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'The Steel Tsar' is a sci-fi/alternate history novel by Michael Moorcock, first published in 1981 by Granada.http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/moorcock/nomad3.htm Being a sequel to 'Warlord of the Air' (1971) and 'The Land Leviathan' (1974), it is the final part of Moorcock's 'A Nomad of the Time Streams' trilogy regarding the adventures of Captain Oswald Bastable and which has been seen as an early example of steampunk fiction. The same cover image was used for the 1987 reissue of Judas Priest album 'Rocka Rolla' and also the 1989 video game 'Ballistix'.
In a story introduced by the ubiquitous Una Persson (who is also found in other works by Moorcock), the trilogy's hero, Captain Oswald Bastable, finds himself in an alternative twentieth century in which the Great War never happened. Britain and Germany became allies instead, as France declined, in a world menaced by Japanese Imperialism. Oswald joins the Russian Imperial Airship Navy and is imprisoned by the rebel Dugashvili, the 'Steel Tsar' of the title who is known to the real world as Joseph Stalin. He also encounters the anarchist Nestor Makhno and his Black Army.
While imperialism and racism in nineteenth century "heroic" fiction were deconstructed in its predecessors, the final book of the trilogy deals with the benefits of socialism and anarchism in a third alternate twentieth century where there were no effective social democratic parties in Western Europe and Australasia, as in our world.
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