Many years ago I read a sci-fi book about a planet that had been colonized by a group of earthlings sent to the planet from a doomed earth, a common theme. In the book, Earth ended up pulling through troubles and had lost contact with the colony planet. Earth sent a second expeditionary group out to the colonized planet to lay claim, but the expeditionary group, thinking it was going to have an easy time, met a very resistant and powerful colony.

One of the premises of the book was in the colonized planet's culture, education and smarts were a form of currency. I probably read the book between 1997 and 2000. It was paperback and in English. I bought it from a used bookstore. Does this story sound familiar to anyone? If so does anyone know the name of the book? I'd love to read it again. Thx!

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    How long ago was "many years ago"? Was it in English? Paperback? Hardback? From a library? Online? If you go to scifi.stackexchange.com/tags/story-identification/info, you'll find a list of questions to help prompt further details.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 15:57
  • I probably read the book between 1997 and 2000. It was paperback and in English. I bought it from a used bookstore.
    – drsnark
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 16:01
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    :) Then edit those details into your question.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 16:03
  • Note that proposed duplicate target is already the target of a different, closed duplicate.
    – Otis
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


You may be thinking of Voyage from Yesteryear, by James P. Hogan. Plot summary, per Wikipedia:

The story opens early in the 21st century, as an automated space probe is being prepared for a mission to explore habitable exoplanets in the Alpha Centauri system. However, Earth appears destined for a global war which the probe designers fear that humanity may not survive. It appears that the only chance for the human species is to reestablish itself far away from the conflict but there is no time left for a manned expedition to escape Earth. The team, led by Henry B. Congreve, change their mission priority and quickly modify the design to carry several hundred sets of electronically coded human genetic data. Also included in this mission of embryo space colonization is a databank of human knowledge, robots to convert the data into genetic material and care for the children and construct habitats when the destination is reached, and a number of artificial wombs. The probe's designers name it the Kuan-Yin after the bodhisattva of childbirth and compassion.

Shortly after the launch, global war indeed breaks out and several decades later, Earthbound humanity is united under an authoritarian government. It is this government that receives a radio message from the fledgling "Chironian" civilization revealing that the probe found a habitable planet (Chiron) and that the first generation of children have been raised successfully.

As the surviving power blocs of Earth before the conflict are still evident, North America, Europe and Asia each send a generation ship to Alpha Centauri to take control of the colony. By the time that the first generation ship (the American Mayflower II) arrives after 20 years, Chironian society is in its fifth generation.

The Mayflower II has brought with it thousands of settlers, all the trappings of the authoritarian regime along with bureaucracy, religion, fascism and a military presence to keep the population in line. However, the planners behind the generation ship did not anticipate the direction that Chironian society took: in the absence of conditioning and with limitless robotic labor and fusion power, Chiron has become a post-scarcity economy. Money and material possessions are meaningless to the Chironians and social standing is determined by individual talent, which has resulted in a wealth of art and technology without any hierarchies, central authority or armed conflict.

In an attempt to crush this anarchist adhocracy, the Mayflower II government employs every available method of control; however, in the absence of conditioning the Chironians are not even capable of comprehending the methods, let alone bowing to them. The Chironians simply use methods similar to Gandhi's satyagraha and other forms of nonviolent resistance to win over most of the Mayflower II crew members, who had never previously experienced true freedom, and isolate the die-hard authoritarians.

Frustrated with their lack of success, the authoritarian faction stages a military coup on board the Mayflower II and launches the ship's heavily armed "battle module", threatening to attack unless they submit to a military dictatorship. Having isolated the authoritarians, the Chironians destroy the module with an antimatter particle beam weapon. The remainder of the crew dissolve their government and join Chironian society. The week after, the laser communications beam to the Mayflower II cuts off, having been destroyed in another global war that had taken place 4.5 years ago.

The epilogue is set five years after these events and shows that the Chironians also assimilated the crews of the Asian and European starships. Now united, the Chironians refit and recommission the Mayflower II with an advanced antimatter drive and rename it the Henry B. Congreve. The Henry B. Congreve is sent back to Earth to rebuild human civilization (with the new drive, this journey will only take eight years), fulfilling the Kuan-Yin's mission of preserving humanity.

(Not found in ISFDB)

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    Incidentally, you can suggest entries in the ISFDB. I've done that a few times.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 16:18
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    It isn't that intelligence and education are valuable. The valuable thing is the recognition of your peers. Do what you are doing, and do it well, and you will receive the recognition and appreciation of your fellow citizens. A "rich" person is one who is widely recognized for what he has made of his abilities. A smart person with a lot of education would be poor - unless he had used them for something (directly useful or in research.)
    – JRE
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 18:01
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    @JRE - not even "directly useful or in research"; the actual "currency" was respect - someone who had earned respect in a field from others, regardless of how, was "rich" within that cultural framework. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 19:20
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    Oh, you mean rep. Just say rep.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 19:23
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    @MrLister - Well, yeah, but not in the StackExchange (or other points-counting website) sense, and they really did describe it as respect rather than rep(utation). Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 19:24

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