Algis Budrys was one of the few writers who managed to carve out a successful role as an influential critic and editor alongside his fiction writing. BENCHMARKS, his collection of reviews from the pages of GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION, is extremely well-regarded, and for almost two decades he was a judge of the Writers of the Future programme, but it is for his fiction that he is best known. This omnibus collects three of his later works: THE IRON THORN, MICHAELMAS and HARD LANDING. THE IRON THORN: 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 called Amsirs roamed. MICHAELMAS: Michaelmas and Domino, man and computer, were linked to each other, and to the complete database of Earth. There they virtually ruled the world. For by making the right subtle manipulations, they had the power to change the course of human destiny. HARD LANDING: The body was found dead on the tracks, electrocuted. The autopsy confirmed what some had always feared, that we are not alone in the universe - and that even now, some visitors are still at large.