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The Iron Dream

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  960 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
The Iron Dream is a metafictional 1972 alternate history novel by Norman Spinrad. The book has a nested narrative that tells a story within a story. On the surface, the novel presents an unexceptional science fiction action tale entitled Lord of the Swastika. This is a pro-fascist narrative written by an alternate history version of Adolf Hitler, who in this timeline emigr ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by Spectra (first published 1972)
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Dec 21, 2008 Manny rated it really liked it
You know those great ideas you have late at night when you're chatting with your friends after a few glasses of wine? Well, if I had been involved in writing this book, here's how I think it might have got started:

[Table is covered with the remains of what looks like a large and pleasant meal. Animated conversation.]

- ... So don't you just hate those fascist science fiction writers who sell right-wing ideologies to suggestible teens? You know, Robert Heinlein and people like that?

- I think Heinl
Printable Tire
May 12, 2012 Printable Tire rated it it was amazing
Update: I actually did end up finding a copy in a used bookstore for $1.49 or something and it had the cover I wanted and everything and it was awesome.

I'm freaking dying for a copy of this stupid book. I've wanted it for like a year now. All the copies on amazon are way too much money. I actually asked Spinrad about it, but he didn't know where I could get a cheap one. The hunt continues.


"Let Adolph Hitler transport you to a far-future Earth, where only FERIC JAGGER and his mighty weapo
Mar 30, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like insane over-the-top dystopia satire, black humor, strange mirrors of the human soul
The Iron Dream is one of the true classics of science fiction. It is a core work in what I can only describe as a microgenre of sorts that appeared during the late 60's and early 70's -- Science Fiction as seriously black humor and revolutionary social commentary. The principle writers (that I can recall offhand -- I make no claim to this list being exhaustive) were Norman Spinrad and Harlan Ellison ( I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream, Dangerous Visions), but a number of other authors such as L ...more
Edward Erdelac
This is a spoiler-ific review. So the premise is Hitler has a falling out with the Nazis in their infancy and emigrates to America where he paints pulp fiction covers and becomes a semi-respected writer himself, spawning a Nazi-inspired fashion trend with his penultimate novel, Lord of The Swastika (the book within the book The Iron Dream, about the last true human state in a post apocalyptic world of mutants and mind controlling Dominators). In the bookend world in which Hitler wrote, Germany a ...more
Il est à noter qu'il s'agit d'une deuxième édition, rajoutant à l'originale (apparement) une post-face également savoureuse.
Les seigneurs du svastika est donc le roman posthume d'Hitler, honoré d'un prix Hugo. Il nous narre les aventures de Feric Jaggar, défenseur de la pure race humaine, pourfendeur des mutants, et libérateur de la terre.
A un tout premier niveau, on retrouve là le héros de sf classique, un peu analogue, par exemple aux loups des étoiles de Edmond Hamilton (enfin, c'est le seu
Apr 24, 2015 Efka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, kitos
Taaaaaaip... Net nežinau nuo ko pradėt. :) "Geležinis sapnas" - neabejotinai kraugėriškiausia, šovinistiškiausia, labiausiai maskulizmu persisunkusi knyga, kurią kada nors skaičiau. Realiai čia, neskaitant nebaisiai ilgos įžangos, niekas nevyksta - nei pasakojimo, nei personažų progreso prasme. Nieko, tik ištisinis kruvinas taškymasis. Visas knygos turinys gali laisvai būti nusakomas taip: "Džegeris atvyko į valstybę, kurioje staigiai ir be jokių pastangų tapo absoliučiu valdovu, subūrė fanatikų ...more
May 25, 2009 David rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: masochists
I learned that a strong concept doesn't get you anywhere without strong execution. The idea of satirizing the racism/sexism/solipsism of much Sword & Sorcery and "hard" SF by writing a book as if by Adolph Hitler is a good one, but instead of actually critiquing such fiction by demonstrating its links to fascist ideology, Spinrad gets carried away satirizing Nazism itself, an absurdly easy target. For example, rather than introducing a bunch of cardboard characters bearing the barely modifie ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Terence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
An alternate history where Hitler immigrated to America and became a pulp fiction writer.
Apr 24, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it it was ok
The concept behind this book is great and made me laugh with glee. Adolf Hitler as a hack science fiction writer? Just too good! The front even includes a list of "Other Books by the Author" that stars such alluring titles as "Tomorrow, The World" and "The master Race", and a little biography of Hitler, the SF writer/illustrator.

The story itself purports to be a book called Lord of the Swastika, and the narrator is clearly a stand-in for Hitler himself. In fact, the early parts of the book mirro
Apr 23, 2010 Rhys rated it really liked it
What happens when satire is misunderstood?

The point of satire is that it should be accessible on two levels simultaneously. The surface text tells one story, the subtext tells another; or to put it more accurately, the subtext tells the exact opposite story of the surface text. We might even say that the subtext reverses the polarity of the visible story, coinciding with it word for word, image for image, but in the wrong direction. In this case, the wrong way is the right way.

Writers of satir
Jonas Luster
Jan 22, 2008 Jonas Luster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise is interesting: after a brief stint in radical politics, Hitler moves to New York, disenfranchised with the German political system yet not with the radical ideas of racial purity. He becomes a hack illustrator, yet his biggest work is that of a science fiction book called "Lords of the Swastika".

Spinrad's writing is harsh, often hackish and unkempt - just as a German speaking SciFi illustrator would. His portrayal of a world 1000 years past the nuclear holocaust and protagonists and
Dec 27, 2008 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating this book in terms of "one to five stars" is a complicated proposition. Are you rating the entire package or the book-within-a-book, Lord Of The Swastika, by Adolf Hitler?

On its own, Lord Of The Swastika is fairly wretched stuff: formulaic, over-enthusiastic pulp tripe.

But packaged as a product of an alternate history, it becomes powerful. It's the study of an embittered politician and possibly a latent homosexual, and a statement about mythic heroes as they apply to history. With the sha
Nigel Mitchell
Feb 17, 2014 Nigel Mitchell rated it really liked it
The Iron Dream is a book within a book. It's a sci-fi adventure novel framed by analysis of the text by a fictional critic. The novel tells the story of a stalwart hero whose strength and charisma allow him to lead a post-apocalyptic future nation against the evil mutant hordes threatening to wipe out humanity.

It's a very familiar and even stereotypical premise for a sci-fi novel. What makes Iron Dream unique is that the novel is called Lord of the Swastika, written by Adolf Hitler. The framing
Zack Ellafy
Nov 08, 2015 Zack Ellafy rated it it was ok
Well. I was really excited to read this because of it's great premise. Adolf Hitler writing a pulp science fiction story using his ideology as a base. Could be very interesting. Sadly in my opinion I think a lot of the book was lost in translation to time. I felt like it was really, really repetitive. I also thought that a lot of it was over the top and not very original. I understood what the author was trying to do from the first chapter and then read 14 chapters of the same. I can see why, wh ...more
May 17, 2016 Adam rated it really liked it
A novel-length version of the "Nice painting, eh? You just enjoyed one of Adolf Hitler's artworks" meme. Spinrad's main aim is to both satirize and critically frame the fascistic tendencies, tropes, and underlying worldviews of epic fantasy and sci fi, especially the stuff that was popular at the time. It's in the same vein as Verhoeven's Starship Troopers. It tries to illustrate the dangers of the propagandist fiction by providing its staples alongside thematic and plot material that emphasize ...more
A novel within a novel, German emigre and pulp illustrator Adolf Hitler’s ‘The Lord of the Swastika’ nestles between a brief blurb and a concluding essay by Professor Homer Whipple, NYU, explaining the book’s appeal in dark times when everywhere but Japan and the USA has gone commie.

Animating this book is a critique of pulp sci-fi and fantasy. Through the tumescent, squamous prose of ‘The Lord of the Swastika’ Spinrad catalogues the fascistic attitudes inherent in many a heroic tale of triumph,
Aug 10, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Read this book as a critique of the "Golden Age" of Science Fiction; not as an alternative history. The book takes as its premise that Adolf Hitler emigrated to the US after WWI and became a science fiction writer and illustrator. The resulting novel within the novel, Lord of the Swastika, was written by this Hitler, and tells of the rise of Feric Jagger in the country of Helder, his work to achieve racial purity against mutants and Dominators, and his victory agains the country of Zind. The rea ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Spinrad's alternate history puts Adolf Hitler as a failed political agitator turned emigrant to the US, where his dream of becoming an artist led him to working on pulp SF magazines, which led to him writing SF. The Iron Dream consists of Hitler's posthumous Hugo-winning novel Lord of the Swastikas, featuring Feric Jaggar, Trueman, fighting his way through the legions of genetically impure mutants who populate a post-apocalyptic landscape.

The narrative mirrors Hitler's rise to power in the real
The Iron Dream has an irresistible hook: "What if Hitler became a science fiction writer instead of the Fuhrer?" Spinrad's clear purpose, confirmed explicitly in the fictional critical afterword to fictional Hitler's fictional novel, is to expose fascist sympathies in the most commercial strains of science fiction and fantasy writing.

I must be reading the wrong (or is it right?) science fiction, then, because I absolutely cannot buy Lord of the Swastika as work of traditional genre fiction, even
Mar 30, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, World War Two buffs
Recommended to Michael by: Dragon Magazine
This is a book-within-a-book. Author Norman Spinrad asked an excellent counter-historical question: what if Adolf Hitler, rather than going into German politics after the First World War, had instead moved to the USA and become a science fiction writer? This book is the product of that fantasy: the most popular science fiction book written by Hitler in that alternate universe.

Spinrad demonstrates more knowledge of period pulp sci-fi than of German history, but since this is a fantasy of the dera
Jun 30, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
A Classic of American Fantasy Literature from Norman Spinrad

Norman Spinrad’s “The Iron Dream” is a book which still confounds many of its fans and critics. Some view it as an over-the-top critique of the worst aspects of fantasy and science fiction, as if it is “The Lord of the Rings” as channeled by LSD or some other mind-altering drug. Others, including yours truly, recognize this as a brilliant satire from Spinrad during one of the most productive phases of his literary career, critiquing Ado
Jun 28, 2014 mensch rated it it was amazing
What kind of story would Adolf Hilter have told if he had become a writer instead of a dictator? That is the basic premise of "The Iron Dream" and Hitler's disturbing tale, as imagined by Spinrad, is full of acts of pure courage, raw power, strong, unwavering personalities and a lot of genetic/ethnic cleansing. It's both a caricature of the national-socialism doctrine (heavy focus on power, genetic purity, etc.), but also a parody on the stereotypical science-fantasy novel. Along the way Hitler ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Drake rated it really liked it
The Iron Dream has to be one of the most difficult books to review. The basic premise (that Adolf Hitler moved to the US and became a pulp sci-fi writer) is patently absurd, yet so weird and savvy, it’s truly brilliant. Of course, the meta-book-within-a-book, Lord of the Swastika by Hitler, is wretched (even as a clear tongue-and-cheek parody), but again, that was Spinrad’s entire point. And the final chapter of faux-analysis summed everything up in one neat and tidy package that was beyond inge ...more
Jun 01, 2013 Jack rated it liked it
My suggestion - read the reviews of the other readers. They have much to say about this novel.

To paraphrase Jerry Garcia, "What a long, strange book this is."

I mean who could resist the back cover blurb - "What if Hitler wrote science fiction?"

Yes - our very own mad man of the 20th century writing a novel of earth 1,000 years after a nuclear war with a protagonist who unites the pure humans - the Truemen - in a crusade to rid the world of the evil Dominators of Zind, those mind controlling mons
Apr 08, 2016 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

It can also make for some very... interesting commentary.

So spoiler alert: This is supposed to be a book written by Hilter right before he 'died' in 1953 titled Lord of the Swastika. It takes place in an alternate universe where, instead of becoming chancellor of Germany and perhaps being one of the most easily referenced historical monsters of the 20th century, decided to move to the US around 1919 and do cover art for sci-fi novels a
Tim Stretton
Feb 01, 2016 Tim Stretton rated it liked it
The Iron Dream is brilliant idea let down by a flawed execution. The conceit is Adolf Hitler emigrates to the United States in the 1920s, despairing of his political vision ever being realised in Germany. Instead, he becomes a pulp sf writer, and The Iron Dream reproduces his "Hugo-Award winning" novel "Lords of the Swastika". This trashy novel satirises both sword and sorcery stories and Fascist iconography. At 80 pages it would have been a triumph; at 250 the carpet wears very thin.

The problem
James Beach
Jan 18, 2016 James Beach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastic-worlds
A true lost classic. In this bold and bizarre metafictional science fiction novel, an alternate history Adolf Hitler emigrates to America after failing with Nazism and turns to writing golden age pulp science fiction. Here he creates a loyal following of American SF fans.

The bulk of the book is one of this Hitler's novels - and Norman Spinrad is so deep in Hitler's head that, through Hitler's turgid prose and one-dimensional characters, we get to see into the man himself and his deep underlying
Israel Laureano
Sep 05, 2015 Israel Laureano rated it it was amazing
A mi gusto es una de las mejores ucronías, y quizá de los mejores libros de ciencia ficción de Spinrad.

En un mundo donde Adolph Hitler no se convirtió en un líder alemán, sino en un migrante estadounidense de novelas pulp mediocres y estrambóticas, en el libro se muestra su última novela corta, "El Señor de la Svástika" con el más puro estilo hitleriano: simplón, racista, fanático, sexista y supersticioso; es bastante admirable que Spinrad hubiera podido sostener su -digamos- disfraz literario d
Paolo Zanella
Norman Spinrad scrive questa opera partendo da una idea originale: immagina un Adolf Hitler che nel 1919 emigra con la famiglia negli Stati Uniti e finisce col diventare un autore di fantascienza di successo.
A questo punto l'autore fa un passo ulteriore e si mette nei panni di questo Hitler alternativo, decidendo di scrivere un romanzo di sci-fi come avrebbe fatto lui.
Quindi The Iron Dream è un contenitore al cui interno è possibile trovare il romanzo di Hitler, Lord of the Swastika, con tanto d
Jay Parks
Nov 09, 2014 Jay Parks rated it it was amazing
I’m a fan of 1950’s science fiction, and all those wonderful stories of supermen, chosen ones, and heroes with a grand destiny. Spinrad’s brilliant book falls exactly into this camp… at least initially. The hero, Feric Jaggar, was born with a grand destiny, his land lies under an evil and conspiratorial tyranny, and he is the one destined to free it. This book opens exactly like a classic SF yarn. Well, if you ignore the front matter in the book:
Other Science Fiction Novels
By Adolph Hitler
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Born in New York in 1940, Norman Spinrad is an acclaimed SF writer.

Norman Spinrad, born in New York City, is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. In 1957 he entered City College of New York and graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Science degree as a pre-law major. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, and now lives in Paris. He married fellow novelist N. Lee Wood in 1
More about Norman Spinrad...

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