I’ve recently become aware of the existence of a book called The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad. I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Iron Dream Concentrated Nighttime Recovery Supplement (“contains no iron”) (“Is worth buying just for the crazy dreams you have. Knocks me out for the night after 30 mins of taking. 10/10 would buy again.”).
Spinrad’s book of the same title is actually satirical science fiction with multiple layers of meta – basically, if Hitler wrote a Nazi-themed sci-fi slosh that was also its own anti-fascist allegory. Its hero, Feric Jaggar, is a motorcycling, xenophobic, racially pure human living on a planet of mutants. He’s basically Hitler’s alter ego, were Hitler a mediocre sci-fi author.
AND CAN WE ALSO TALK ABOUT THE COVER ART?
I straight up don’t know what to say about this one, except that it’s a thing of nightmares.
What’s fun about this book is that it’s a satire on Hitler, fascism, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. I want to own every single one of these paperbacks. I don’t care how it looks having so many books with Hitler on the cover.
I found a used copy on Amazon, which I went ahead and ordered. There is a Kindle version available for $2.99, but there are multiple reviews about it being riddled with errors on nearly every page. I can tell you right now that I can’t handle that, so paperback it is. I get the sense that I am going to have some strong ~feelings~ one way or another about this book, so I’ll give it a read and follow up on it with a sequel to this post, “Um, Excuse Me, Can We Talk About Norman Spinrad’s The Iron Dream? Part 2.”
On my first day of third grade my class was given the simplest of homework assignments: write a story. It could be on any topic we wanted. Any topic at all, my teacher assured us. I was delighted by the possibilities. I couldn’t wait to get home and start my masterpiece.
That night, the words poured from my tiny brain and onto the wide-ruled paper with fervor. It was my first experience of a piece writing itself and my first time feeling that laser beam focus brought on by inspired writing.
The end result was an epic tome about a family whose home is invaded by a wild aardvark that trashes every room, eats all their food, and then barfs everywhere.
Not only did I write this story with zeal, but the barfing sequence spanned a whole page. I thought it was a comic triumph, a true literary accomplishment, a droll, insightful tale for the ages. I couldn’t wait to turn it in.
So you can imagine my surprise the next morning when I realized that everyone else had simply written a few paragraphs about their summer vacation. I knew this because my teacher read every story out loud to the class.
As anecdotes of beach outings and Disney World adventures were met with applause and even some Q & A, my puking aardvark extravaganza was followed only by a long, stunned silence that will forever reverberate through my soul.
I had no friends going into third grade, and needless to say, I did not make any more that year.
I learned a few things that day. (1) I was not like everyone else, (2) there’s a sort of subtext in school and in society that everyone seems to understand but that I clearly do not, and (3) the act of writing awakens weird things in me and perhaps I should tone it down.
The spewing aardvark tale is just one of many strange short stories I wrote as a kid and later threw out from embarrassment. But today I would give anything to be able to read those stories.
Other story premises from my childhood (that I can remember):
All this reminiscing about the absurd things I wrote as a kid is starting to make me think that I was way cooler and more creative back then. If I could tell the eight-year-old me anything, I’d grab her by the shoulders and tell her she is smart and capable and funny and has more potential than all those other boring losers who bully her everyday. I would also tell her to please save all those amazing things she wrote so that I can post a better blog about them in the future.
Stay weird, my dudes.
I may never know precisely why, but this video recently popped up in my YouTube recommendations. It’s a French marching band performing, for some reason, Daft Punk songs for Presidents Trump and Macron, each of whom had very different reactions.
Macron appeared delighted by the performance, occasionally bobbing his head in an especially French way, face brightening as he seemed to vaguely recognize the melody of “Get Lucky”.
The guests rocked out, too.
Trump, ever stoic, watched on with an expression of deep contemplation, hairpiece flapping in the breeze like the wings of a majestic bald eagle. But methinks in his heart of hearts he hides a funkier side, obscured by that empty gaze into the middle distance.
Part of me regrets ever logging onto YouTube today. Another part of me shrugs and reminds me that this video is but a mirror reflecting back to us the reality that we as the collective unconscious have created for ourselves. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read some Camus in a beret and contemplate the meaninglessness of It All.
In the meantime, I’m posting the video here as a reminder of the absurdity of reality. Have a nice day.
Upon finally accepting that people outside of roller derby don’t generally care about roller derby, along with some technical problems that I didn’t know how to handle, I scrapped my original website.
Back then, it was more of a landing base for potential sponsors — a way to raise money and maybe publish the occasional blog post about the sport. I searched for sponsors for over a year, but I just couldn’t generate any interest.
What was going well, however, was the blogging part. I wrote a piece on sexism in the sport that went viral within 48 hours and was even picked up by other derby websites.
So I’m starting over again, except now it will be more of a blog format, with roller derby being only one of the many topics. In essence, I just want to write. About weird things. In a fun way. Maybe make friends with other weirdos in the process.
So welcome to the new kswirko.com, aka free-beer.org (I learned how to redirect domains and yes, I paid $11 for free-beer.org).
Stay tuned for kswirko.com 3.0, in which I will blog about my foray into the cutthroat world of International Ping Pong; kswirko.com 4.0, in which I will share my experiences of being part of a clandestine human cyborg experiment; and kswirko.com 5.0, in which I will document the glory of fighting in the Martian Wars as a human/cyborg hybrid.