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SWASTIKA NIGHT

by Burdekin, Katharine

Swastika Night is a futuristic novel by Katharine Burdekin, writing under the pseudonym Murray Constantine, first published in 1937. This novel projects a brutal, totally male-controlled fascist world. The women are breeders, and the men have abolished all history, education, and art.

SWASTIKA NIGHT takes place seven hundred years after Nazism achieved power, by which time Adolf Hitler is worshipped as a god. Elsewhere, the Japanese rule the Americas, Australia, and Asia. Though Japan is the only rival superpower to the Nazi West, their inevitable wars always end in stalemate. The fascist Germans and Japanese suffer much difficulty in maintaining their populations, because of the physical degeneration of their women.

The protagonist is an Englishman named Alfred on a German pilgrimage. In Europe, the English are loathed because they were the last opponents of Nazi Germany in the war. Per official history, Hitler is a tall, blond god whopersonallywon the war. Alfred is astounded when shown a secret, historic photograph depicting Hitler and a girl before a crowd. He is shocked that Hitler was a small man with dark hair and a paunch. And his discovery may mean his death...

Burdekin's novel explores the connection between gender and political power and anticipates modern feminist science fiction.
Readers will be reminded of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's HERLAND and note the sharp contrast between the woman-centered world of her land and the womanless one of SWASTIKA NIGHT.

Katharine Burdekin (1896-1963) wrote under the name Murray Constantine, and published more than ten novels before her death. Her dystopian novel SWASTIKA NIGHT (1937) was reissued by the Feminist Press in 1985, and by Gollancz (SF Masterworks) in 2016.

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Kommentare

A powerful, haunting vision of the inner and outer worlds of male violence.

Quote: Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt

SWASTIKA NIGHT explores totalitarianism with insight, prescience and humanity it's a remarkable intellectual and aesthetic achievement.

www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/nov/12/swastika-night-nineteen-eighty-four

Review: The Guardian

John ClutedescribedSwastika Nightas "a scathing feminist anatomy of war, sexism and power" and lists the novel as one of the "classic titles" of inter-war science fiction.

Quote: John Clute

Swastika Nightgoes beyond the specifics of Nazi ideology to a nightmare world in which men are valued for their brutality and violence and women are regarded only as degraded breeders. The real nightmare is how closely these underlying views conform to conventional contemporary notions of masculinity and femininity. Thanks to the Feminist Press for bringing us this brilliant, chilling dystopia, written under a male pseudonym and demonstrating once more that Anonymous was a woman.

Quote: Ann J. Lane, author of To Herland and Beyond

Burdekin's pre-war story reads as horribly prescient and its feminist emphasis... provides a very validcritique of fascism.

Quote: Adam Roberts

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