Sunday, 6 July 2014

Freehold II

Originally published on Poul Anderson Appreciation on 6 July 2013.

In Poul Anderson's "Outpost of Empire," the planet Freehold is bigger than Earth and very fertile but the human colony is small because:

"...the system lies on the very fringe of human-dominated space..." (Captain Flandry, Riverside NY, 2010, p. 11);
storms, diseases and nutritional deficiencies in local food caused early high mortality;
the system had formed in a metal-poor region before entering this spiral arm so that industrial development is impossible and extra-planetary trade essential;
staying in their cities, where they can better resist the hostile environment, but economically unable to expand the cities, the colonists have practised a lot of birth control;
the cities should be able to export food to other colony planets like Bonedry or Disaster Landing but are now in conflict with non-human settlers, the Arulians, and with rural human beings...

There are only nine cities and we quickly learn most of their names:

Domkirk;
Sevenhouses;
Nordyke;
Oldenstead;
Waterfleet;
Startop;
?

Not all yet. Freehold is proving to be as fascinating and complicated as Aeneas, Daedalus and other colonized planets in Anderson's Technic Civilization History.

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