Soviet Jokes

Red Plenty






Science Fiction

The Good Life



This is the website for Francis Spufford’s new book Red Plenty, published by Graywolf Press in February 2012.  Is it a novel?  Is it non-fiction? It all depends on your definitions.  It tells a true story, but it tells it as a story. Whatever you call it, it’s about the moment in the mid-20th century when people believed that the state-owned Soviet economy might genuinely outdo the market, and produce a world of rich communists and envious capitalists.  Specifically, it’s about the last and cleverest version of the idea - central planning via cybernetics - and about how and why, in the 1960s, it failed.  To give the economics some human depth, Red Plenty generates a miniature Soviet Union on the page, peopled by scientists and politicians, fixers and managers, dreamers and cynics.  

On the right you can find a sample chapter to read and (if you’re so minded) you can buy Red Plenty in several different languages.  There’s also a link to me reading some passages. But this is mainly a place for me to put things that wouldn’t fit, even into something as self-defined as a not-quite-novel: interesting things I came across as I was writing, extra bits that grew sideways out of the story, background on the major characters, early attempts at thinking through the ideas.  They’re roughly sorted by theme.  Click on the pictures below to explore.

Comrades, Let’s Optimize!

UK edition

US edition

German edition

Spanish edition

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