Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Lunarians On Proserpina

Originally published on Poul Anderson Appreciation, 24 August 2012.

Proserpina, a ferrous spheroid two thousand kilometers across, is on an eccentric two million year orbit that takes it between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. Cometary impacts have deposited frozen water, organics and metal.

Lunarians, adapted to live and breed in lunar gravity, have inhabited Proserpina, now prosperous and populous, for centuries, covering its surface with domes, roofs, towers, masts, roads, rails and spacefields where ships come and go like fireflies. It is surrounded by satellites, habitats, factories, entrepots, supplementary harbours, naval bases, research centres and antimatter production facilities. A majority of Proserpinans are in lesser colonies on smaller bodies or in mining bases on comets.

Related families and their retainers form phratries. Related phratries form phyles to act cooperatively. Seigneurs, holding the balance of wealth and power, have strong bonds with their subordinate "companions." "Courai," either owned by seigneurial families or drawing their members from a single phratry, conduct most major enterprises. Because population is concentrated  on Proserpina, its phratries elect a Council of Forerunners which, by electronic consultation, sets policies, enacts safety regulations and organizes public undertakings, paid for by levies on their beneficiaries. The Council chooses a Convener. The Consultancy of seigneurs leading the phyles can review and veto the Council's acts.

Here is yet another of Anderson's carefully detailed future environments and societies.

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