I'm trying to find a novella for my mother, that she has read a long time ago. She says it was before I was born, that would be '86 but I wouldn't be too sure about that.

The only thing she has been able to tell me is that there was a "network" of planets, each one of those have its own political system. So there would be a "right-wing" planet, a "left-wing" planet, she seems certain that there was also one of them on which people didn't do anything. And one last thing : people are able and permitted to move from a planet to another.

  • 2
    Surprisingly this description covers a range of different novels and series. Could you add a little more detail, perhaps? Sep 22, 2015 at 15:11
  • It sounds something like the "Glitter Band" from Alistair Reynolds "Revelation Space" universe. According to Wikipedia, the first in the universe was "Dilation Sleep" — originally published in Interzone #39 (September 1990). Note: I've personally only read "The Prefect" so this might be off.
    – Sconibulus
    Sep 22, 2015 at 21:42

5 Answers 5


Could this be something in the Hainish Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin?

It doesn't fit exactly with your description, but the time frame is right, and there are certainly varying planets with different beliefs, traditions, etc.

  • Sounds like The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin
    – Konchog
    Oct 10, 2017 at 16:02

This sounds like it could be one of Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle novels. I'd need more details to figure out specifically which of the 16 or so Childe Cycle books your mother remembers. I've only read a couple of the books, but Soldier Ask Not deals specifically with the the interactions of the various "splinter" cultures. I'm sure it's not the only one, though.

from this Wiki page:

By the late 21st century, human culture begins to fragment into different aspects. Following the events of Necromancer, humanity has colonized some 14 Younger Worlds. The inhabitants of these worlds have evolved culturally, and to some extent, genetically, into several specialized Splinter Cultures. This was done by the racial collective unconscious itself as an experiment to see what aspects of humanity are the most important. The inhabitants of Earth (now called Old Earth, since New Earth is one of the Younger Worlds) remain "full spectrum humans" as a control.

The interstellar economy is based on the exchange of specialists, which puts Old Earth, the jack of all trades, at something of a disadvantage.


This could also be Doris Lessing's Canopus in Argos cycle, and particularly, the second book The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five. The eponymous zones are like planets, like a sequence of metaphoric and geographic territories, and perhaps like separate but bordering planes of existence. Their cultures and systems of governance are different

The main character, Queen Al•Ith is a benevolent resident of matriarchal and utopian Zone 3, who is directed by the Providers—the spiritual rulers of all the zones—to marry Ben Ata, the pugnacious, macho and brutal ruler of Zone 2. Despite their differences, they fall in love and conceive a son, but Al•Ith is then directed by the Providers to return with her son to Zone 3, while Ben Ata is directed to marry Vahshi, the queen of the primitive, barbaric, and nomadic denizens of Zone 5. Al•Ith, deposed by her sister in Zone 3, is exiled to Zone 2, an alienating territory inhabited by enlightened people invisible to Al•Ith. The remainder of the text entails conflicts over, and growing acceptance of the movement of people and ideas between the four zones.


In a short guess. It sounds kind of like a Battlestar Galactica novella. In a better guess Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold from 1986.

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    Welcome to SFFSE! Thanks for the answer, but could you add any further information so that future viewers can tell whether or not this is the story they are after? Thanks! Sep 22, 2015 at 4:34

I would argue that it sounds like the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov.

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    Why would you argue that? Can you expand your answer to include your reasoning? Sep 22, 2015 at 14:21
  • @JasonBaker Guest4955 may be thinking of Foundation's Edge, where it turns out that in addition to the two established factions in the Galaxy, representing "Free will" and "Guidance and peace", there is a third one, representing "Life". (See chapter 19.)
    – Mr Lister
    Sep 22, 2015 at 16:33
  • @MrLister Still, when the question asks for a novella and the given answer is the Foundation series, which is seven main novels and other ancillary material, it's not an extremely helpful answer at the least. But I don't wanna argue. ;) Sep 22, 2015 at 16:39

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