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Authors: Norman Spinrad

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The Iron Dream

BOOK: The Iron Dream
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Let Adolf Hitler transport you to a far-future Earth, where only FERIC JAGGAR and his

mighty weapon, the Steel Commander, stand between the remnants of true humanity and annihilation at the hands of the totally evil Dominators and the mindless mutant hordes they completely control.

Lord of the Swastika is recognized as the most vivid and popular of Hitler's science-fiction novels by fans the world over, who honored it with a Hugo as Best Science-Fiction Novel of 1954. Long out of print, it is now once more available in this new edition, with an Afterword by Homer Whip-pie of New York University. See for yourself why so many people have turned to this science-fantasy novel as a beacon of hope in these grim and terrifying times.

Other Science-Fiction Novels

by Adolf Hitler

EMPEROR OF THE ASTEROIDS

THE BUILDERS OF MARS

FIGHT FOR THE STARS

THE TWILIGHT OF TERRA

SAVIOR FROM SPACE

THE MASTER RACE

THE THOUSAND YEAR RULE

THE TRIUMPH OF THE WILL

TOMORROW THE WORLD

About the Author

Adolf Hitler was born in Austria on April 20, 1889.

As a young man he migrated to Germany and served in the German army during the Great War. After the war, he dabbled briefly in radical politics in Munich before finally emigrating to New York in 1919. While learning English, he eked out a precarious existence as a sidewalk artist and occasional translator in New York's bohemian haven, Greenwich Village. After several years of this freewheeling life, he began to pick up odd jobs as a magazine and comic illustrator. He did his first interior illustration for the science-fiction magazine Amazing in 1930. By 1932, he was a regular illustrator for the science-fiction magazines, and, by 1935, he had enough confidence in his English to make his debut as a science-fiction writer. He devoted the rest of his life to the science-fiction genre as a writer, illustrator, and fanzine editor. Although best known to present-day SF fans for his novels and stories. Hitler was a popular illustrator during the Golden Age of the thirties, edited several anthologies, wrote lively reviews, and published a popular fanzine. Storm, for nearly ten years.

He won a posthumous Hugo at the 1955 World Science-Fiction Convention for Lord of the Swastika, which was completed just before his death in 1953. For many years, he had been a popular figure at SF conventions, widely known in science-fiction fandom as a wit and nonstop raconteur. Ever since the book's publication, the colorful costumes he created in Lord of the Swastika have been favorite themes at convention masquerades.

Hitler died in 1953, but the stories and novels he left behind remain as a legacy to all science-fiction enthusiasts.

1

With a great groaning of tired metal and a hiss of escaping steam, the roadsteamer from Gormond came to a halt in the grimy yard of the Pormi depot, a mere three hours late; quite a respectable performance by Borgravian standards. Assorted, roughly humanoid, creatures shambled from the steamer displaying the usual Borgravian variety of skin hues, body parts, and gaits. Bits of food from the more or less continuous picnic that these mutants had held throughout the twelve-hour trip clung to their rude and, for the most part, threadbare clothing. A sour stale odor clung to this gaggle of motley specimens as they scuttled across the muddy courtyard toward the unadorned concrete shed that served as a terminal.

Finally, there emerged from the cabin of the steamer a figure of startling and unexpected nobility: a tall, powerfully built true human in the prime of manhood. His hair was yellow, his skin was fair, his eyes were blue and brilliant. His musculature, skeletal structure, and carriage were letter-perfect, and his trim blue tunic was clean and in good repair.

Feric Jaggar looked every inch the genotypically pure human that he in fact was. It was all that made such prolonged close confinement with the dregs of Borgravia bearable; the quasi-men could not help but recognize his genetic purity. The sight of Feric put mutants and mongrels in their place, and for the most part they kept to it.

Feric carried his worldly possessions in a leather bag which he hefted easily; this enabled him to avoid the grubby terminal entirely and embark directly upon Ulm Avenue which led through the foul little border town toward the bridge over the Ulm by the shortest route possible. Today he would at last put the Borgravian warrens behind him and claim his birthright as a genotypically pure human and a Helder, with a spotless pedigree that was traceable back for twelve generatians.

13

With his heart filled with thoughts of his goal in fact and in spirit, Peric was almost able to ignore the sordid spectacle that assailed his eyes, ears, and nostrils as he loped up the bare earth boulevard toward the river. Ulm Avenue was little more than a muddy ditch between two rows of rude shacks constructed for the most part of crudely dressed timber, wattle, and rusted sheet-steel.

Nevertheless, this singularly unimpressive track was apparently the pride and joy of the denizens of Pormi, for the fronts of these filthy buildings were festooned with all manner of garish lettering and rude illustrations advertising the goods to be had within, mostly local produce, or the castoff artifacts of the higher civilization across the Ulm.

Moreover, many of the shopkeepers had set up street stands purveying rotten-looking fruit, grimy vegetables, and fly-specked meat; these fetid goods they hawked at the top of their lungs to the creatures which thronged the street, who in turn added to the din with shrill and argumentative cajolery.

The rank odor, raucous jabbering, and generally unwholesome atmosphere reminded Feric of the great mar-ketplace area of Gonnond, the Borgravian capital, where fate had confined him for so many years. As a child, he had been shielded from close contact with the environs of the native quarter; as a young man he had taken great pains, and at no little expense, to avoid such places as much as was practicable.

Of course it had never been possible to avoid the sight of the sorts of mutants who crowded every nook and cranny of Gormond, and the gene pool here in Pormi appeared not one whit less debased than that which prevailed in the Borgravian capital. The skins of the street rabble here, as in Gormond, were a crazy quilt of mongrelized mutations. Blueskins, Lizardmen, Harlequins, and Bloodfaces were the least of it; at least it could be said that such creatures bred true to their own kind. But all sorts of mixtures prevailed—the scales of a Lizardman might be tinted blue or purple instead of green; a Blueskin might have the mottling of a Harlequin; the warted countenance of a Toadman might be an off-shade of red.

The grosser mutations for the most part bred truer, if only because two such genetic catastrophes in the same creature ended more often than not in an unviable fetus.

Many of the shopkeepers here in Pormi were dwarfs of one kind or another—hunchbacked, covered with wiry 14

black hair, slightly pmheaded, many with secondary skin mutations—incapable of more strenuous labor. In a small town such as this, the more arcane mutants were less in evidence than in what passed for a Borgravian metropolis.

Still, as Feric elbowed his way through the foul-smelling crowds, he spotted three Eggheads, their naked chitinous skulls gleaming redly in the warm sun, and brushed against a Parrotface. This creature whirled about at Feric's touch, clacking its great bony beak at him indignantly for a moment until it recognized him for what he was.

Then, of course, the Parrotface lowered its rheumy gaze, instantly gave off flapping its obscenely mutated teeth, and muttered a properly humble "Your pardon, Trueman."

For his part, Feric did not acknowledge the creature one way or the other, and quickly continued on up the street staring determinedly straight ahead.

However, a few dozen yards up the street, a familiar floating feeling wafted gently through Feric's mind; this indeed gave him pause, for long experience had taught him that this psychic aura was sure indication that a Dominator was in the area. Sure enough, when Feric studied the row of shacks to his right, his eyes confirmed the proximity of a Dom, and the dominance pattern was hardly the subtlest he had ever encountered either.

Five stalls sat on the street all in a line, presided over by three dwarfs, a Blueskin-Toadman mongrel with warty blue skin, and a Lizardman. All of these creatures displayed the slackness of expression and deadness of eye characteristic of mutants captured in a long-standing dominance pattern. The stalls themselves held meat, fruit, and vegetables in a loathsome state of advanced decay that should have rendered them totally unsalable, even by Borgravian standards. Nevertheless, hordes of mongrels and mutants flocked around these stands, snapping up the putrid goods at inflated prices without so much as a moment's haggling.

Only the presence of a Dominator in the vicinity could account for such behavior. Gormond was richly infested with the monstrosities, since they naturally preferred large cities where victims abounded; that such a minor town as this was infected was clear indication to Feric that Borgravia was even further under the spell of Zind than he had imagined.

His immediate impulse was to pause, seek out the Dom, 15

and wring the monster's neck, but upon a moment's reflection, he decided that freeing a few wretched and worthless mutants from a dominance pattern was not really worth delaying his long-awaited exit from the cesspit of Borgravia a moment longer. Therefore, he continued on his way.

At last, the street petered out and became a path through an unwholesome grove of stunted pine trees with purplish needles and twisted trunks covered with cankers.

Though this could hardly be described as a scene of beauty, it was certainly a welcome respite from the boisterous foulness of the town itself. Shortly, the path turned slightly to the north, and began to parallel the south bank of the Ulm.

Here Feric paused to stare northward across the wide calm waters of the river which demarked this section of the border between the fester of Borgravia and the High Republic of Heldon. Across the Ulm, the stately, genotypically pure oaks of the Emerald Wood marched in wooden ranks to the north bank of the river. To Feric, these genetically spotless trees growing out of the rich, uncontaminated black soil of Heldon epitomized what the High Republic stood for in an otherwise mongrelized and degenerate earth. As the Emerald Wood was a forest of genetically pure trees, so was Heldon itself a forest of genetically pure men, standing like a palisade against the mutated monstrosities of the genetic garbage heaps that surrounded the High Republic.

As he proceeded farther up the path, the Ulm bridge became visible, a graceful arch of hewn stone and oiled stainless steel, an obvious product of superior Helder craftsmanship. Feric hastened his stride, and was soon able to note with satisfaction that Heldon had forced the wretched Borgravians to accept the humiliation of a Helder customs fortress on the Borgravian end of the bridge. The black, red, and white building astride the entrance to the bridge was painted in the Helder colors in lieu of a proper flag, but to Feric it still proudly proclaimed that no near-man would be permitted to contaminate an inch of pure human soil. As long as Heldon kept itself genetically pure and rigorously enforced its racial purity laws, the hope still lived that the earth might once again be the sole property of the true human race.

Several paths from various directions converged on the customs fortress and, strangely enough, a sorry collection of mongrels and mutants were queued up outside the public 16

portal, which was guarded by two purely ceremonial customs troops, armed only with standard-issue steel truncheons. It was a peculiar business indeed, for most of these creatures had no hope of passing a cursory examination by a blind moron. An obvious Lizardman stood right behind a creature whose legs had an extra joint. There were Blueskins and humpback dwarfs, an Egghead, and mongrels of all kinds; in short, a typical cross section of Borgravian citizenry. What deluded these poor devils into supposing that their like would be permitted to cross the bridge into Heldon? Feric wondered as he took his place in line behind a plain-dressed Borgravian with no apparent genetic defect.

For his own part, Feric was more than prepared for the thorough genetic examination he would have to undergo before being certified a pure human and admitted to the High Republic; he welcomed the ordeal and heartily approved of its stringency. Although his spotless pedigree virtually assured certification, he had, at some pains and no little expense, verified his genetic purity beforehand—or at least done so to the extent possible in a country inhabitated chiefly by mutants and mutant-human mongrels, where, no doubt, the genetic analysts themselves were thoroughly contaminated. Had both his parents not held certificates, had his pedigree not been spotless for ten generations, had he not been conceived in Heldon itself, though forced by the banishing of his father for so-called war crimes to endure a birth in Borgravia, Feric would not have dared to presume to seek admittance to the spiritual and racial homeland he had never seen. Though instantly acknowledged as a true man on sight throughout Borgravia and verified as such by what passed for genetic science in that mongrelized state, he eagerly looked forward to the only confirmation of his genetic purity that really counted: acceptance as a citizen by the High Republic of Heldon, sole bastion of the true genotype of man.

BOOK: The Iron Dream
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