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The Iron Dream is a 1972 Heroic Fantasy / Science Fiction novel by Norman Spinrad... sort of. The majority of the book is the full text of the brilliantly popular fantasy novel Lord of the Swastika, written by famed SF author Adolf Hitler; the rest of the book is a framing device setting up the world in which this alternate Hitler lives, and a concluding essay hammering the point home for those who didn't get it the first time through.

This book contains examples of:

  • Adolf Hitler -- His alternate-history version illustrated for the pulps, then moved on to writing cheesy fiction.
  • After the End -- A nuclear apocalypse has tainted the human gene pool.
  • Alternate History -- A world in which Hitler moved to the US, got involved in Science Fiction Fandom, and died in 1954. Furthermore, Germany fell to a Communist revolution shortly after he left, and by the time of the book's "afterword" the Greater Soviet Union dominates Eurasia and Africa and is moving into South America, leaving only the United States and Japan as the bastions of freedom on the Pacific.
  • Always Chaotic Evil -- The Dominators.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack! -- The Dominators' Mooks are mind-controlled to keep on fighting even though the hero's forces are cutting them down by the score.
  • Author Avatar, Marty Stu -- Feric Jaggar is an obvious avatar of Hitler.
  • Awesome McCoolname -- Feric Jaggar! See also Meaningful Name, below.
  • Body Horror -- The descriptions of some of the mutated wildlife in the radiation jungles are just nauseating.
  • Contemptible Cover
    • Just try explaining to a horrified busgoer why the book you're reading features a blond Nazi triumphantly raising a truncheon above his head.
    • Later editions openly put Hitler on the cover (see here for examples)-- and then there's the edition that shies away from Nazi imagery (barring one swastika).
  • Contrived Coincidence: No sooner does Jagger decide that the Black Avengers have Outlived Their Usefulness when one of his men rushes in to breathlessly reveal that the leader of the group is conspiring with the Doms to launch a coup. Of course this mirrors the real-life Night of the Long Knives where the SA leadership was executed on trumped-up conspiracy charges.
  • Cosplay: It's mentioned that dressing up as the Sons of the Swastika is quite popular at sci-fi conventions.
  • Deconstruction -- Of the Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, intended to show the creepy fascist aspects at their core.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • Done both by Hitler and the actual writer.
    • Notable instances include a reference to a "holocaust of fire" and the protagonists warming themselves by a "heap of burning faggots."[1]
    • The Dominators' symbol, prominently featured on their flag, is a yellow star.
  • Don't Explain the Joke -- The Afterword outright explains every single subtlety and satirization in the book, which takes quite a bit of the fun out of writing entries for this page.
  • Drop the Hammer -- The Steel Commander, aka the Great Truncheon of Held, is as light as a feather (to its rightful bearer) but strikes with the mass of a mountain.
  • Elite Mooks -- As their last stand, the Dominators of Zind unleash special mutated warriors capable of fighting on independently.
  • Even Evil Has Standards
    • Feric Jaggar is horrified by the prospect of using nuclear weapons against Zind (because the fallout would taint the gene pool of the true humans).
    • Truth in Fiction in that Hitler was known to be very negative toward the idea of nuclear weapons. He was forced to conduct research into nuclear weaponry only because the Germans knew that the other Powers would do so. (Surprising? Likewise he was against police brutality and would not allow German police to carry guns or truncheons, which he considered demeaning to the public.).
    • It is surprisingly obscure knowledge, but Hitler was for a short time a member of a secret police and was tasked with infiltration of political movements. He quickly concluded, that brute force only causes the dissenters to hide and the covert intelligence operations are much more likely to yield good results. And his aversion to WMDs might have been caused by being wounded in a gas attack during Great War.
  • Fantastic Racism -- A bit of that, yes.
  • Framing Device -- The novel framed with "nonfiction" materials.
  • Gorn -- In spades. Battle scenes are written like orgies, with splashing fluids flying everywhere while Jaggar thrusts his truncheon every which way.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather -- The tight black leather uniforms of Jaggar and his army are repeatedly described in loving detail.
  • Invincible Hero -- Jaggar's one of these. Every decision he makes is right, his army wins against forces which vastly outnumber him, and even a little thing like a second nuclear holocaust can't stop him from creating his master race.
  • Keystone Army -- The Warriors of Zind are all brutish mutants, but lack the brains to coordinate their own activities and rely on Dominator direction. Once Feric's forces kill the mutant masterminds, the Warriors begin attacking each other (and lose control of their bladders and bowels in their frenzy, and yes, this is usually described each time they do it).
  • Meaningful Name
    • Feric (or "ferric," for iron) Jaggar (or "Jaeger," German for "hunter"). Other characters, usually ones loyal to Feric, have vaguely Germanic names.
    • The higher-ups in Jaggar's party also have names similar to those of their real-life Nazi counterparts: Joseph Goebbels becomes Seph Bogel, Rudolf Hess becomes Ludolf Best, and so on.
    • The name of the country that is clearly meant to be Germany, Heldon, comes from the German "Helden" for "heroes".
    • The Dominators' country is called Zind, which could be meant to recall "Zion".
  • Mind Control -- How the Dominators dominate. Jaggar is the only one able to resist them.
  • Mutants -- Quite a few distinct species exist (at least before The Purge), such as Parrotfaces, Pinheads, and Toadmen.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name -- Well, duh...
  • One-Gender Race -- Humanity, at the end. Since the Dominators' spiteful radiation bomb has ruined mankind's genome, cloning is used to create the next generation of Ubermensch, who are all tall, blue-eyed, blond males.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield -- Only Jaggar can wield the Truncheon of Held.
  • Putting on the Reich -- The alternate universe sci-fi fans do this with the uniforms described in the story.
  • Schizo-Tech -- The book starts in a post-apocalyptic world where steam-powered buses are common transportation, but swiftly moves through World War II-level weaponry before ending with cloning and interstellar spaceships.
  • The Smurfette Principle
    • There is not a single line of dialogue in Lord of the Swastika spoken by a woman. The words 'she' and 'her' simply do not appear at any point in the book.
    • There is in fact an appearance by the fairer sex in this book! Specifically:

  "a dozen or more naked females shrieking and moaning; these were not true humans but pleasure sluts of the sort the Dominators bred for themselves in Zind--mindless creatures with oversized hips and breasts motivated solely by a boundless need for copulation."

    • A while after the last example, it is reported to Jaggar that nearly forty thousand pure human females have been found suitable for breeding with the SS.
  • Space Jews -- The Dominators of Zind, intentionally.
  • Strawman Political
  • Stylistic Suck
  • Take That -- The book suggests that in the real world, the works of certain specific sf and fantasy writers, their Fandom, and the science fiction and fantasy genres as a whole at large have Unfortunate Implications - see the YMMV page.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses -- Spinrad expected his readership to, in effect, get the joke. Of course, not everyone did.
  • We Have Reserves -- Millions and millions of them, in the Dominators' case.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough...? -- The author analyzing Hitler's story notes that while some fans may yearn for such a decisive and iron-willed leader to save them from Soviet domination, he concludes that no rational person would ever stand such a clearly delusional, bloodthirsty tyrant, and that they certainly wouldn't be swayed by snappy uniforms, precision marching, and gigantic displays of stirring imagery.
  • Word of God -- The framing commentator/literary agent says that Hitler in the alternative timeline died of syphilis, which slowly ate away at his brain. This accounts for (some of) the wild excesses of the later part of the novel.
  • You Cloned Hitler -- Well, Feric Jaggar.
  • Zerg Rush -- Army of mind-controlled, disposable creatures, few of them...


  1. The original meaning of "faggot" was a bundle of sticks, usually used for fuel.
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