1) Molotov's Cocktail: Anatoli Molotov has been internally exiled to Siberia for alleged crimes committed while serving as a Soviet diplomat at the United Nations headquarters in New York in the mid 1950s. Landing “softly” in the gulag administrative town of Koriak, he is assigned to a mid-management government position, mostly content to spin his wheels and acquaint his lips with a vodka bottle. Then, Khrushchev has one of his hair-brained ideas: he will wean the Japanese away from the American side of the Cold War by returning the Kurile Islands to them and releasing the remains of the tens of thousands of Japanese POWs left to die in Siberia at the end of WWII.
The arrival of the Japanese delegation in Koriak wakes Molotov from his slumber. The Japanese delegation is headed by an old friend from the UN, Norio Shimizu. Using Shimizu as a conduit, Molotov plans to get a scientific discovery out of the Soviet sharashka (scientific penal colony) out to the wider world. That discovery is an anti-gravity device that can, in fact, change the world, something that would make “free energy” possible, threatening both Communism and Capitalism alike. Somehow, he has to deceive them to transport the device that neither side wants to come to light out to the free world.
Along the way, Molotov has to find a way to manipulate his Soviet masters, the Japanese capitalist sent on the secret mission to collect the war dead, his KGB nemesis from the UN mission in New York, and his corrupt local Soviet boss. As if this isn’t enough, Molotov must find ways to deal with the arrival of his long-lost lover who arrives in Koriak complete with a previously unknown daughter, a possibly fatal illness, the murder of one of the Japanese delegation, and political maneuvering within the Bolshevik Party after the death of Stalin and the ascendance of Khrushchev as friend and foe alike (who know which is which?) try to choreograph events to fill the void left by Stalin and position themselves in the new world.
2) Nobunaga World: Japan is a land of contrasts, a land where the latest technology works in symbiosis with ancient traditions. Some of the stories in this collection celebrate the age-old traditions of Japan, others deal with society trying to cope with change, while still others deal with expatriates trying to cope with fitting in a closed, xenophobic society.
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