David's Reviews > The Iron Dream

The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
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May 25, 09

Recommended for: masochists
Read in May, 2009

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 modified names of Nazi leaders, imagine if Spinrad had featured a Jubal Harshaw-like pontificator, an incomparable Dejah Thoris type, and a Sam Gamgee-style sympathetic sidekick. Instead, he winds up with satire that doesn't hit anyone where they live, which is pointless. Meanwhile, the book itself is poorly written, but not in a way that clearly calls to mind any successful SF or fantasy: if you read every page of this book (I confess to skimming through 2/3 of it) the joke's on you.
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05/22/2009 page 52
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