- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; New edition edition (28 Feb. 1980)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006154107
- ISBN-13: 978-0006154105
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,250,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Iron Thorn Paperback – 28 Feb 1980
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1st Fontana 1980 paperback edition vg+ In stock shipped from our UK warehouse
Top Customer Reviews
It is less these imagined societies than Jackson himself that forms the subject matter of the book. Jackson's other names change several times, reflecting his restless inability to conform to social roles. He has no time for fakery, tradition or authority, ultimately finding even the world of the Thorn's creators a pointless mummers parade. Incidentally an accomplished artist, he has perhaps too sharp an eye for reality for his own good: "To me I am the only sane man conceivable."
Budrys is a neglected but very fine writer of SF, and even his lesser works, like this one, have a distinctive metaphysical edge. Here he shows us a rational man who will brook no nonsense, a modern post-Enlightenment man despite his upbringing in a backward society, and shows us too how that admirable hunger for truth makes peace of mind impossible. A far-future "Catcher In The Rye", it's a tight, thoughtful, slightly worrying book.
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 very same contrast but this third section of the book still doesn’t match the imagery of the first section which is probably why the last couple of pages is drawn back to those first images.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
The relationship between Amsirs and humans is at first complicated and full of contradictions. It deteriorates into a king of the hill conflict, then is suddenly over. A new life -- or story -- begins, aided by an instant education machine that gives Jackson, the protagonist, a leap into the truth of everything. It seems a cheat, but is this due to the fiction that has been written and read in the intervening 40 years?
Then the relationship between men and women, male and female, does not show balance or even the tensions between the sexes that existed at the time of the writing of this book. Females exist for the pleasure of the males and for no other reason. But, in truth, none of the characters, nor even the species, exist for any particular reason. Rogue Moon, considered Budrys's best work, is a better read.
It seemed to me that the author's imagination lost steam past the initial introduction of the story. I think this book could have been so much more if Algis Budry had spent more time developing his characters and the world they inhabited, the potential was there but instead he chose to dive into relativist philosophy and even "art speak". It was a shame he never fully explored the predicaments, pit falls or plusses of human bioengineering and technologies attempts to eek out an existence on the hostile planet of Mars. Perhaps it was just simpler to wave a magic wand and turn the human condition into a fairy land of intellects grand desires.
It was Frank Frazzetta's art work that captured the promise the potential of Algis Budrys novel. For me, Algis Budrys book failed to meet that potential because he chose to go gallivanting off on a philosophical tangent. Life on another world and the human conditions attempt to survive it would have made this a gripping and memorable science fiction novel, but that would take more imagination.