Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Norman Spinrad

Go To
Norman Richard Spinrad (born September 15, 1940) is a controversial American writer of Speculative Fiction who came to prominence during the New Wave Science Fiction movement. One of his best known (and most controversial) novels is the award-winning The Iron Dream, about an Alternate Universe where Adolf Hitler became a writer instead of a dictator, and wrote a horrific fantasy reflecting his prejudices. The book won an award in France, but was briefly banned in Germany. His works are often filled with sex and drugs and other counter-cultural themes, and he's frequently had trouble getting them published as a result. Bug Jack Barron was condemned on the floor of the British Parliament, and a recent novel, Osama The Gun, was self-published on the Internet after he was advised that no American publisher would touch it.

He wrote an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series ("The Doomsday Machine") and an episode of Land of the Lost (1974). He is also a former President of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Works by Norman Spinrad with their own page on this wiki:

Selected other works:

  • The Solarians (1966)
  • Agent of Chaos (1967)
  • The Men in the Jungle (1967)
  • Riding the Torch (1978)
  • The Mind Game (1980)
  • The Void Captain's Tale (1983)
  • Little Heroes (1987)
  • Russian Spring (1991)
  • Greenhouse Summer (1999)
  • He Walked Among Us (2003)
  • The People's Police (2017)

Tropes in other works:

  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Agent of Chaos starts with an assassination attempt on the Coordinator. The initial phase of the attempt involves ten guys blasting with lasers to draw the attention of the bodyguards — so they won't notice in time to stop one of their own turning and shooting the Coordinator.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The characters from Riding The Torch had left millennia ago the nuclear-war devastated Earth in torchships (Bussard ramjet powered spaceships able to collect matter for their fuel from thinly spread particles in the void of space) and they expand and renew their fleet continuously while flying to search planets which can be colonized. They find out there has never been such planet beyond original Earth.
  • Church of Happyology: The Mind Game is about Transformationalism, a not-so-thinly veiled reference to Scientology.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: The short story "It's a Bird! It's a Plane!" begins with the description of Superman Syndrome, where people forget their own past in favor of being Clark Kent/Superman. This doesn't end well for Doctor Felix Funck.
  • Death World: Deathship Earth, the bad future in He Walked Among Us, where global warming has forced the remnants of the human race are crammed into domes improvised from shopping malls, recycling their wastes. The rest of the planet is a scorched wilderness, apparently inhabited only by a half-rat, half-cockroach scavenger species.
  • Eco-Terrorist: Pictures at 11 is about a group of international eco-terrorists who take over a Los Angeles television station with guns and bombs in order to get their message out.
  • Failed Future Forecast: The 1991 novel Russian Spring was overtaken by events within months of its publication. The novel was an extrapolation of the events that actually led to the fall of the Soviet Union, but predicted a more gradual, on-going evolution and opening-up. As the old guard of Soviet leaders continued to age and die, a new generation of young Russians became adept at working around the restraints of what was left of Communism, and started a cultural and artistic renaissance that soon became the envy of the rest of Europe, while America became increasingly insular and stagnant.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Duglaari / "Doogs" species in The Solarians are a thinly-veiled Expy of the Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union, down to what happened to Humans on conquered planets.
  • Gaia's Lament: He Walked Among Us basically revolves around whether the future will be this, or Ecotopia. (Or both possible futures might just be the ravings of an insane comedian.)
  • Generation Ships: In Riding The Torch, the remains of the human race in its entirety had to leave Earth after a nuclear cataclysm, flying Bussard ramjet ships ("torchships") in search of a habitable planet. Slowly they use the resources gained from the void by Bussard engines to develop an entire civilization under the guise of an ever expanding fleet of torchships.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A major plot point in The Men in the Jungle.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: The short story "Deathwatch" examines a future in which humanity develops a mutation that prevents aging... but not everyone has it. Warning: this story has been known to cause blurry vision in even the most stoic readers.
  • Musical Assassin: The Jerry Cornelius short story "The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde", arms Jerry with an electric violin with built-in amps which made the high notes ultrasonic, the low notes infrasonic, and the audible frequencies suppressed. When Jerry pops in his earplugs and plays various songs (ranging from "Wipeout" to "God Save the Queen") weird things happen to the minds of his audience.
  • Napoleon Delusion: The short story, "It's a Bird! It's a Plane!"
    Dr. Felix Funck: He think's he's Superman, and he's so crazy that he is Superman! This is a job for SUPERSHRINK! ... Wait for me, Superman, you pathetic neurotic, you, wait for me!
  • Virtual Celebrity: Little Heroes contains several of these.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: In the short story "The Weed of Time", the victim - er, narrator - remembered the entirety of his 110-year life from the moment of his birth. An expedition to another planet brought back the weed which caused the precognition effect and it had been released accidentally and grew wild. The experience drives him insane, because he cannot change any of the events he experiences.