63

This short story would obviously have been written no later than the 1980s, though in my recollection the style was more reminiscent of the 1950s or early 1960s. Darker than a typical Asimov, but fitting his style.

A Soviet researcher is working on a model of the food energy consumption (and hence efficiency) of the Soviet Union. I don't recall the details, but he has statistical data for how much food is produced, consumed, wasted, etc.(inputs) and how many people are doing what activities and hence their energy expenditure.

He finds there is a statistically significant discrepancy between the amount of available energy and the amount of energy usage that can be accounted for. He carefully and thoroughly examines the data and finally is forced to conclude and unknown factor is parasitically draining a percent or two of total human energy.

He writes up his findings and they rocket upward through the bureaucracy, leading in short order to his being asked to present his paper to the Party bosses or the Politburo or some such august assembly

all of whom are vampires.

  • 1
    Was it by a Russian author? – Stormblessed Oct 28 '19 at 2:24
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    @Stormblessed I totally can't recall, sorry. Was there someone you had in mind? – DavidW Oct 28 '19 at 2:57
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    A story that could only have been written before the fall of the USSR, since it later became clear that the Soviet bureaucracy would not have tolerated the maintenance of accurate statistics. – jeffronicus Oct 28 '19 at 15:21
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    @jeffronicus. Sort of. There were two types of statistics, just as most products had an export and internal variety. It's unlikely that a lowly math guy would have had access to the accurate variety. – Mad Physicist Oct 28 '19 at 19:35
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    @jeffronicus A story that could only have been written before the fall of the USSR, by a foreign author, and for a completely different reason than you mention. In the late 80s USSR, criticism of the inefficiency of their agricultural practices was all over the Soviet press. A lost percent or two? Ha. Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.... – Headcrab Oct 29 '19 at 5:54
76

This is The Report of the All-Union Committee on Recent Rumours Concerning the Moldavian SSR by D. C. Poyer. As far as I'm aware, it was only printed in the December '87 edition of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact.


The story is basically as you've decribed. A Soviet-era agricultural statistician discovers an anomaly and (unwisely) takes it to his superiors who're already (unbeknownst to him) aware of the problem.

  • 2
    I wonder if the text is available anywhere, a simple search did not reveal anything useful. I would be curious to read it. ;) – virolino Oct 28 '19 at 12:46
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    Well, I hoped at least for some paid electronic version - even if it is just a scan of the original. – virolino Oct 28 '19 at 13:33
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    Go ask your local librarian. They can almost certainly get you the text or scans, if not the magazine itself. – Jordan Running Oct 28 '19 at 17:13
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    @JordanRunning - I'm assuming OP would like to do it from the comfort of their computer chair – Valorum Oct 28 '19 at 17:22
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    @Valorum Fair enough. In that case they should email their local librarian. (A lot of libraries have a "chat with a librarian" feature on their web sites, too, and many have Facebook and/or Messenger.) – Jordan Running Oct 28 '19 at 17:24

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