Aryan Unity - The Iron Dream
Swords, Sorcery, & Swastikas

A Review of "The Iron Dream" by Norman Spinrad

Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream is the purported science fiction masterpiece of an "Adolph Hitler" who, after briefly dabbling in German radical politics, emigrated to the U.S. and became an author, a sort of bastard mix of Harlan Ellison and Philip K. Dick. Hitler's book is The Lord of the Swastika, a fever dream sword and sorcery epic, gripping in its action and social outlook.

Spinrad's over-the-top Nazi saga has a reasonably straightforward fantasy setting. A secret king returns from exile among the barbarians to discover his legacy and raise his nation to greatness and power. His nation is in the midst of a ruined post-nuclear war world, a genetically untrammeled island in a sea of mutants and abominations. A common enough idea in sci-fi and fantasy, which Spinrad makes interesting by using Nazi ideology as the vehicle of redemption. The tale is Mein Kampf made flesh, "Hitler's" fantasy of genetic purity realized. It is a thinly veiled invasion of the Soviet Union, and the destruction of the Zionist "puppet masters" who were thwarting German racial destiny. Biker storm troopers appear as knights, the racially impure as demons, and, if we didn't know what was really going on, The Iron Dream is a rollicking, action-packed adventure that pulls the reader in with its very excess and ends with the SS clones blasting off to colonize the universe.

The kicker is an essay tacked on to the end. A "Homer Whipple" of New York City, clearly a science fiction fan writer with pretensions of literary criticism, discusses the life and times of Hitler the author, and The Lord of the Swastika in particular. Noting the excessiveness  of the Nazis portrayed in the book, Whipple points out the impossibility that a racist view like Hitler's could be accepted by a modern nation, and actually become realized. This is Spinrad's overt thrust, being the insanity of the whole Nazi episode, and the lingering question of why the Germans let it happen. "Whipple" trots out the usual psychological views on Nazism and its doctrines, and the reader is left with a recognition that something so unusual as the Third Reich can be easily caricatured in its supposed grotesqueness and insanity, and still be little different than the historical record.

There is a more important, unstated idea. The Iron Dream presents a somewhat heavy-handed atmosphere of latent racism and "hate" discernable in some sci-fi and fantasy. Spinrad gives the reader a bridge between "cleaning out the bug planet" and the Holocaust. A close reading of many popular titles why so many Sci-Fi stories dwell om themes which are overtly Fascist.  It is possible that our being carried along by the intensity and vividness of the tale is the seamier side of heroic fantasy, delighting in the destruction of "bad" aliens and monsters. Literature is a perceptual exercise, and creating monsters is a small perceptual leap. The reader only uses what the writer presents.

Genocide against evil is an accepted archetype of sci-fi and fantasy. The fly in the ointment is that evil is not necessarily an objective condition, but a subjective condition defined at some level by one person or a group. Genocide against evil is, at its root, merely genocide. And literature is much like propaganda.

Of course Spinrad does not take into account the gross exaggerations that "The Iron Dream" or its other "Lords of the Swastika", about the National Socialism. We know that the Holocaust is over stated and the reality is that of course the Third Reich did not carry out a policy of genocide against any race, despite what the heavily doctored pro-Holocaust proponents put forward.

"The Iron Dream" if taken tongue in cheek and go along with fun, is a  good, fun Sci-Fi adventure story, full of fascist imagery and some pretty shrewd ideas about the "Dominators of Zind" who are infiltrating and taking over the noble Aryan World.

One wonders at Spinrad's motives in writing "The Iron Dream". Taken at face value and ignoring the silly excesses, it could past muster as a White Nationalist recruitment novelette!

Keep an open mind and you'll enjoy reading "The Iron Dream"

Brian Dearing

Book Reviewer, Aryan Unity