"The Terrific Leader"  
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Welcome to Dystopia
Publisher OR Books
Editor Gordon Van Gelder
Collected No
Genre(s) Dystopic Science Fiction
Publication date December 6, 2017

"The Terrific Leader" is a very short work by Harry Turtledove, published in Welcome to Dystopia: 45 Visions of What Lies Ahead (OR Books, Gordon Van Gelder, editor). The five page piece depicts a day in the life of a young woman named Kim, who resides in a poor village with her mother, under the rule of a dysfunctional and totalitarian regime. Her village is without power even though it's being hammered by a blizzard, food is scarce, and Kim's father had previously been taken away as an enemy of the state. We learn that Kim nonetheless has complete faith in her country's ruler, identified only as "the Terrific Leader". The story then follows Kim as she forages around the community for foodstuffs with some success.

The story ends with Kim and the rest of the village watching the Terrific Leader give a televised speech proclaiming the country's greatness. Up until this scene, Turtledove has created the impression that the story is set in North Korea. However, this final scene confirms that this hopeless country is indeed the United States of America. While the real name of the Terrific Leader isn't specifically given, Turtledove makes it clear that he is Donald Trump. The story ends with Kim crying as she realizes, in an allusion to George Orwell's 1984, that she loves the Terrific Leader.

Literary comment

On January 20, 2021 in OTL, Joe Biden succeeded Trump as President, retroactively making this story an alternate history.

See also