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2. Mind Game
3. Greenhouse Summer
4. The Last Hurrah of the Golden
5. Russian Spring
6. No Direction Home
7. He Walked Among Us
8. Journals of the Plague Years
9. Bug Jack Barron
10. The Void Captain's Tale
11. Science Fiction in the Real World
13. Little Heroes
14. The Iron Dream
15. The Druid King
17. Agent of Chaos
18. Deus X
20. Subjectivity

by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 300 Pages (2010-08-18)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1617200530
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
TROUBLE IN PARADISEPacifica was a monument to freedom and equality-until the off-worlders came. The Femocrats, a party of female separatists, and the Transcendental Scientists, an institute of technofascists dedicated to male supremacy. Carlotta Madigan, Pacifica's prime minister, and Royce Lindblad, her handsome young lover and media adviser, had to find a way to stop the Pink and Blue War-without becoming casualties themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A world we can create
My degrees are not in literature...so although it's tempting to analyze this title in the literary context of Spinrad's other outstanding works, I'll confine my comment to my own profesional field (social sicences):

Any other master of speculative fiction (Ellison springs to mind) could MAYBE have crafted this humorous yet at its core dead-serious examination of the balance of power between the two Human sexes. But leave it to Spinrad to set the stage so masterfully by first immersing us in the TOTALLY BELIEVABLE Earth-colonized world of Pacifica (you do the linguistics) where the "55%/45%" balance of power we currently enjoy between males and females in the professional and personal world is reversed: females are JUST THAT TAD BIT UP in both professional and personal power, yet males feel fully empowered in business and politics and proud in their personal lives to partner with powerful women.

Spinrad is very careful here. He doesn't skew the balance of power enough to really upset anybody here/now/today...but he does tip it JUST enough to make any careful reader of either gender THINK.

Into this ever-so-slightly-disrupted, just-enough-that-you're-already-THINKING-about-that-balance-of-power world Spinrad injects two groups of power-hungry outworlders: a militant female-dominant culture and a militant male-dominant culture, each bent on "intellectually colonizing" Pacifica.

No spoilers here, sorry. Suffice to say that a generous handful of UTTERLY BELIEVEABLE, three-dimensional characters who are in, of, against, for, not-of, not-for, and a-plague-on-both-their-houses are followed through all the thorny personal and relationship decisions that this political clash among otherwise peaceful Humans must always occur s when socio-sexual worlds collide.

Sounds like a lot to handle for one "science fiction book," neh?

Heh. Read it and see.

Spinrad will blow your mind every time. (Not quite a spoiler: If you like this title, try "The Void Captain's Tale." THAT title will blow your mind so bad/good/indescribable you just might oughtta put in for a week's vacation before you open its cover.)

The ending provides no easy answers...but when I first encountered it as a Young Human almost 30 years ago, this book gave me that "1/4 turn" on the usual viewpoints society and the media present to us that is SO essential to adult social/political/psychological thought.

It packs no less of a punch to me than it did when I first read it in high school than re-reading it now after several social science degrees and two decades of immersion-experience as a military wife as well as a social scientist of various very-strange-to-me societies around the world.

As Pope put it so quotably, "The proper study of Mankind is Man." There is no better place for young folks to start than Norman Spinrad's "A World Between."

5-0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner
A fun and gripping story about global politics and the "war between the sexes," 'A World Between' does an excellent job of showing how fanaticism can warp perception and thus alter reality. When the peaceful world of Pacifica is subjected to 'missions' from the rabid Femocrats ofEarth and the male-dominated Transcendental Scientists, both intent uponconverting Pacifica to their own viewpoints, it's a real challenge to thecitizens and the government. Public opinion is moulded through the media,and Pacifica prides itself on being the most media-savvy and sophisticatedworld in the human Galaxy. Only now the Pacificans' own 'First Amendment'type laws are being used against them..

Frequently graphic, occasionallydisturbing, and always enjoyable.

Warning: This book contains some explicit passages that aredefinitely adult in nature. Despite my immense liking for it, I have torate this title 'R' because of the language and sexual explicitness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent: great fun with some solid underlying ideas
The male/female war is fun, but the Technocrat/Femocrat war is even better.

The Technocrat/Femocrat war is the best SF description of the USA/USSR ideological cold war, as seen from the perspective of"neutral" Pacificans aka Europeans.

But I'm not sure thatSpinrad intended this comparison!

Anyway, the book's great fun!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Romp Through The Pink and Blue Wars
There are three main themes in this book: Tension between the sexes, Media Influence, and Politicking. These three are melded into a fun and readable novel that keeps you turning pages. While some the characters would be considered slightly stereotypical today if you read this book in the context of its copyright date 1979 I think it was doing all right. Some of the issues it brings up, pertaining to tension between the sexes, still remain. It is interesting to contrast the issues the book deals with to what we is happening, or not happening in this area today.The media twisting that goes on was fun and effective, I got the impression that a debate with Norman Spinrad would be fun to watch as well as hard on his opponent.The policing in the book is the weakest written of the three themes but still enjoyable to read and twisty enough to keep your attention. ... Read more

2. Mind Game
by Norman Spinrad
 Paperback: 352 Pages (1985-07)
list price: US$3.50
Isbn: 0553250612
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Down on his luck Hollywood director's down on her luck actress wife gets taken over by a mind game cult like Est or Scientology called Transformationalism.

She disappears into the bowels of Transformationalism, he's determined to "rescue" her to the point where pretends to be taken over too. Is he or isn't he?As he delves deeper and deeper (or higher and higher depending on what who believes), he's no longer sure either.

A novel about the power of cults, show biz and cults, and just maybe the nature of "reality" assuming there is one.

One of the real such cult took a certain offense with the author, there was a mysterious burglary with nothing of value taken, a few other such mind games.Long out of print in English though still around in a few other languages.

Que pasa?
Quien sabe?
Save to read about it in a novel than publish one.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent story, parallels Scientology
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, my girlfriend and I stopped by the Dianetics Testing Center on Hollywood Boulevard for a "free personality test" from the Church of Scientology. After spending about twenty minutes answering "yes," "no," and "don't know" to oddly worded questions about whether one enjoys inflicting pain on animals or frequently laughs at things no one else finds funny, we were both told that we had serious personality defects which Dianetics could correct. The brash, chain-smoking pregnant woman who did our post-test interviews was emphatic about that. We declined to spend any money, however, and left the Center to continue our walk down the star-studded sidewalks, where we observed a sign advertising the "L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition" on another Scientology building on the other side of the street. (Later on during our vacation, we noticed the Scientology Celebrity Center, which is presumably where such Church notables as John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Kirstie Alley get their auditing done.)

When I discussed our day's events with the friend I was visiting, he was reminded of a book he had recently read. He took it from his bookshelf for me, and I read it over the next couple of days.

The book was Norman Spinrad's The Mind Game. It is the story of Jack Weller, director of a grade-B Saturday morning television show called Monkey Business (starring a chimpanzee) and his wife Annie, an aspiring actress. At the invitation of a friend they attend a social gathering at the Celebrity Center of a movement called Transformationalism. Jack hopes to schmooze and meet people he can use as stepping stones to an improved career, but Annie becomes more interested in Transformationalism and its founder, former science fiction writer John B. Steinhardt. At first Jack tolerates his wife's interest in Transformationalism and pays for her courses. But as she begins devoting more and more of her time to it, he becomes annoyed and pressures her to end her involvement with the group. Instead, the group issues Annie a "life directive" to either leave the movement or her husband, and she chooses the latter.

Jack discovers that if he wants to see his wife again, he must successfully complete the Transformationalism education process and achieve "fully eptified consciousness." Or, from his perspective, he must convince the Transformationalists that he has been completely converted to their way of thinking without actually becoming brainwashed in the process. To this end, he enlists the aid of a deprogrammer (or is he a reprogrammer?) named Garry Bailor.

Jack undergoes "block auditing," a process of diagnosis which creates a "psychomap" of the psychological blocks which prevent him from being Transformed; "meditative deconditioning," a process which eliminates these blocks; and a "life analysis" by Gomez, a secretive and wily "Monitor," a member of an elite class of Transformationalist overseers. Gomez knows that Jack is trying to fake the impression of conversion, but engages in tactics designed to make sure that in the process, Jack is genuinely changed. (The twists and turns of the psychological drama are somewhat reminiscent of The Prisoner TV series--Jack learns to manipulate lower level Transformationalists, who fear that he is a Monitor.) In the end, Jack's character does seem to be transformed, but not exactly in the way that Transformationalism intended.

Spinrad's Transformationalism is clearly patterned after Scientology. Early in the book, Jack explicitly draws the comparison:

He had heard of Transformationalism, dimly. It was one of those consciousness-raising cults, like Arica, EST, or Scientology, of which he had a low and jaundiced opinion. (p. 5)

Even descriptions of Transformationalism buildings are similar to Scientology's Hollywood centers:

The Los Angeles Transformation Center was a small converted hotel in Hollywood, just south of Sunset Boulevard and just west of Cahuenga, not too far from several studios. A fading tan stucco building eight stories high with a dirty red-tiled roof; a brand of cheap hotel common to the area. (p. 38)

Spinrad's book offers a convincing description of social and psychological pressures that can lead people to conform to an unusual belief system. In the end, much is left unresolved, including whether there is anything really beneficial to Transformationalism or not. (For the most part, it seems clear that Spinrad's opinion of Scientology/Transformationalism is that expressed by Jack on p. 5. But there is also no question that Jack benefits from his exposure to the cult.) The book is an enjoyable and suspenseful journey into the world of Transformationalism, and could possibly also work as a vaccine against getting caught up in a group like Scientology.

4-0 out of 5 stars A believable science fiction novel about a cult
This is a novel by a writer usually tagged as a science fiction writer, but in Mind Game there is no technological wizardry or futuristic schlock.It's a believable book about a group that openly recruits Hollywood actorsand directors, and is led by a charismatic American with some strange ideasabout controlling people's minds, and who protects his interests by usingtactics of extortion and defaming his enemies.Sound familiar? ... Read more

3. Greenhouse Summer
by Norman Spinrad
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (2000-09-15)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812566564
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
About a hundred years from now, pollution, overpopulation, and ecological disasters have left the rich nations still rich, and the poor nations--the Lands of the Lost--slowly strangling in drought and pollution. New York City is below sea level, surrounded by a seawall. The climate in Paris is much like the twentieth-century climate of long-drowned New Orleans. And Siberia, Golden Siberia, is the crop-land of the world.

Still, for the international corporations and businesses who make a profit on technofixing the environment--the Big Blue Machine--it is business as usual: sell what you can where you can whenever you can. It is better to be rich. But it all may be coming to a terrible end: a scientist has predicted Condition Venus, the sudden greenhouse downfall of the entire planet--but she can't say when.

So now the attention of the world is focused for a week on a UN conference on the Environment in Paris, where all hell is about to break loose.
Amazon.com Review
In Greenhouse Summer, humanity's abuse of the environment has melted the polar ice caps, expanded deserts beyond all 20th-century conceptions, and transformed Siberia into a powerful and agriculturally fertile nation--and the changes aren't over, as Monique Calhoun learns when she is sent to Paris for the United Nations' conference on global warming. The scientists present terrifying evidence that Condition Venus may already have begun. Condition Venus is a climactic change that can quickly turn the Earth as hot and deadly as Venus. The end is truly near. And transnational factions working covertly for their own agendas may only hasten the end of the world and the death of every living creature.

Norman Spinrad is, with Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison, and Samuel R. Delany, one of the giants of new wave science fiction. He is the author of many novels, including the notorious Bug Jack Barron, The Iron Dream, The Void Captain's Tale, and Child of Fortune, as well as several fiction and nonfiction collections. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars dull dull dull dull dull
While I liked the climatech, and the relaxed attitude toward apparantly non-harmful designer drugs, everything thing else was a 'tad' boring. Its pretty bad when you don't care for any of the characters. And the fried-brain scientist- he had the *answers* from his 5 minute venture as the human computer, so *why* did he need to go back in...surely someone would have been able to examine/debrief him afterward. And then to let him walk around freely while barely functioning? Didn't make sense.

1-0 out of 5 stars Slow start, slow middle, bad science. Avoid.
Not quite a review, since I didn't finish it -- stalled at p.168 (of 317).
Prince Esterhazy hasn't gotten into Monique's pants yet [note 1]. Ivan
& Stella, the rich, boorish (but shrewd) Siberians, are, um, being
colorful. Oh, and the white tornado's a fake.

Gary Wolfe did say, in a generally favorable review (Locus 12-99),
that GS had a slow start, but here I am in the *middle*...

Spinrad's fictional hothouse is, well, *hot*, and 100% man-made. The
latter isn't likely in RL, but it's now well-known that Earth's climate
has changed drastically -- and quickly -- in the past, for no obvious
reasons. Anyway, it's *fiction*, and Spinrad points out the dismal
record of climate models. As always, his writing is impeccable, and he
has a gift for coining Neat Phrases, such as the 'Lands of the Lost', for the
climatic losers -- the poor, low, hot places.

The real problem comes with his McGuffin, 'Condition Venus' -- a

predicted runaway greenhouse, which would make the earth
uninhabitable. This simply isn't believable-- not even the wildest-eyed
eco-alarmists have proposed such a scenario. So the book clunks every
time Condition Venus is trotted out -- which seems like every other
page, around where I gave up.

Another problem is the economics, which is capitalism losing out to
anarcho-syndicalism -- like the Bad Boys syndicate, who are really
good at heart, barring the odd assassination. Anyway, I wouldn't know
an anarcho-syndicalist if one bit me on the ass, even after half a
book's-worth of 'em. The politics are kinda impenetrable too, Blues
and Greens and the Big Blue Machine -- the latter seems to be a trade-
association of climatic engineers and big construction outfits. Eh?

I love the Parisian setting, which is much (too much?) like that in
"La Vie Continue" (1988, in Other Americas) in which a fictional
Spinrad sells movie rights to his "Riding the Torch". Female lead is to
be the "Red Metal Rose" of Russian Spring fame. Very entertaining tale. Unlike Greenhouse Summer.

Anyway, I've mostly liked my previous Spinrad reads [note 2], even
the much-maligned fat-fan unsold-novel excerpt.... But I gave up on
this one. For 220 pages, nothing much *happened*. Life is short, and
the to-read pile is large....
Note 1)Well, I tried again, stalling this time at p. 220. Eric & Monique
finally got it on [yawn]. Not much else happened. Hell with it.

Note 2) -- which include most of his lifetime oeuvre. I suppose my
all-time Spinrad fave might be Child Of Fortune (1985). And I like his
book-review columns in Asimov's.

review copyright 2000 by Peter D. Tillman

4-0 out of 5 stars Clever vision of an all-too-possible future
I've been an SF fan for more than 40 years, but find it all too difficult to find stuff worth reading these days.Spinrad's novel wasn't the most literary I've ever read -- the characters were a bit two-dimensional -- but his construction of the post-global warming future was well rounded and convincing.(At least to me.I don't know enough about climatary physics to comment on how technically plausible it might be.)Details:alligators in the canals of Paris, dikes protecting New York City from the elevated sea water, the Sahara Desert so hot as to be (really) lifeless.And the non-climatary details, like making "disney" a non-proper noun representing any technologically produced fake.I also liked the denouement, and the way it revolved around "meatware" computers and the strangely psychotic scientist from California.The politics was interesting, too, although maybe, like the characters, a little overblown to be believable.In all, though, well worth reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don'tBother!
A previous review here warned that this book is poor, but heedlessly I read it anyway, to my chagrin. Character developement is fair, but plot and background science are just plain hideous. This novel is full of fancy French words, point is, who cares, and it is so excessive it detracts from the story line. The writing style makes reading a chore through much of the book, very vague at times and jumps back and forth a lot with the reader struggling to figure things out.

Explicit sex is graphically portrayed two or three times, and to no point whatsoever. Some writers, notably William Barton, use sex as an integral part of character developement and plot, but Spinrad seems to just stick it in (no pun intended) for just shock appeal, or whatever. No more Spinrad novels for me, for awhile.

2-0 out of 5 stars A sumptuously written book that just doesn't deliver
Spinrad is clearly a master wordsmith, but what bogged this book down for me was the long time it took to figure out what the novel was actually about. Basically, the book involves two people who are after a piece of information that may or may not be hardwired into a mysterious computer supposedly able to predict Condition Venus. The novel takes place entirely on a disney riverboat on the Seine with LOTS of descriptions of rooms, furniture, food, clothing, textures, flowers and plants, ENDLESS descriptions that merely show Spinrad's affection of all things French. Then there are the obligatory sex scenes, the kind that used to shock in the 1970s, Spinrad's heyday, but now only seem infantile. (Authors should know by now that sex is not the be-all and end-all of a person's life and that some readers prefer other aspects of characterization from their authors.) The one thing the sex scenes certainly do is take up space. There isn't much of a plot and not much of a conclusion. And while much of the writing is gorgeous, many aspects of the novel were just smug--as if the world within which the novel was taking place was, in the end, a joke and that the characters were fools. Spinrad (like Harlan Ellison) seems only interested in showing the reader how clever he is. I never understood the Big Blue Machine or the Bad Boys. I liked the disneys and the white tornados, real or imagined. But it just wasn't enough, in the end, to do much for me. It was like walking through a Louis XIV drawing room with lots of flowers and paintings and ornate furniture and not much else of interest. ... Read more

4. The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde
by Norman Spinrad
Hardcover: 215 Pages (1970-08-01)
-- used & new: US$28.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006C474C
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5. Russian Spring
by Norman Spinrad
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1992-09-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$72.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553298690
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Tired of his low-level job with the American space program, engineer Jerry Reed makes enemies of friends when he moves to Paris, where the EEC and the Soviet Union have joined to create a renaissance in space exploration. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars what a ride
i'm writing this a week after Obama's election. spinrad got so much right! from the moronic president engendering worldwide hatred to his enlightened successor turning world opinion around. nitpickers can tsk about what he missed, but for anyone who grew up with dreams of space this guy nails it! the political observations are acute, the characters are lively and frisky, and the world he creates feels every bit as real as our own. it's a big old honker of a novel, but compulsively readable.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Future Ain't What it Used to Be
Many of the predictions made by Spinrad in this book had already come to pass by the time of its publication.When Spinrad began work on this novel in the fall of 1988, he could only imagine the dissolution of the Soviet empire and the collapse of communism, the re-unifcation of Germany, the success of the Euopean common market, and America thrust into depression by decades of deficit spending and military buildup.

Spinrad is at his best in Russian Spring while detailing the inner conflicts in which his characters must choose between their compassion and their ideals.If the novel suffers is that it tries to encompas to much in its scope: a second sexual revolution in the wake of an AIDS vaccine; a character who runs for the Vice Presidency of the United States.But there are enough moments of brilliance to keep one turning the pages.And perhaps these events, in some form or another, will happen, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A child of perestroika
This book is the fruit of a great feeling of optimism for a more united and free Europe, launched by the reformist communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Never popular in his own country, he was and still is in Europeand when I was reading this book 92, it sounded like an interestingperspective of the European future, with an integrated Russia... Nothing todo with the Cold Peace we experienced since shortly after the dissolutionof the Soviet Union.

Interestingly, this is not the first science fictionbook treating the "immediate" future of our world, by showing usa very unpopular and isolationist United States, menace that everytimecomes alive when you listen to Republican politicians talking about therole of the USA in world politics.

For Europeans, this book caresses adream of a future "common house" (to cite Gorbachev) where war isdefinitely a bad memory. What a contrast to the reality with wars in theBalkans and the Caucasus.

Besides the social and political aspects ofthis book, this novel is also a wonderful story of a woman and a man fromtwo different worlds coming together... Read about their fascinating livesand that of their children... You wont regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't read this book unless you're a true literate.
Norman Spinrad did an extraordinary job in taking a snapshot of the world as it might (and should) have looked like these days, if things were a little different. Norman wrote this book in Paris, far from his native country, the United States, and I read it again and again in the UnitedStates, far from my home in Eastern Europe. So I can see there's sadnessin his writing and his characters, the wise sadness of a man with too manyshattered dreams, who can't feel comfortable anymore in this"brave(! ) new world".People focus excessively on the writer'sgift to be a prophet and often forget to worry about the literary value.Still, the "Russian Spring" has plenty of both. OK, Russia wentinto turmoil deeper and more desperately than in the book, and the EuropeanUnion is less effective than we hoped, but so what? Tragically, Spinrad isright about one thing: America is truly becoming provincial andnarrow-minded.

This is a book about people, their power to dream, andtheir dedication to bring the dreams to life, regardless of the sacrificesthey have to make. The setting is less important, regardless of the glamourof the fantasy. The people you meet as you turn the pages are real, theirqualities, defects, joys and sorrows are real, and the political gamesplayed on both sides of the Atlantic are just as disgusting as in reallife. Alas that we don't have the road to stars, yet.Like the film"Contact", this book is easy to be overlooked by snobbish andarrogant critics, who can only think in terms of "thumbs up anddown", easily digested by the masses. But there is a spark inSpinrad's book that I've rarely met in contemporary literature, and itscatharthic quality hits you like a brilliant flash. As long as there'll bewriters out there who do their job like Norman Spinrad, the human racestill has a chance to evolve from the seemingly endless gutter ofconsumerism and cheap thrills.

3-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at what might have been.
In light of the events of the last few years, this novel (published in 1991) seems pretty dated.Some of the characterization also seems sketchy, and suggests that this book was written with too much haste.Still, it'san enjoyable, well-crafted story, and a good reflection of the concerns of1991. ... Read more

6. No Direction Home
by Norman Spinrad
 Paperback: 192 Pages (1977-10-31)

Isbn: 0006148115
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7. He Walked Among Us
by Norman Spinrad
Hardcover: 544 Pages (2010-03-30)
list price: US$27.99 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765325845
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

   What, exactly, is He Walked Among Us? In a way it's science fiction. It's also an acidly satiric satire of show business. The novel is screamingly funny at times. There are New Age aspects to He Walked Among Us. It's philosophical. It might deal with Quantum Physicse. And it also has some hardcore scenes that might make Edward Lee wince.
   Jimmy Balaban is an aging, seedy, third rate show biz agent. He meets a dubious comedian named Ralf who claims to be from the future. He's here to save us from ourselves. It's an odd act, but Jimmy is a pro and the nose knows. Maybe there is a little bit of money to be made from this strange act. He takes Ralf on as a client and hires a male science fiction writer and a female New Age guru to turn Ralf into the cash cow that he always wanted. Astonishingly, it works. The question remains:        
   Who, or what, is Ralf?
    Spinrad has called He Walked Among Us his magnum opus and I definitely agree. I've been a fan of his work for a long time and I've been continually blown away by his writing. He Walked Among Us, however, is a revelation.
Naturally, a lot of people aren't going to get it. This isn't an easy, simple book. Oh, it's easy enough to read, but it's even easier to dismiss it as gimmicky fluff. Worse, readers could feel that Spinrad has a condescending attitude toward his audience. That he's laughing at them or feeling smugly superior. I don't feel that way, but a complex novel like He Walked Among Us can be interpreted in endless ways.     That's part of the beauty of it.
Spinrad has always had an amazing imagination, which is augmented by his own radical sensibilities.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine account of past/future connections
Norman Spinrad's HE WALKED AMONG US tells of a hack agent who discovers Ralf, who claims to be from the future with an important message. In his future, humanity is barely alive and the planet nearly dead. When a science fiction writer and a New Age guru become involve, Ralf's powerful warning begins to see light in this fine account of past/future connections.

3-0 out of 5 stars He Walked Among Us by Norman Spinrad
He Walked Among Us
Norman Spinrad
Tor Books
540 pages
ISBN: 0765325845

"The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in."
-Robert A. Heinlein

Imagine for a moment that the future existence of the planet balanced on your ability to travel back in time and explain the costs and concepts of the depletion of the ozone layer to a subsistence farmer in rural Mesopotamia. Could you do it? Enter Ralf, stand-up comic from about as far up the time-line as you can get. And he comes bearing terrifying news. The future planet is in disarray, biodiversity is as extinct as the carrier pigeon, the air is thick and un-breathable, almost unusable without heavy filtration scrubbers and to make matters worse, the last generations of humankind have taken refuge in pressurized shopping mall domes. Humanity clings to the last remnants of life on a scourged planet that could not be saved.

Now take an aging Science Fiction writer named Dexter D. Lampkins who is a flawed but intelligent individual (and Spinrad's pseudo- literary double) with designs of writing the next great social Science Fiction Transformation of mankind, mingle with Amanda Robins, a New Age Wunderkinds seeking total Zen spiritualism, and mix in a whole lot of Ralf "the comic from the future." Blend them all together on the same late-night television show and what do you get? Well, Monkey-Men, let's just say that you may want to read this one yourself to discover all the gory details.

Ralf's message is simple and crude.Start cleaning up the environment right now or the future world is going to suffer. Quit mucking up Mother Habitat so the deprived people of the future can take a break from living in constant fear of complete extinction.

Whether by accident or design Spinrad does reveal a plethora of Science Fiction Convention lore, anecdotes, behavior, and attitudes. And surprise, the Sci-Fi geeks are no less real than you or I. For some reason the Cons were the most enjoyable scenes in the book for me.Though Spinrad served up many unflattering and sometimes harsh depictions of Science Fiction conventioneers his descriptions lent realism to the story that may have otherwise been lost. Perhaps I felt so close to those scenes because, like Lampkin, I too identify with the weird and geeky, slightly askew, adoring, star-struck fans.I'm one of them!

Spinrad's prose and dialogue is superb, humorous, enticing, and real and scans with perfect pace. If there is any real flaw with the story it is with the character known as Loxy Foxy and her strange companion the "machine-rat- from-the-depths-of-the -subway. Not so much the content itself but how long and drawn out it became in the middle of the book. It seemed like we revisited the same scenes over and over again which cluttered up the story line and served no real purpose. I suspect the novel would have stood well on its own in the absence of those characters. [I'm still unsure of what the confrontation between Loxy, the rat, and Ralf meant! Perhaps someone would care to enlighten me?]

Much like James Cameron's "Avatar" Spinrad's "He Walked Among Us" is social commentary with a message concerning the current state of our eroding world and until we can, as Heinlein eschewed, figure out a way to distribute our eggs more evenly someone up the stream of time is going to suffer. We need to learn to sustain what we have and become more pro-environmental. Stories like "He Walked Among Us" and "Avatar" can only make us more socially aware of our actions and surroundings. If civilization collapses due to resource depletion we'll have only ourselves to blame for it and our children's children will be made to suffer. Can our collective conscience survive that burden?

3 ½ out of 5 Stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

1-0 out of 5 stars No Good...
$14.99 for the Kindle Edition of this book...and for what exactly?? Am I paying for the ink? Nope. The pages? Nope. The man hours of packaging and delivery? Again, no. WHAT?? WHAT am I paying for????? Greedy publishers...shameful.

4-0 out of 5 stars what is important in life
After watching stand-up comic Ralf perform, sleazy agent Jimmy "Texas" Balaban believes the man has the potential to be a messianic superstar in spite of Ralf insisting he is from the future in which the world is horrible grim place to live.Jimmy hires science fiction writer turning hack Dexter Lambkin and New Age wannabe guru Amanda Robin to make it happen.

Amanda buys into Ralf's spontaneous rap without challenging him; on the other hand cynical Dexter is shocked that he too is being mesmerized by Ralf.However, Ralf's message of a world dying unless we change today is overwhelming the comedian who wants to vanish like he did once before.

This is not an easy read, but those readers who enjoy something satirically different will appreciate He Walked Among Us; as Norman Spinrad lampoons capitalist preachers in mega-churches, media, DC and Wall Street, etc. while the world is in crisis.Character driven fans will be reminded of the movie Network as the author also ridicules his fan base for being overly zealous over the wrong segue.With a strong cast including Jimmy Durante's Schnozzola, this convoluted tale will have the audience ponder what is important in life.

Harriet Klausner

4-0 out of 5 stars Hot and not so hot
I've been a big fan of Norman's since I read the Void Captain's Tale many years ago. I'll read anything he writes; along with Gene Wolfe, Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, I find Spinrad's books richly rewarding journeys. "He Walked Among Us" is a paradox. Poking through a well-knit, moving and necessary tale are moments of self-pity, personal frustration and put-downs of the very audience which he writes to. Hopefully, he'll be able to more fully immerse himself into his next literary effort...Spinrad is truly one of the best writers (writers, not SciFi writers) out there. ... Read more

8. Journals of the Plague Years
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 164 Pages (1995-08-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553373994
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Sex means death when a virus, originating in Africa, is unleashed on the world for twenty terrible years, until a cure is finally found, in a new edition of this science fiction fable featuring commentary by the author. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Politically correct ...
Don't bother tracking this one down... it's a politically correct fantasy about the AIDS epidemic, complete with equal opportunity victims and a melodramatic happy ending.The cure is being hidden from the people, typical politically correct hollywood style ... cliches. Sure, this is a sensitive topic, so sensitive, few would dare do other than to pat Spinrad on the back. The book is intentionally an unrealistic depiction of the disease, a melodramatic fantasy.
The novella(?) is also pretty uneven, since it is basically a rough draft. Older Spinrad is better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Terrifying Science Fiction Thriller
The most basic (and best) science fiction stories are those that take a current condition and extrapolate to the future.Here Spinrad writes of a future threatened by a sexually transmitted disease that started in Africa worked its way through the gay and drug communities and now is at large in the general population.The term "AIDs" is not used at all in the story, only mentioned in the author's afterword.The disease is particularly deadly because as each successful vaccine is found, the virus mutates to a resistant strain almost immediately.Spinrad's story follows 4 characters: A soldier in a military division ofthe infected (nicknamed The Army of the Living Dead), a fundamentalist Christian politician who heads a new Quarantine Bureau of the government, an infected young girl who tries to bring sexual solace to as many of the infected as she can, and a research scientist looking for the ultimate vaccine.Because the disease requires repeated vaccines to counteract the many mutations, the drug companies don't want this "SuperVaccine" found. Starting with these vastly different characters, Spinrad spins a web of intrigue until the story culminates in the quarantined San Francisco.The story is tense and exciting.All the characters grow, for example, the girl becomes almost a religious icon to the infected. All of this is set in a world where sex is done through machines and various interfaces to protect the quickly diminishing ranks of the uninfected. This is an excellent SF talewith an adult theme and frightening settings. ... Read more

9. Bug Jack Barron
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 346 Pages (2005-01-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585675857
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Lover and hero, Jack Barron, the sold-out media god of the Bug Jack Barron Show, has one last chance to hit it big when he meets Benedict Howards, the power-mad man with the secret to immortality. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
A book written to impress adolescents of the 60s? I think not. This is one of the most prophetic novels I've read. Originally published New World's magazine, I've noticed a huge trend in the writers for that publication predicting Reagan's presidency. How did they know? One thing I've noticed about all futuristic novels, is they never factor in different storage media, be it tape or floppy. Now that cloning is a reality, the screenplay for this would have to be severely adapted to make the SF horror a reality. Mostly, I enjoyed the portrayal of the media, government, greed, bloodlust for immortality, image vs leadership, and the influence of money on each. Read this, and ask yourself if you would have done the same thing in Jack Barron's shoes.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not that impressed
This was probably a much better book back in its day.One of the problems with a lot of older stories is they're one-trick ponies.There's a single plot line and that's it.Over time readers have demanded more and more intricate and complex plots and subplots, and books that don't rise to that challenge seem dull in comparison.I think that's why it took so long for me to read Bug Jack Barron.You have Howards the rich evil guy trying to pull one over on America, and you have Barron the media celebrity with a direct line to the public standing in his way; and that's the whole of conflict in the entire story.

So while an interesting read as far as seeing the ideas Spinrad had and the world he's created, unless you're going to pick this up just to check another off your 'classics' list, go with something fresher.

5-0 out of 5 stars Paranoiasville
In the late 1960s, the "new wave" of science fiction writers unleashed a flood of mind-expanded and civil rights-obsessed product that probably seemed brilliant and insightful at the time, but most of which now seems laughably dated and self-indulgent. But just like any cultural craze, a few specimens have long-term staying power, as long as future readers can get past the crusty slang and political references. This 1969 offering from Norman Spinrad, his fourth novel and the one that really made his name, sometimes threatens to collapse under creaky hipster dialogue and the social paranoia of its times. But underneath is a brilliantly constructed political thriller in a (then-) near future.

The promise of immortality leads to a massive power struggle between a corrupt plutocrat and the title character, a self-righteous media manipulator whose attack-dog style is a downright eerie premonition of the O'Reillys that the real world has since delivered. (But at least Barron eventually develops a bit of a conscience.) Spinrad concocted an equally impressive exploration of the bleak future possibilities of around-the-clock media saturation and image-obsessed politics, and also delivered winning messages on the true natures of power and inequality. In 1969, such messages were in Spinrad's near future and are now in our near past. While some aspects of this book are definitely showing their age, the underlying messages of techno-political corruption and social paranoia are timeless, not to mention expertly constructed in this relentlessly brutal story. [~doomsdayer520~]

4-0 out of 5 stars Super Reader
In a near future setting, a controversial media commentator is our
protagonist. When he takes on a particular topic he gets in over his
head, as he starts playing with the billonaires.

A dirty conspiracy is going on, and they bring Jack in. He realises
that longevity treatments are possible, but only by illegal
organlegging of children.

Jack must make the difficult choice of whether to throw in with them, or expose them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but,...
Not what I consider science fiction. For me, classic sci fi is big space, etc. But Norman Spinrad is a great writer and the book was enjoyable. ... Read more

10. The Void Captain's Tale
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 224 Pages (2001-09-20)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$9.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312868251
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the Second Starfaring Age, humans travel the universe via a technology they barely understand, propelled by a space drive consisting of mysteriously complex mechanisms and, symbiotically linked to it, a living woman, the Void Pilot. Pilots are rare, and the ability to be a Pilot also entails physical wasting and a shortened life.

But Pilots live only for the timeless moments of Transition, when their ships cross the emptiness of space in an instant. Now Void Pilot Dominique Alia Wu has begun to catch a glimpse of something more, something transcendent in that eternal moment . . . and she needs the cooperation of her Captain to achieve it permanently. Even at risk to the survival of the Ship.

Norman Spinrad has been one of SF’s most adventurous writers since the 1960s, an internationally praised peer of such writers as Harlan Ellison, Michael Moorcock, and Samuel R. Delany. His stories of the Second Starfaring Age, The Void Captain’s Tale and the later novel Child of Fortune, form a single epic praised by the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as “an eroticized vision of the Galaxy . . . an elated Wanderjahr among the sparkling worlds.”
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly Good
Do not make the mistake of thinking The Void Captain's Tale is science fiction. It is not.

Yes, the entire novel takes place off the ground, in spacegoing vessels. But this novel is an exploration of the universe not in terms of its physicality but in terms of its ultimate essence, i.e. the great unknown. Why exactly have we never found other civilizations? What lies beyond the limits of knowability? What is the "Great and Only"?

It is also a disturbing story of a man's incomprehensible drive toward self-destruction, and a morality tale like I have never before encountered.

I'm not a writer (but Spinrad is, and he's amazing), so don't expect this mini-review to even begin to adequately describe how I feel about this book. It's not an easy read - it takes work to get through it, and understand it. But what rewarding work it is!

I have read (parts of) a couple other of Spinrad's works. They were OK. This one is different, way different and way better. I will go out on a limb and describe The Void Captain's Tale in a way I rarely describe anything. In my opinion, it is Great Literature. Don't miss it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A tragedy, told via the device of a captain's log.Interstellar travel is possible with the assistance of special women trained to provide the human element to make it possible.Any problems they are having can throw up with one these jumps of huge distance, getting people hopelessly lost.

When one such pilot meets our Void Captain, a relationship that is never supposed to happen for professional reasons has extreme consequences.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Spinrad's best, but still worth reading ...
"The Void Captain's Tale" is one of those alternately frustrating and rewarding books that leaves you intrigued by the imaginative ideas in the fiction but somewhat disappointed it did not amount to more.

Basically, this is an ingenious narrative with a simple plot twist about what happens when an individual's personal morality clashes with his professional duties and the ethics of society. As such, it works best when Spinrad stays focused on the internal conflict between (and within) Captain Genro Kane Gupta and Void Pilot Dominique Alia Wu, and the latter's attempt to seduce Gupta into betraying his own command for the sake of exploring what they both believe is the destiny of their souls.

The ultimate test comes when Gupta must decide whether to send the starship Dragon Zephyr on a Blind Jump through the universe to learn the secrets of what lies beyond the Great and Only Unknown (and thereby risk the lives of all on board), or to deny Wu and himself the fulfillment of their mutual heart's desire. Because Spinrad cleverly postulates the idea of a stardrive based on the power of female orgasm to complete a Jump Circuit, sex is necessarily an important factor in moving the ship (and the story) forward.

However, this is much more of an intellectual journey than an erotic passage, and the author tends to emphasize the philosophical quest of Gupta and Wu at the expense of examining their emotions or physical chemistry together. A hot and sweaty description of intimate encounters it is not.

Instead, on the one hand, Gupta is confronted with the chance to unravel the mystery of our species' existence in time and space. On the other, he faces the potentially terrifying consequences of placing his ego above his conscience. The conclusion he reaches, and the choice he makes, is the engine that advances the plot. And although Spinrad introduces some interesting secondary characters along the way (most notably Lorenza Kareen Patali, the ship's cultural hostess, and Maddhi Boddhi Clear, a dissolute seeker of truth), "The Void Captain's Tale" is essentially about the dramatic tension between following one's dreams versus mastering one's fate.

This is the sixth Norman Spinrad novel I've read, and if it isn't as creative and finely nuanced as "Little Heroes" or "Pictures At 11," it isn't as dense and dull as "Child of Fortune" or "The Mind Game" either. Spinrad's fondness for metaphysical transcendentalism and polyglot psychobabble is still here, but it isn't as annoying or pretentious, and his storytelling style is far more disciplined. Furthermore, in spite of his occasionally awkward dialogue and tedious exposition, he often manages to produce prose that borders on pure poetry. Take this line, for instance:

"... And so our spirits touch in exile in this shadow realm ... and comfort each other as best they can."

Or this:

"From nothing are we born, to nothing do we go; the universe we know is but the void looped back upon itself, and form is but illusion's final veil."

No, it isn't brilliant, inspired writing, but it does work well enough most of the time to get its point across. Throughout the more prosaic parts of the book, Spinrad drops lots of such tiny literary gems and nuggets that will leave you re-reading them with a serendipitous sense of appreciation for his lovely, lyrical turns of phrase or sudden glimpses of insight. In other words, if you're looking for a suspenseful potboiler or page-turner, "The Void Captain's Tale" is probably not what you want. But if you are in the mood to stretch your concept of science fiction past the genre's typical fascination with technology over humanity, this is a novel that will offer you something different, unexpected, and worthwhile.

5-0 out of 5 stars A bold, deeply human, masterpiece
Transcendence is no simple affair. It's certainly no literal matter. Religions try to manipulate our impulses to transcendence but religions are easy to refute because they reek of human inventiveness but try so hard to hide that. And religious tales of transcendence are full of holes, so instead belief is demanded and submission to the authority of a few is encouraged.

To the contrary, Spinrad's tale of transcendence, however fantastic, is not readily dismissed. It lingers, having pointed directly at the human dilemma, being torn between what's practical and what our hearts really long for. But Sprinrad is no scripture writer, no temple is erected, and yet every reader can be enpowered. Who needs a contrived God when anyone can look out at the stars and feel overwhelmed by the Void, when everyone's heart feels ready to make the Blind Jump? ... Did you jump? The others seem to have forgotten. But Void Pilot Dominique Alia Wu is not to be forgotten. Can you captain the Void? This remarkable book with intoxicating language may help you answer that.

4-0 out of 5 stars Different, But Interesting Nevertheless...
In this novel of the "Second Starfaring Age", Norman Spinrad has us on the starship Dragon Zephyr, a ship that instantaneously jumps from point to point in it's travels between star systems, covering several light years with each jump. The pilot of the ship (always a female) is an integral part of the jump circuit, and she enters a seemingly subjective state of ecstasy during these jumps. Captain Genro Kane Gupta becomes infatuated with the pilot and this leads to a terrible conundrum. In addition, there are also many passengers on this starship, and they lead a life of luxury in a complicated cultural and erotic lifestyle. The emotional lives of the crewmen and passengers are meticulously detailed by Spinrad, this being a well done and positive aspect of the novel, lending support to a superbly structured plot.

My only criticism is that I felt that Spinrad used a convoluted sentence structure much of the time, that coupled with frequent use of arcane words really did make this novel a chore to read, at least for me. Overall though, well worth reading. ... Read more

11. Science Fiction in the Real World (Alternatives)
by Norman Spinrad B.S>
Paperback: 256 Pages (1990-07-09)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$17.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809316714
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No ordinary critic, Norman Spinrad explicates, celebrates, and sometimes excoriates science fiction from the privileged perspective of an artist armed with intimate knowledge of the craft of fiction and even of the writers themselves.

In these 13 essays, Spinrad urges science fiction as a genre to reach its potential. He divides the essays—new works written specifically for this book combined with those that appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine—into five sections: "Literature and Genre: A Critical Overview," in which Spinrad establishes his critical standards; "Alternate Media: Visual Translations," a discussion of comic books and books made into movies; "Modes of Content: Hard SF, Cyberpunk, and the Space Visionaries"; "Psychopolitics and Science Fiction: Heroes—True and Otherwise"; and "Masters of the Form: Careers in Profile," discussions of Sturgeon, Vonnegut, Ballard, and Dick.

... Read more

by Norman Spinrad
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$8.00
Asin: B00428LAXM
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a fairly famous and notorious novel, never before in ebook version, published in many languages.

Cynical ousted dictator Bart Fraden and his military chieftan Willem Vanderling select a new planet to conquer by computer search and come up with Sangre, ruled by devotees of the Marquis De Sade calling themselves the Brotherhood of Pain, figuring it would be the ripest for revolution.

It is all right, but when they deliberately make things even worse to foment their rebellion, what begins is much more than they bargained for.

Inspired by the Viet Nam War and Che Guevara's cynical attempt to replicate the Cuban Revolution in Bolivia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for those with light stomachs
The story begins centuries in the future where humankind is dispersed throughout the galaxy and war is common.Our protagonist narrowly escapes earth's clutches, carrying nothing but the clothes on his back, his very expensive ship, and a vast fortune in the only currency to have universal utility, drugs.

He ends up on a backward world, where one class of people has enslaved the others, and torture and prostitution is rife.He proceeds to start a civil war, and that's when the book really starts to get interesting.As dark as he is sick and disgusting, Spinrad also manages to do something few writers can, weave together a great story with incredibly realistic characters in an interesting narrative.

Buyers beware, however!This book is incredibly dark.Cannibalism, slavery, prostitution, and murder on a massive and bloody scale are just the beginning.If you enjoy well written sci-fi, then this is your book.Just also know that it is easily the darkest book in the sci-fi, and perhaps any genre, that I have ever come across.

4-0 out of 5 stars Religion and Sadism meet on a far away planet.
Protaganist travels to a back water planet and finds a world of misery run by an overlord of pain. Really a tale of mans acceptance of degredation as long as the gun isn't pointed his way. That being said the book is fun in a space opera way with the hero trying his best to save the populace from themselves. Good stuff ... Read more

13. Little Heroes
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 736 Pages (1989-08-10)

Isbn: 0586203621
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Pretty disappointing
This book was overall disappointing. Some really interesting story ideas and plots were rendered almost unreadable by a wordy telling that came off as immature. The overuse of foul language and sex didn't fit the storyline and seemed to have been written by a fifteen-year-old. Descriptive sections were far overdone in a way that almost made this a skim read for me. My overall rating is 'disappointing' as I would have liked a more concise, mature treatment of the storylines of the virtual rock stars and the underground conspiracy. It even could have included a bit more exposition as to how the national situation occurred. Bottom line, not recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Paging Glorianna O'Toole...
An enjoyable read, a bit reminiscent of Lloyd Biggle Jr.'s "The Tunesmith," but with a more ambiguous and perhaps realistic ending, and with the added characterization and details possible with a novel. The scary part for me, as an out of work programmer, is Spinrad's prescience from the mid-1980s--2002 is looking a lot like the world of _Little Heroes_. Pass the kibble, will ya?

4-0 out of 5 stars Now that's Rock 'n Roll
A new kind of rock star and the electronic revolution, brings the powers that be to their knees, defenetly a book to read. ... Read more

14. The Iron Dream
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 256 Pages (2000-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$125.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1902002164
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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An alternate world novel in which Hitler leaves Germany after World War I, the Nazis never take power, Hitler emigrates to the United States, where he becomes an SF writer and writes LORD OF THE SWASTIKA, the novel within the novel, his fantasy of Nazi Germany in a world where the real thing never was.With an academic afterward explainingv why such a thing as Nazi Germany could never have happen except in an heroic fantasy novel.

Published in a dozen languages, winner of the Prix Apollo, short listed for the Nationa Book Award, banned in Germany, then exonerated after 8 years of court action.

A well-known classic that went through about half a dozen printings in English editions, out of print for several years. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Hail Heinlein
Somewhat in the spirit of Bill the Galactic Hero, Mars Attacks, and Top Secret! This novel, while somewhat revolting, exposes popular science fiction as poorly written, fascist literature as an alternate history version of a award-winning SF novel by Adolph Hitler. There were violent parts that I thought might've been extreme, but the comedy part of the book is in the ultra cheesy dialog, the sheer invincibility of a hero who conquers all his enemies using a phallic object without much of a challenge. Read this book, and your experience reading books by Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, and the unbelievably well-received Patrick Rothfuss will never be the same. Gives you a different perspective on many main characters, dialogue, and points in popular sci fi. As a sidenote, anyone selling copies of this book for over $[...] is a devoted follower of Feric Jaggar. I lucked out and found a copy for [...] cents at a local used bookstore, hope you have the same luck.

5-0 out of 5 stars Banned in Germany !?
This book though written by a Jewish writer
was/is ? banned in Germany. That is quite unusual to say the least. Perhaps Mr Spinrad nailed the Nazi ethos a little too well. Had a great time reading it so I imagine it will not be reprinted. Ever !

5-0 out of 5 stars Kick in the pants
This book should remain in print and it's sad it hasn't. Simply, it helps point out how so much of our culture--like the whole Lord of the Rings schtick--is easily transmuted into Nazi ideology. This was a brave and brilliant book.

I'm sorry one reviewer was annoyed by the wooden writing. It is meant to be a parody of that kind of stuff, and the kind of mentality that goes behind it. Far too much older science fiction reads like this.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read
Holding a spot in science fiction/fantasy legend as 'the book that was meant to be bad', Norman Spinrad's "The Iron Dream" is a thought provoking look humanity's violent impulses and the dark side of bad pulp writing.The concept is simple enough: Adolf Hitler, dismissing the nascent Nazi Party as a bunch of beer hall debaters, leaves Munich for The United States in 1919.He scrapes by as an illustrator and fanzine editor for several years before switching to science fiction novels."The Iron Dream" purports to be his last work, dashed off in a mere six weeks before he died in 1953.

As an exercise in tedious, repetitive action and sledgehammer philosophy, "The Iron Dream" makes its point in bold strokes.We follow protagonist Feric Jagger as he travels to his homeland of Heldon, the only genetically untainted homeland in a world otherwise overrun with foul mutants.Musing on the importance of genetic purity in almost every paragraph, Feric forms a motorcycle gang into 'the Knights of the Swastika' and marches off to dominate first Heldon, then the world.The second half of the book unfolds as an orgy of violence, as Feric's forces slash, smash, and blast their way through massive armies of mutants under the sway of the mind-controlling Dominators of Zind.

Through this exaggerated take on pulp SF, Spinrad makes us look the aspects of our genre that many may wish to deny.For sure, a lot of crap science fiction and fantasy has featured unbridled bloodlust and unsublte promotion of a philosophy not far from fascism.For all that, though, one might be tempted to say that Spinrad went too far, and that surely not even the dumbest fan would be tricked by something so absurd.This would be wrong.Not only did much pulp nonsense from the 50's and 60's actually reflect such idealogy, but so does some stuff getting published today.Anyone who's had the misfortune to come across books by Terry Goodkind or Robert Newcomb, for instance, knows how those authors hew uncomfortably close to the faux Hitler's celebration of fascism, genocide, and ultraviolent misogyny.(Interestingly Goodkind and Newcomb also duplicate the lesser details of "The Iron Dream", such as the hilarious abuse of phallic symbols and the creepy obsession with boots and skin-tight black leather for both genders.Perhaps Spinrad should consider a plagarism lawsuit.)

The book's crown jewel is an afterword by a stuffy academic.Homer Whipple of New York University offers biographical details (Hitler suffered from syhpilis late in life), saucy gossip (he was known as something of a Don Juan at science fiction conventions), fan reactions (the fanciful costumes he described in the book are now favorites at costume parties), historical background (the fall of Germany to the communists in 1939 remained a sore point throughout Hitler's life), and much more.Having decided to write the book, Spinrad milked the concept for everything it was worth.For instance, the inside cover urges us to enjoy another list of fine SF classics by Adolf Hitler.It starts with inoccuous titles like "Emperor of the Asteroids", but then moves to more sinister titles such as "The Master Race" and "The Thousand Year Rule".How many SF authors have begun their careers with harmless pulp adventure, but swamped their later works with barrels of dsitrubing personal philosophy?

"The Iron Dream" is not perfect.As Ursula K. Leguin remarked in a review, it could have been quite a bit shorter.But though not a great novel, it is an important novel.Regrettably it is out of print now, but if you spot a copy floaitng around in your local used book store or at a garage sale, snap it up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Springtime For Jagger!
Fascinating and hilarious alternative-universe what-if about Hitler. Spinrad takes Hitler's way of writing and turns it into a wild and blood-soaked tale that is just a notch more sadistic and weirdly romantic than most such post-apocalyptic SF tales.
The battle scenes are expressive of an artistic imagination that can't imagine anything more noble than the utter annihilation of one's racial enemies. Some reviewers find that to be boring--I don't! It's intriguing in a sociopathic way, extremely vivid, and just what Hitler might have written. Nice to see that Spinrad has really been studying Mein Kampf!
My only criticism is the homoerotic flavor that pervades the story. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that Hitler was gay, and I think it is simply unnecessary to add it here.
The best part was the Afterword by "Homer Whipple," who points out that the Soviet Union murdered millions of Jews, and now the Unites States and the Empire of Japan is surrounded by the Soviets, leading one to wonder if that alternative universe is any better off than ours. Is this a certain Nazi sympathy on Spinrad's part? Read his intro to "Hitler Victorious" and decide for yourself. ... Read more

15. The Druid King
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 432 Pages (2004-08-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375724966
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A major triumph of historical fiction, The Druid King, is a masterly retelling of the life of the legendary general Vercingetorix and his brilliant crusade against the Roman invasion of Gaul.Vercingetorix was both a man of myth and a real historical figure—he managed, where others had failed, to unite the tribes of Gaul and lead them against the might of the entire Roman empire.

After watching his father’s harrowing death, young Vercingetorix retreats to the forest where he learns the ways of the druids. Soon he must return to civilization to reclaim his birthright and his father’s honor, but the city of his birth has changed. Now, he must confront the greatest military power the world has even known--the Roman legions of Julius Ceasar. This is the story of Vercingetorix, Druid King of Gaul. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not A Good Match of Author and Subject
The problem is that Norman Spinrad doesn't really believe in magic, and he's writing about characters who did.So he can't enter fully into the world of Vercingetorix.He deals well with the military aspect.I appreciated the clever generalship of both Vercingetorix and Caesar.But Spinrad sees Druid magic as symbolic, not real.This perspective would have been alien to Vercingetorix and the other Gallic Druids that he attempts to portray.

4-0 out of 5 stars Spinrad tries historical fiction
While not exactly famous, Norman Spinrad is well-known in the world of science fiction as a reliable veteran who has been producing stories for several decades.With The Druid King, he departs from that genre to tell a historical tale of Gaul during the last days of the Roman Republic.

The protagonist in The Druid King is Vercingetorix, a young man who is destined to become the King of Gaul.At the beginning of the story, however, he is merely the teenaged son of a Gallic chieftain.His father has visions of uniting the tribes to oppose Rome, but Vercingetorix's uncle ends that with murder.Vercingetorix is forced to flee and takes refuge with the Druids.

Meanwhile, Julius Caesar has his own ambitions, and the conquest of Gaul is a mere stepping stone for him.A master manipulator, he is able to defeat his foes as much with wiles as with force.Briefly, he makes Vercingetorix his protégé, but soon enough they are foes, leading opposing sides.Unfortunately for Caesar, Vercingetorix has picked up enough from his former mentor to become a difficult adversary.

This is a story of Rome vs. Gaul, but not just in terms of peoples but also ways of life.Much is made of the different approaches to battle:the Gauls believe in honor in battle, the Romans are merely concerned with victory.This difference in philosophy will prove to be a major problem for Vercingetorix as he realizes the Roman approach is necessary to overcome his foes, but his followers are less willing to break with tradition.

Spinrad is a good writer, but the edginess that makes him excellent in his science fiction is missing here.As a result, this is merely another good historical novel.Also, Spinrad's story suffers in comparison to Colleen McCullough's outstanding Roman history series (which also describes the Caesar vs. Vercingetorix battles).I can only give this book four stars as a result:this is not Spinrad's best work (he should probably stick with science fiction), but it is a good, entertaining read.

3-0 out of 5 stars the DRUID King
The story was good.The only way that I can read history.
Unfortunately, my wish for more druidism was not fulfilled.And what the heck is a leggionare??

3-0 out of 5 stars Ainteresting read, a bit korney
It is good to see the story of Caesar's wars with the continental celts with some attention payed to the celtic side of the story. Did find it at times somewhat juvenile. For example; when a character rides a horse in this story theyconstanlty make it rear up. This annoys any real horseman or student of iron age cavalry. This story is supposed to be about iron age celtic warriors on sturdy gaulish ponies, not a girl's fairy tale of knights on white stallions. And Vercingetorix is given as a name recieved from birth rather than a title he had been bestowed with(Ver means high,Cinget means warrior, Rix means king.Ver-cinget-rix high warrior king) he would have been given a simple name as a child and called Vercingetorix only after he took command of the Gaulish army. And Vercingetorix is portrayed very young even at the climax. I find the notion of a boyish Vercingetorix unable to grow a respectable celtic mustache leading an army implausible. I would recommend it to young readers interested in the story of gaul, but not to the more sophisticated enthusiast.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sweeping Historical Novel
By 60 BC the might of the Roman legions had conquered most of the known world and to be fair had improved the lot of most of the defeated nations. Those who continued to oppose Rome were ruthlessly crushed.
Now Julius Caesar has turned his attention to the invasion of Gaul. He is seeking a victory that will give him the power to cast out the old guard and become Emperor of Rome the greatest city in the world. But a formidable foes stands against him, the Druid King, Vercingetorix.

The conflict that is about to happen will start to shape the future history of Northern Europe. The Gauls know that they must fight to the bitter end or face the destruction of everything they believe in. But can the tribes be brought together as one unit to fight this relentless enemy. More importantly can they gain a victory and save themselves from oblivion.

This books relates one of the most brutal military campaigns of all time.
... Read more

by Norman Spinrad
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$8.00
Asin: B0041N3RBG
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A tale of The Second Starfaring Age.A great writer of the era tells the "name tale" of herWanderjahr as a young adolescent, which made her the person that she now is.A picareque novel of the far future in luxurious starships, luxurious planets, a forest of giant flowers, much, much more.Published in several languages, out of paper print.

Not a Young Adult novel, but given by many enlightened parents to their adolescent sons and particularly daughters. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars You are the leader of your life adventure!
Written in a style which becomes naturally beautiful and expressive as your mind expands to comprehend it, experiencing this book is very much like travelling through the culture shock of another country.
Perhaps the depiction of the space-faring civilization in which it is set (along with its (oh! so!) dark companion novel "The Void Captain's Tale") leaves certain quotidian features unmentioned (I always wonder who services the wonders of sci-fi novels; rare is the hero/ine who cleans the toilets, maintains the subways, is the bank teller, works in a restaurant)... well, after all, the story of one's life is a self-created spiel, and adventures are found where you choose to have them at least as much as where they may find you.
I grew up in Berkeley in the 60's, and this tale honors and burns bright with the true spirit of those days (and the many days since, even up til this very moment). Who will interpret this book into the film it deserves to be?

5-0 out of 5 stars Spinrad's Best Space Opera
It's hard to decide which of Norman Spinrad's novels should be regarded as his best, since he has written exceptional novels in the science fiction subgenres of Alternate History, Space Opera and Cyberpunk, as well as in Historical Fantasy. Still, "Child of Fortune" has to be regarded as one of his literary triumphs; it is not only a great science fiction novel, but more importantly, a splendid piece of literature. "Child of Fortune" is comparable in scope to what Anthony Burgess created in his "A Clockwork Orange", replete with vivid literary prose and a future English stirred vigorously with liberal doses of French and German too. This is an amazing, over-the-top coming of age saga about a young woman who seeks her destiny amongst the far flung worlds of Humanity's Second Spacfaring Age. Ultimately she finds herself while journeying across the galaxy as an itinerant storyteller, finding a psychological Hell within the exotically verdant Bloomenveldt where a unique symbiosis between humanity and alien plant life is evolving on the planet Belshazaar. I found this book impossible to put down, having been intoxicated by Spinrad's poetically rich, dense prose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spinrad's Space Stairs to Paradise!
Child of Fortune was one of my few satisfying excursions into Sci-Fi.Though the story; a hefty space opera, is set in the far future it is very accessible.

Reading the book was like being in the best "dark ride" in the best theme park ever built.Spinrad takes the reader into incredible worlds and civilizations; most are wonderful utopias.The charactors are developed and believable.This book will appeal to old hippies and the new Bohemians.

For those who loved Brave New World, the explorations of the McKenna Brothers, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test -- u ain't read nothin YET!So, my advice -- "take a walk on the wild side" and read this book before it gets burned!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most meaningful books I've read.
"Alice in wonderland meets Timothy Leary as they explore the Kama Sutra at Finnegan's wake." -Associated Press. This is the blerb from the front page of the paperback edition I own. This understates the human element of this coming of age book. The ideas developed should be a lesson in what kind of society we want to be. From the planet of Edoku where 'reality itself is no more than a local style', with it's gray Public Service Stations offering gray showers, gray clothing, and gray complete-nutrition fressen bars that taste like wet paper, washed down with bland distilled water.(ALL YOU WANT! ALL FREE!)Complete with it's own counter-culture, the Gypsy Jokers, led by the colorful character Pater Pan. Through the psychedelic jungle Bloomenveld, this book delivers. I've read this book twice 15 years apart. The first time I saw myself, the second I remembered friends that got 'lost along the way'.

5-0 out of 5 stars brilliantly written and thought-provoking
This has long been one of my favorite books.It is a serious, no-simple-answers coming-of-age tale, yet at the same time it manages to imaginative and entertaining, with plenty of laughs and vivid imagery.Thus the story is enjoyable whether the reader is in a contemplative mood or simply craving a good science fiction yarn.

Most of all, I admire the author's use of language and dialect.He creates a form of modified English by incorporating words from several different languages throughout the text, as well as some made-up slang and terminology.(The novel is written in first-person, thus the use of dialect is constant through the text.)This can be daunting at first, but by the time you're a few chapters in you'll have 'picked up' the language to a remarkable degree.Years after my last reading, I still remember it.

Again, one of my favorites.I'm going to buy another copy soon, before my old, often-reviewed copy falls apart completely. ... Read more

17. Agent of Chaos
by Norman Spinrad
 Paperback: 200 Pages (1999-02-28)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584450428
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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First published in the 1960s, Spinrad was one of the first writers to perceive the totalitarian implications of the cradle-to-grave welfare state. But at the same time he was too organically a radical ever to be confused with a conservative. Result: "Agent of Chaos!"

Boris Johnson thinks he wants democracy. But in the course of his adventures he discovers that democracy to him means freedom. It's a banned concept from the Millennium of Religion. Like God.

He finds himself dealing with a byzantine political situation worthy of anything from the banned past. The dictatorship is the Hegemony. Opposition is provided by the aptly named agents of C.H.A.O.S. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood of Assassins plays a game that no one can fathom. Whose side are they on? Whose fool are you?

Spinrad explores his philosophical theme in a manner all too rare in contemporary science fiction. The problem is that Order will always try to eliminate any random factors. By its very nature, it encourages opposition and that feeds the forces of chaos. But chaos has built in problems as well. Its victories cannot help but feed the forces of reaction, of order. The heroes in this novel ultimately opt for personal freedom. The villains try to establish a dictatorship over the very nature of reality itself.

And then Spinrad throws in the discovery of aliens. A starship sets forth to meet them, the Prometheus. The Hegemony doesn't like that. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars somewhat apropos for today's national & world atmosphere
as a youth i consumed scifi and fantasy like junk food.i picked up this bouquin back then ('87 maybe).it's a quick read and it's just alright in and of itself.the memory of this book resurrected itself, for me, with the occurrence of the 9/11 tragedies.my vague recollections (faded with time) of the story's random acts of violence/terrorism perpetrated against a corrupt global governance... its images, both large and small, of dystopia and terrorism/rebellion... stirred then and still haunt the back of my mind now when I read the news or other books/articles about current events.i'm not saying it was/is heinlein-like foretelling , but I can say that it did, for whatever reason, insert itself firmly into my consciousness, where it persists to this day.for that, if for no other reason, I'm giving it four stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books I had ever read.
When I was only thirteen I think my Father handed this book to me to read. This book is an early work of SF that takes place in a dystopian future. The book itself touches on the nature of power and freedom. Though I don't agree with Spinrad's ideas entirely, his book contains ideas about individualism that resonate even today. This book has been a major influence on my thoughts and beliefs and the story is still remembered by me to this day. I would suggest this to anyone who has some time on their hands.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chaos is Not Entropy
Only a few of the previous reviews for this obscure old sci-fi chestnut really tackle its actual themes and points of view. This was Spinrad's second novel and he was still a few releases away from wide recognition, but here he shows some real ambition and creativity. While the book does get a little full of itself at times, and the rather wooden characters show the golden age sci-fi weakness of talking way too much, Spinrad spun a surprisingly unique and effective political focus into an otherwise typical little space opera. The story revolves around a quite fascinating philosophy of chaos as the natural state of the universe (and its inhabitants), with the order imposed by leaders as antithetical to the destiny of mankind. It's a rather anarchist political outlook presented in cosmological terms. Spinrad does well with this premise, plotting out some intricate political shenanigans as three different parties exploit each other while trying to impose their vision of humanity, with dueling strategies for creating order or chaos. In the process, Spinrad delivers some insightful ruminations on power, tyranny, and freedom - and what those seemingly cut-and-dried terms mean on a cosmic scale. While parts of this book are pretty outdated and it shows many of the minor weaknesses of its genre at the time, Spinrad delivered what might be the most ambitious sci-fi political exploration this side of Frank Herbert or Anthony Burgess. The fact that this ambition actually leads to readable results is all the reason to pick up this old lost classic if you come across it. [~doomsdayer520~]

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
No, this is not a Get Smart adventure.Norman Spinrad's book is about one man's choice with regards to political systems.Three competing forces are at work, basically, fascism, democracy, and a wild card element, an order of assassins.Who, I suppose you could call terrorists, or anything like that.

4-0 out of 5 stars Where are the women?!?
Wasn't that line in Star Trek somewhere along the way? I enjoyed reading it but I wondered offhand whether the Hegemony sought to diminish chaos by eliminating women? Except, men and women were herded to see the initial speech and then after that...? I can see a novel without a main female character but I would still expect to see a female pronoun along the way, a technician, a specific mention among the crowds, something?

The unclimactic climactic ending, the rather commonplace (today)Ultimate Chaotic Act, dated it heavily in light of 911-01, Palestinian and Iraqi suicide bombers, etc.

... Read more

18. Deus X
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 96 Pages (2007-07-17)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0979477018
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In the tradition of Blade Runner and stories like Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," acclaimed science-fiction author Norman Spinrad explores the depths of what it means to be human; more accurately, he delves into the nature of the soul in our increasingly computerized technological age.Featuring a poignant new Afterword by Spinrad, this reprinting of one of Spinrad's most cherished works is more timely than ever before.Can human consciousness exist within the framework of an electronic "brain" and still maintain its humanity?In DEUS X, a dying priest's consciousness is uploaded into the most advanced computer of the day - and what ensues is a thought-provoking, entertaining and overly intriguing clash between the various characters surrounding the experiment, a female Pope and a computer guru who'd rather be sailing and smoking pot, for example.Spinrad is author of over twenty novels, including BUG JACK BARRON, THE MIND GAME, THE VOID CAPTAIN'S TALE, JOURNALS OF THE PLAGUE YEARS, LITTLE HEROES, PICTURES AT 11, GREENHOUSE SUMMER, THE DRUID KING, and MEXICA. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fun that provokes some thought as well
At sub 200 pages, it was a length just right for me.The theme boils down to a struggle to define and find faith in an increasingly scientific and technological time.It's my first Spinrad novel, but I don't read many books in the first place.So to say I made it through to book says a lot for it.If you have any interest in technology and religious philosophy I think you'll enjoy Spinrad's Deus X.

5-0 out of 5 stars Souls and Circuits
It may be short, but it's powerful.It centralizes around a dope-smoking computer whiz, a Cardinal, the Pope, an old preist, and the computer itself.What Spinrad does with these few characters is amazing.Thequestions they ask are, when the old preist dies and we upload hispersonality to the computer, does he have a soul?I'd say that this is farand away some of Spinrad's best stuff. ... Read more

by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 250 Pages (2010-05-27)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1617200522
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Centuries after the big smash, the successor civilization of Aquaria more or less flourishes on the west coast of what was once the United States, a society built on White Science, following the "law of muscle, sun, wind and water." Only the sorcerers of Space Systems, Inc., dare traffic in the "Black Sciences" of atomic, petroleum and physics which destroyed the old golden age of space, for they alone know of the higher destiny that awaits man in the abandoned Big Ear space station. For centuries, they have secretly infiltrated Aquarius through the gray town of La Mirage while crafting a spaceship capable of reaching the Big Ear and turning man's ears once more to the mysterious Songs from the Stars. Now, through the Aquarians Clear Blue Lou, perfect master of the Clear Blue Way, and Sunshine Sue, queen of the Word of Mouth communication network, they scheme to bring their ultimate scenario to fruition. Sex, love, emotion, karma, destiny, perhaps even The Way itself, all become elements in the scenario of Arnold Harker, Black Scientist, sorcerer, project manager of Operation Enterprise. But when Clear Blue Lou, Sunshine Sue and Arnold Harker finally confront the interstellar brotherhood of sentient beings, they find, each in his way, that The Galactic Way utterly transcends their hopes, wildest dreams and darkest fears. In this novel of science, mysticism and their ultimate synergistic fusion, Norman Spinrad once again demonstrates his power to create a vivid future that encompasses our dreams of space. "Songs from the Stars" is good old-fashioned science fiction set free from its old-fashioned puritan taboos... "Clear Blue Lou is a judge of the tribes in post-atomic Aquaria, an isolated national fragment in a broken world. Apparently there is no authority in Aquaria, not even a father figure, except for the circuit-riding judiciary which hears cases and speaks justice by inspiration.... We find ourselves following Lou on a traditional Quest for the secret of the Dark Power, led of course by his soul-guide anima.... Clear Blue Lou and Sunshine Sue are destined for each other...bound together by the dark power, as a god hero and his consort would be...."Walter M. Miller, Jr., author of A Canticle for Leibowitz "The blue of Clear Blue Lou and the yellow of Sunshine Sue mix to make the greening of Earth and the rest of the cosmos.... Remarkable...beautiful.... This is one of the uplifting works I've read...not a false word uttered."Philip Jose Farmer, author of the Riverworld series "Norman Spinrad is in top form for this one. A fine book, brilliantly written. I enjoyed every page of it."Roger Zelazny, author of the Amber series "Dense and meaty, multi-layered...as if Norman considers it a sin, as I do, to bore the reader or waste his time.... Spinrad leads the reader gently toward wider and more awesome vistas, expanding his mind as he goes."Larry Niven, co-author of The Mote in God's Eye and Lucifer's Hammer "This is perhaps Spinrad's finest novel-deft, powerful, with ideas that ricochet through the story. A fascinating vision of a very different future, with hope and ambition of its own, unhobbled by the past."Gregory Benford, author of In the Ocean of Night "Spinrad's excitingly unique imagination is at its best. He thinks with great daring and there is an unusual quality of poetry in his visions."Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Songs from the Stars
Spinrad blends two different motifs from science fiction - post-apocalypse and firs contact - in this unusual entry in the science fiction field.In the "Big Smash", most of Earth was blown to cinders.Centuries later, the only surviving civilzation clings to a feeble existence on the west coast of the former United States.Gathered in tribes with names like "Lightning" and "Eagle", they live roughly halfway between traditional native Americans and hippie communes.In the absense of government, we instead get "Perfect Masters" flying around in balloon/bicycles, dispensing justice whenever forbidden industrial technologies make an appearance.Spinrad pulls of a difficult trick with this society.He wants us to laugh at the raunchy side of their lifestyle (sex, drugs, and rock and roll, minus the rock and roll) while also taking seriously their commitment to clean technology and the concept of karma.

However, there are also "spacers" living in the desert, using bad black technology such as oil and electricity.Their plan is to build a space ship capable of reaching the Big Ear, and radio telescope built before the nuclear showdown that recieved messages from alien civilizations.No spoilers here, since this is all spilled forth on the inside jacket.Anyway, the success of this novel rides on the revelations that the character get when they actually reach the Big Ear being big and thought-provoking enough.In my humble opinion, Spinrad doesn't quite cut it at this point in the story.His creativity runs out and starts recycling stuff that sci fi fans have seen before.

5-0 out of 5 stars A chance for us yet
An enjoyable read. Post-Smash earth has pockets of society that find pre-Smash technology abhorent. They prefer the white magic of muscles, sun and wind. La Mirage skirts the grey magic by being a center of commerce where one can get supposedly pre-Smash white solar cells, etc. upon which their Way of life depends. Beyond the mountains, beyond the atomic ruins, a small enclave of scientists, using 'dark' science, support the vestiges of civilisation producing the items of trade while working to build a space shuttle to reach the Big Ear in space which may hold a message of hope for the future...

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A really well-crafted story.A lot of elements that might be described 60's/new age utopianism, but it gives the book a unique rather than dated feel.If you can get a hold of a copy of it, it's worth reading.

I'llsummarize it briefly since Amazon hasn't posted any information: It takesplace in the United States, many years after a technologically-drivenholocaust reduced civilization to agrarianism.Technology is developed insmall, socially acceptable forms, but certain forces wish to revive itagain, and the book follows three people; a new-age shaman-like man, ayoung woman who heads a network of information distributors and involvesherself with forbidden technologies, and the leader of an insular band ofengineers and scientists, who are trying to resurrect ancient technologies. All three become involved with a startling discovery made in the last daysbefore the apocalypse.Hopefully I've gotten most of the facts straight,it's been a while since I read it.Definitely worth picking up if you can. ... Read more

20. Subjectivity
by Norman Spinrad
Paperback: 24 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003YMNC7E
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Product Description
This title has fewer than 24 printed text pages. Subjectivity is presented here in a high quality paperback edition. This popular classic work by Norman Spinrad is in the English language. If you enjoy the works of Norman Spinrad then we highly recommend this publication for your book collection. ... Read more

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