© 2015 Harry Turtledove
What if Joseph Stalin was a Democrat? Imagine that the Man of Steel’s parents had emigrated to the United States before he was born, and that instead of rising to power through a Bolshevik revolution, he was voted into high office. In Joe Steele, Stalin wins the 1932 Democratic presidential nomination after his rival FDR perishes in a mysterious fire; after trouncing Hoover in the general elections, he immediately adds the United States to the 1930s’ diverse list of totalitarian hellholes, complete with labor camps and knocks at midnight from men in black. The sheer magic of being Joseph Stalin is irresistible…and inexplicable.