in due
Peter Dunn
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What’s wonderful about this book is the truly alien landscape, and the intriguingly strange society, that we are initially presented with. This is science fiction at its most inventive. It was therefore a huge let down for everything to then suddenly reset into a mundane explanation and much more familiar setting.

However all is not lost and that mundane setting itself starts to peel away to reveal a society that is almost as odd as the first one we meet. Clearly the reader is meant to make the
Bob Rust
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn (1967) a deceptively lightweight narrative opening on Mars where members of a straggling human colony hunt apparent Aliens for their meat and other bodily products. It emerges that these winged beaked "Amsirs" are also human but adapted to Martian existence; the action shifts via long-dormant Spaceship to a somewhat decadent Earth where the protagonist's adventures are regarded as an artistic aesthetic experience.
Perry Whitford
May 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Another one of the Science Fiction Book Club novels I have accumulated over the years.

The Iron Thorn is something of a strange tale of conflicting species on a conditioned planet, living as neighbours but technologically unable to enter each other's habitat, meeting instead in the sandy dunes between where they hunt each other for sport and kudos.

Richard Newmanson
rated it it was ok
Apr 15, 2016
Dan Goodman
rated it it was ok
Jan 21, 2012
rated it did not like it
Apr 28, 2011
rated it liked it
Dec 16, 2012
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Algis Budrys was a Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and critic. He was also known under the pen names "Frank Mason", "Alger Rome", "John A. Sentry", "William Scarff", "Paul Janvier", and "Sam & Janet Argo".

Called "AJ" by friends, Budrys was born Algirdas Jonas Budrys in Königsberg in East Prussia. He was the son of the consul general of the Lithuanian government, (the pre-Wo
More about Algis Budrys...