Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan
Around 2020 a pioneer space ship was sent to a habitable planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. But it wouldn’t be large enough to carry human beings. Instead DNA was encoded in storage. When the ship arrived twenty years later, the DNA codes would be turned into human babies and raised by intelligent machines. The planet has been named Chiron.
Twenty years later a second ship of American settlers leaves Earth and its political upheavals. This ship is fully complemented with people of all ages, races, and political beliefs. A complete generation grows and matures during the second twenty year voyage. Now these politically savvy, world weary humans were going to join the “innocent” humans who had been born and raised on Chiron. They have to protect the Chirons from the politically hostile ship of pioneers from a different world power that arrives in another two years.
The two populations are very different. The Chirons have a loosely structured society that works well for them. The Americans know that the society cannot stand up against a focused attack from a hostile population. The two societies start interacting. The newcomers start going down to the planet. The Chirons willingly accept them and invite them to join their society. Now these disparate humans have to learn how to live together and be ready to face the power coming in another two years – if they can survive this first meeting.
James P. Hogan makes sure there is science in his science fiction. This book was written over 20 years ago, yet the science is believable. I found the reading slow, especially when he focused on the technology. The human interactions are interesting and resolved in an expected but well written manner. This is a good twist on the planet colonization scenario.