“Communist Rhapsody”

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Adrian Thieret’s translation of “Communist Rhapsody,” a story by Zheng Wenguang. “Communist Rhapsody” is a “scientific fantasy” written during the Great Leap Forward. I give a teaser below. For the entire story, go to: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/communist-rhapsody/. My thanks to Adrian Thieret for sharing his work with the MCLC community.

Kirk A. Denton, editor

Communist Rhapsody

By Zheng Wenguang 郑文光[1]

Translated by Adrian Thieret[2]

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright January 2021)

Editor’s foreword (1958): In this era in which one day equals twenty years, people want to know what our country, society, and people’s lives will look like twenty years from now. The writer of this piece has adopted a daringly imaginative style in writing this relatively scientific fantasy. We call it relatively scientific because what he says isn’t entirely baseless. We call it fantasy because to achieve these things still requires the hard work of the people. However, we anticipate that with the efforts of all China’s people, this fantasy can certainly be realized. Today there are only unimaginable miracles; there are no unrealizable fantasies. Because this work is fairly long, we will publish it in two parts.

Part 1: Our Country’s Thirtieth Anniversay

Everything happened so suddenly…

In the morning on the eve of the holiday, Director Zhang said to me: “Get your things together, Keling, we’re leaving on the Red Arrow to Beijing to watch the celebrations!”

I nearly jumped with joy. But Director Zhang told me sternly that before leaving I first had to go to the department to ascertain whether the second phase of the engineering plan had been approved.

We were advancing into the Xinjiang desert, and I was the engineer on the special “War on Deserts Committee.” Our work was, in the amusing words of Director Zhang, “to erase yellow from the map.” The work had actually begun nearly twenty years ago. Back then, people had flown in planes over the great Gobi Desert to seed it with hardy plants such as black saxaul bushes, oriental raisin trees, cacti, and camelthorns that might check the flow of sand, absorb moisture from far below the surface, and slowly form a new green oasis. [Read the entire story]

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