Monday, September 04, 2006

Hitler Plays Aragorn

I’m about half way through Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream. As previously discussed in this blog, it is a novel within a novel, imagining a sci-fi story (named ‘Lord of the Swastika’) written by Hitler (in an alternative timeline where he becomes a hack writer in the US).

The novel works brilliantly as an exercise in sending up Hitler’s obsessive, repetitive nature (the same histrionic phrases like ‘smashed it to flinders’ are repeated endlessly in the text), the allure and warped morality of fascism (the fictional hero Feric, with a fetish for black leather and phallic metal truncheons, rises to power like the real-world Hitler, but is a tall, strapping Aryan Übermensch) and the conventions of sci-fi and fantasy novels (lone hero, destined to become king, subhuman hordes of enemies).

However, as a novel it becomes increasingly hard to endure. The stylistic satire – repetition and ridiculously over the top prose – becomes unbearable. Perhaps this is a bit like spending an evening with Hitler, who was prone to rant on about the same things over and over as his cronies sucked up to him.

As I love bizarre things like this, so I probably will persist with it. However, I’m guessing it wasn’t end with a debilitated, deranged Feric trapped in a bunker as the ‘hordes of Zim’ advance through his ruined nation…

1 comment:

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