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Iron Dream (Panther science fiction) [Paperback]

Norman Spinrad
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Panther; n.i. edition (14 April 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586040196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586040195
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Set in a post-nuclear holocaust world, a novel which traces the rise to power of one Feric Jaggar, an exile among mutants and mongrels to absolute rule in the Fatherland of Truemen. With an afterword by James Sallis.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A sly alternate history (Hitler emigrated to the U.S.A and became a hack sci-fi writer, and the book-within-a-book (complete with author's bio and list of other books by the same author) is the one he might have written), and a devastating satire of the fascistic tendencies of much sci-fi and sword-and-sorcery (and I speak, both in sorrow and in anger, as a devoted fan of both genres).
It might be nice to think that this aspect of the book is now outdated; unfortunately, a cursory glance at many of the books sitting alongside "The Iron Dream" on the shelves of any bookshop shows that most of them are still peddling the same themes (the hero who, by virtue of his hidden descent from the ancient heroes etc. etc., is alone genetically equipped to wield the mystic weapon/unleash his magical powers etc. etc. against the evil hordes of subhuman monsters/mutants/orcs etc. etc.) with a terrifyingly straight face. "The Iron Dream" is genuinely shocking because it is alarmingly close to much of what is being published today, while pushing it just a little bit further into something chillingly recognizable to anyone even vaguely familiar with 20th-century history.
It's also horribly funny. I found myself sniggering at Feric's obsession with tight black leather and the grotesque idea that such a campy absurdity could gain near-instant power over a whole nation merely by staging huge torch-lit parades and delivering stagy speeches - and remembering in the next split-second that, of course, someone no less grotesque did in fact do so ... Like Jonathan Swift's legendary "Modest Proposal", it's a joke in very bad taste, written out of the most intense morality and blazing anger.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitler goes sci-fi 1 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This is a novel within a novel - the premise being that in an alternative timeline Hitler left Germany in the 1920s and became a science fiction writer in the USA rather than dictator of Germany. This is his sci-fi masterpiece -' The Lord of the Swastika'. In fact the fantasy story he tells mirrors the rise of the Nazi movement and WWII as it happened in actuality. This novel provides as good an insight into the psychological appeal of the paraphernalia of Nazism as any serious historical work. In addition it works as a acerbic and mordant satire on the power-fantasy (i.e. basically fascistic) driven nature of so much of 'heroic fiction' and 'sword and sorcery'. All this and it works as a novel it its own right. Cannot recommend too highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertainment and an education 22 July 2010
By Anthony
It's a shame on the publishing world that this superb book has been out of print for so long. It's not that Spinrad isn't still bankable, so it must be that the concept was too weird for most publishers.

Any fantasy fan will read it with alternate enjoyment and wincing embarassment as we see the dark side of our favourite tropes. If you're familiar with the history of the time, you'll also grin and wince at seeing those events from inside the head of a protagonist for whom the Nazis are shining heroes battling sub-human monsters. Spinrad has done for the Third Reich what "Animal Farm" did for the Bolsheviks: given us a way to see the story with fresh eyes, and understand better why the people involved did what they did.

That would be enough in itself, but it's also a wickedly accurate exposure of the subconscious of heroic fantasy. When I first read it as a Tolkien-mad student, it made me take a very hard look at "Lord of the Rings." You'll never read your favourite fantasy authors quite the same way again.
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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 Adolf Hitler and his genocidal Nazi political philosophy. That is the best means of viewing this fine work of fantasy, since much of it includes the text of the novel "Lord of the Swastika", a futuristic dystopian fantasy written by German-American science fiction artist and author Adolf Hitler, who had immigrated to the United States after World War I in 1919. (That Spinrad provides a fictitious biography listing Hitler's death in 1953 is something which most readers may ignore; I frankly don't think that's a coincidence since 1953 was also the same year in which another homicidal, megalomaniac dictator, Josef Stalin, died.) "Lord of the Swastika" concludes with a most intriguing afterword by New York University professor Homer Whipple which is a brilliant "deconstruction" of Hitler's mental state and of his Nazi philosophy, not of fantasy and science fiction, as some might contend. If nothing else, "The Iron Dream" reads like some hallucinatory version of H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine", but one in which Hitler's protagonist, Feric Jaggar, leads his stormtroopers against hordes of degenerate mutant humans; this is a most astute example of satire which has been an ever present theme in some of the great works of fantasy and science fiction published in the 20th Century. Although Spinrad's "The Iron Dream" may not be a literary classic directly comparable with George Orwell's "Animal Farm", nonetheless it deserves ample recognition as an important work of fantasy and a notable part of Spinrad's extensive oeuvre of fine novels and short stories.
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