Manny's Reviews > The Iron Dream

The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
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's review
Dec 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction, well-i-think-its-funny
Read in January, 1973

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 Heinlein is more of a libertarian...

- No, no, he's a fascist. Farnham's Freehold. A bridge-playing fascist, they are absolutely the worst kind.

- OK, good point. Anything left in that bottle? Thanks. May all their slams go one off!

- Two off, doubled!

- Cheers!

- Someone should take a stand. Hey, I have an idea. Suppose we were to write a parallel world novel, where Adolf Hitler never founds the Nazi party, but instead emigrates to the US and becomes a science fiction writer.

- I think I see where this is going...

- You do indeed. So, he writes this novel called, I don't know, Lords of the Swastika, and it's a huge success, and the fans just love it. And everyone ignores the fact that the evil mind-controlling villains look just like Jews, because well it's fun and how can you take that stuff seriously. And at the conventions everyone dresses up in Nazi uniforms like they do in Swastika and goosesteps around giving Nazi salutes.

- So you're proposing we write this novel for him?

- Absolutely. We write the novel, and there is a foreword and an afterword by some academic we make up, who explains the history and why every SF fan loves Adolf so much. It'll be cool!

Now if it had been me, we could easily have had the above conversation, but I'm afraid the book would never have been written. Spinrad, I am pleased to say, actually did it. The joke wears a little thin after a while, but it is still pretty funny. If you are nursing guilt feelings for having enjoyed dreadful Fascist SF in a Kiss-of-the-Spiderwomanish way when you were too young to know better, you will almost certainly like this. Spinrad has got your number alright.
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04/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Brad I only recently got around to this, and I was surprised by how well it worked. You're right about it wearing a little thin by the end, but even then it still worked.

Manny There is a slightly dull patch about two-thirds of the way through, if I remember right, but I loved the completely insane ending. And the afterword was also nice. It's surprising that the book isn't better known!

message 3: by Adam (new)

Adam Haha, Manny that was a great narrative. Just stumbled across this book. I think you are spot on; although they might have been smoking something as well.

Manny Now you mention it, I think you're probably right. Particularly given when it was written :)

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