Format: Mass Market Paperback
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I read this book years ago and enjoyed it immensely. Call it satire, call it alternative history; whatever you call it, it's amazing. If I were reviewing the actual printed version of this novel, I'd give it four or possibly even five stars.
But I give the Kindle Edition one star because it is absolutely RIDDLED with errors. I can live with a few mistakes, but this goes just too far. There is a character named "Waffing." Literally half the time he is called "Waning." "Feric," the book's protagonist, is often "Peric." Exclamation points are replaced with the number one. It's clear that no care, attention to detail, or effort was put forth in preparing the electronic version. If they were charging a buck for it, fine. But this is $8.00, a real book price. For that I expect a real book.
This edition is just disgraceful. It shows no respect for the book, the author, or the readers.
Holding a spot in science fiction/fantasy legend as 'the book that was meant to be bad', Norman Spinrad's "The Iron Dream" is a thought provoking look humanity's violent impulses and the dark side of bad pulp writing. The concept is simple enough: Adolf Hitler, dismissing the nascent Nazi Party as a bunch of beer hall debaters, leaves Munich for The United States in 1919. He scrapes by as an illustrator and fanzine editor for several years before switching to science fiction novels. "The Iron Dream" purports to be his last work, dashed off in a mere six weeks before he died in 1953.
As an exercise in tedious, repetitive action and sledgehammer philosophy, "The Iron Dream" makes its point in bold strokes. We follow protagonist Feric Jagger as he travels to his homeland of Heldon, the only genetically untainted homeland in a world otherwise overrun with foul mutants. Musing on the importance of genetic purity in almost every paragraph, Feric forms a motorcycle gang into 'the Knights of the Swastika' and marches off to dominate first Heldon, then the world. The second half of the book unfolds as an orgy of violence, as Feric's forces slash, smash, and blast their way through massive armies of mutants under the sway of the mind-controlling Dominators of Zind.
Through this exaggerated take on pulp SF, Spinrad makes us look the aspects of our genre that many may wish to deny. For sure, a lot of crap science fiction and fantasy has featured unbridled bloodlust and unsublte promotion of a philosophy not far from fascism. For all that, though, one might be tempted to say that Spinrad went too far, and that surely not even the dumbest fan would be tricked by something so absurd. This would be wrong.Read more ›
Ostensibly THE IRON DREAM was written by one Adolph Hitler, who, rather than remaining in Europe and starting WW 2, emigrated to the United States in 1919 and made a career as an artist and writer of science-fiction. It concerns the career of one Feric Jaggar on a far-future Earth, where only he and his great weapon, The Steel Commander, stand between what remains of humanity and its annihilation at the hands of the evil Dominators and the mutant hordes they control. Reading it, one's first reaction is that if the Museum of Bad Art had a literary wing, this book would be in it, because it is a book "too bad to be ignored." But then, about a quarter of the way in, one begins to see the strong parallels between the fictional career of Feric Jaggar and the actual career of Adolph Hitler and his Nazi followers -- allowing, of course, for the fact that wish-fulfillment on the part of author Hitler makes the book's ultimate denouement rather different than the turns history actually took as a result of politician Hitler's impact on it. By about halfway in, one begins to notice another set of parallels: that between the style and subject of this book and those of a great deal of the less reputable output of the science-fiction community over the years -- and the mind-set of so many of s-f fans, who gobble up that output with the mindless enthusiasm of a horse going at a bin full of oats. At that point it is crystal-clear that this book is a masterful send-up of all that's wrong with the culture of science-fiction, as well as a psychohistorical tour de force that reveals in all its appalling chaos the workings of the mind of one of history's most famous psychopaths, Adolph Hitler. Spinrad never loses control here for even a moment.Read more ›
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A satire of fascism, the bulk of "The Iron Dream" purports to be a novel penned by popular science-fiction writer Adolf Hitler, whom we are told in the prologue emigrated to the United States after WWI. Set many generations after a nuclear war, the novel follows the career of Feric Jaggar, genetically pure human, as he mobilizes the post-apocalyptic remnants of homo sapiens to war against various races of mutants who contest the supremacy of mankind's hegemony over the Earth. A loose retelling of the real Hitler's career follows, complete with a perversely happy ending in which the protagonist ensures that his armies of "blond-haired, blue-eyed supermen" will forever rule the world. Important in its accurate portrayal of Nazi mentality as well as for convincingly displaying that the tropes of science-fiction and heroic fantasy easily lend themselves to fascist ideology. Particularly disturbing is the author's demonstration that Hitler's worldview was at once evil and highly Romantic, replete with mysticism, noble heroes, foul villains and a powerful sense of destiny. Worthwhile reading for strong stomachs.
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