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Revolution   By: (1917-1983)

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REVOLUTION

By MACK REYNOLDS

Before you wish for something or send agents to get it for you make very, very sure you really want it. You might get it, you know....

Illustrated by Gardner

Preface ... For some forty years critics of the U.S.S.R. have been desiring, predicting, not to mention praying for, its collapse. For twenty of these years the author of this story has vaguely wondered what would replace the collapsed Soviet system. A return to Czarism? Oh, come now! Capitalism as we know it today in the advanced Western countries? It would seem difficult after almost half a century of State ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, communications, education, science. Then what? The question became increasingly interesting following recent visits not only to Moscow and Leningrad but also to various other capital cities of the Soviet complex. A controversial subject? Indeed it is. You can't get much more controversial than this in the world today. But this is science fiction, and here we go.

Paul Koslov nodded briefly once or twice as he made his way through the forest of desks. Behind him he caught snatches of tittering voices in whisper.

"... That's him ... The Chief's hatchetman ... Know what they call him in Central America, a pistola , that means ... About Iraq ... And that time in Egypt ... Did you notice his eyes ... How would you like to date him ... That's him. I was at a cocktail party once when he was there. Shivery ... cold blooded "

Paul Koslov grinned inwardly. He hadn't asked for the reputation but it isn't everyone who is a legend before thirty five. What was it Newsweek had called him? "The T. E. Lawrence of the Cold War." The trouble was it wasn't something you could turn off. It had its shortcomings when you found time for some personal life.

He reached the Chief's office, rapped with a knuckle and pushed his way through.

The Chief and a male secretary, who was taking dictation, looked up. The secretary frowned, evidently taken aback by the cavalier entrance, but the Chief said, "Hello, Paul, come on in. Didn't expect you quite so soon." And to the secretary, "Dickens, that's all."

When Dickens was gone the Chief scowled at his trouble shooter. "Paul, you're bad for discipline around here. Can't you even knock before you enter? How is Nicaragua?"

Paul Koslov slumped into a leather easy chair and scowled. "I did knock. Most of it's in my report. Nicaragua is ... tranquil. It'll stay tranquil for a while, too. There isn't so much as a parlor pink "

"And Lopez ?"

Paul said slowly, "Last time I saw Raul was in a swamp near Lake Managua. The very last time."

The Chief said hurriedly, "Don't give me the details. I leave details up to you."

"I know," Paul said flatly.

His superior drew a pound can of Sir Walter Raleigh across the desk, selected a briar from a pipe rack and while he was packing in tobacco said, "Paul, do you know what day it is and what year?"

"It's Tuesday. And 1965."

The bureau chief looked at his disk calendar. "Um m m. Today the Seven Year Plan is completed."

Paul snorted.

The Chief said mildly, "Successfully. For all practical purposes, the U.S.S.R. has surpassed us in gross national product."

[Illustration]

"That's not the way I understand it."

"Then you make the mistake of believing our propaganda. That's always a mistake, believing your own propaganda. Worse than believing the other man's."

"Our steel capacity is a third again as much as theirs."

"Yes, and currently, what with our readjustment remember when they used to call them recessions , or even earlier, depressions our steel industry is operating at less than sixty per cent of capacity. The Soviets always operate at one hundred per cent of capacity. They don't have to worry about whether or not they can sell it. If they produce more steel than they immediately need, they use it to build another steel mill."

The Chief shook his head... Continue reading book >>




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