Swastika Night

Murray Constantine
Swastika Night Cover

An extremely grim vision


Katharine Burdekin in 1937 did a better job of realising Nazi desires for world (or at least continental) conquest than most contemporary politicans--although her vision is also constrained by her deep-seated pacifism (which she herself later abandoned).

If I had to pick out my main contention, it would be that half of the book is given over to the very exceptionally long conversation between Alfred and von Hess--it slows things down too much, telling rather than showing. Some of it could have been cut, and more action put it.

Swaskita Night has been compared to Nineteen Eighty-Four (the Gollancz edition has this comparison explicit on the cover) and Huxley's Brave New World, but it mostly shares the weakness of the latter in often privileging world-building over plot, although there is a great deal of character devlopment which deserves praise.

I would recommend it to anyone interested in alt-history, but I think those more interested in its dystopic elements, or those more broadly interested in classic SF in general, might find it a bit dry.