Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Altai II

When "'...a few shiploads of Central Asians...'" colonized Altai, the planet was too cold and dry for farming but also too low-density - lacking heavy metals, fossil fuels or fissionables - for industrialization so the colonists became nomadic herdsmen without losing scientific knowledge or technology.
- Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 349.

Nomads wearing crash helmets travel on durable motorcycles, handmade with small power tools and powered by energy cells. Against the freezing cold at night, they have motorcycle heaters and well-insulated sleeping bags. They communicate by radio and detect distant enemies or fugitives with telescopes, ferrous detectors and infrared amplifiers.

Ulan Baligh, the only permanent settlement, has a population of 20,000 but is always encircled by encamped tribesmen who have come to trade or attend the Prophet's Tower. The Prophet Subotai codified a Moslem-Buddhist synthesis centuries ago. Thus, Altains retain Terran religious traditions and develop them further.

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