Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mack Reynolds' "Expediter" (novelette, free): You see, the main problem of society is ... the politicians

One of the illustrations, by George Schelling, accompanying the original publication in Analog of short story Expediter by Mack Reynolds. Image illustrates the final videophone conversation of the President with the Expediter.
It begins as a very dark story, but most of it is a funny read. And when do we get an Expediter for India? We badly need one.

There was an interview of Ratan Tata, published sometime back by Indian Express, following Niira Radia tapes & 2G scam expose. He said something to the effect: behind every illogical thing & apparent idiocy in government policy is someone making money; the idiocy is rarely unintentional. In this story, we have just plain unexplainable governmental idiocy & callousness, but I've a feeling the reality is a mix of just plain idiocy & Mr Tata's version.

Story summary.

Rename USSR as UBSR, the United Balkan Soviet Republics. With pretty much the cold war setup of People's Dictatorship, though it's supposed to be set a 100 years or so in future. That's where the story is set.

Top Two men in the country have decided to create a position of the Expediter - a Mr fix-it who'll debottleneck all sorts of impediments (& more often, just plain idiocy) in society. They'll get more than they bargained for...

Fact sheet.

First published: Analog, May 1963.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Rating: A.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Mack Reynolds.