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YMMV / The Iron Heel

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  • Anvilicious: Like much of London's political writing. However:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: London's nightmarish vision for the future has been, for the most part, averted. But as Science Fiction is wont to be, the story is eerily prescient on a few things: like a European war in the 1910s that the US gets drawn into. Or a cabal of powerful businessmen trying to take over the government.
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  • Fair for Its Day: As mentioned on the main page, Meredith's disparaging remarks about Avis' gender are certainly a case of Values Dissonance today. On the other hand the mere act of having a sympathetically presented woman as the viewpoint character was fairly progressive by the gender standards of the early 1900s.
  • Genius Bonus: Meredith's note that, by his time, nobody remembers what a "tamale" is, actually has some political symbolism. In the popular culture of the early 20th Century, tamales were associated with poverty and dead-end unskilled labor. Being cheap, portable, and relatively nutritious, tamales were a popular food for poor itinerant workers in the Midwest and the Deep South, and were often the only hot meals they ever saw. The fact that, by Meredith's time, nobody even knows what they are, implies a much higher quality of life under the Brotherhood of Man.
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  • Nightmare Fuel: The siege of Chicago. London describes it in nauseating detail, from the heaps of mangled bodies that actually block the streets, to Avis's encounter with the rioting workers who barely seem human after a lifetime of grueling and degrading work, and then being worked up into a murderous rage by the Oligarchs.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The main premise - a cabal of evil industrialists enslave the world - has been done to death many, many times since London first wrote it (and, arguably, better than he did it), so it's hard for a modern audience to see how innovative and scarily plausible his audience found it.
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