I recall reading a story about a colony world in which there is a type of spice/seed that grows on the planet that is required for human life to continue. Control of this seed is used to control the colony world. There is a particularly long road between two regions of this world along which trade moves. The action focuses around the required spice/seed being stolen along that road. In fact, the title may even include the word 'road', but may not.

The story is older since I read it in the 80's. Any thoughts?

  • Please add as many details as possible to help identifying your story. – TimSparrow Sep 19 '17 at 13:42

This sounds a lot like Larry Niven's Destiny's Road (thanks, Alith, for the link). This follows a young man coming of age by joining a caravan as a cook -- cooking a single ostrich egg to feed a crew, in a pot that requires multiple people to move (carried on the road by a machine). The road itself was made by the starship that brought the colony, hovering on its fusion rocket to melt the ground into glass along the route.

The seeds you recall are called "speckles" and they're the only terrestrial source of potassium. Without them, colonists lose brain function progressively until they die -- or, with insufficient amount, they grow up brain damaged.

  • A link to the book with a synopsis and a some reviews is here – Alith Sep 19 '17 at 13:53
  • That is the one. Thanks. – C J Sep 19 '17 at 15:45

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