(Pardon me while I go SQUEEEEEEE and run in circles for a moment.)
The obvious thing would have been to talk about the Soviets–a rather megalomaniacal bunch who incorporated a large number of Central Asian states and annexed the three Baltic states. Then created the buffer zone behind the “Iron Curtain” with the Eastern European satellite states. Their implementation of central planning has forever made me leery of “strategery” and the idea that top-down models work. However, they had 8,649,500 square miles in which to try their ideas, and a decently long run at state-hood despite significant repression of their people. I lived there from 78-80 (in Moscow), so have some first-hand experience of what that’s like. I was in elementary school then, and my dad was a diplomat, so I had a regular view of the “Mili-man” (police man) in the little cubicle down by the road into our apartment complex, daily visions of my parents talking to “Ivan” since we knew our apartment was bugged, and intermittent stories like the one from my friend who once lifted her telephone handset to call and listened to a recording of her dad’s business conversation.
All of that is merely the backdrop and inspiration for my novel, though. Dust to Blood is planned to be the first in a trilogy I’ve named Red Slaves (with a little help from my love). The underlying premise is that the Communists, in their drive to eliminate religion and spirituality in their people stripped them of something profound. My creative self turned this into an exploration of the flip side of that argument: What if they had stripped that sense of the magical to siphon the power of magical thinking and being into their own power structure? What if they were using the magical beings of their country as the meat batteries for staying in power when the repression and terror they inflicted on their people aught to have inspired counter-revolution long since?
Since there are still two deeply repressive Communist regimes out there, the story all but demands a follow-on that incorporates visits to North Korea and China. They will be a little more challenging for me to write, as the closest I’ve been to those countries is Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and airport stop-overs in Seoul and Tokyo. However, I ran across an article in Discovery News about Mount DOOM that has pointed my literary feet in that direction. I will have faith that the follow-on appropriate locations will appear similarly to those books as the ones I wasn’t aware of in Russia for this first installment of the series.
And I hope that this story appeals to enough people that it makes sense to invest the time and effort to develop the next ones. Let me know what you think!