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Abstract of -
Twillingers Voyage Book Review
Book review of a science fiction novel about a space-traveling galactic society organized along decentralist federalist lines. Actually, decentralism is a necessity in this society where it may take years to travel from one space-habitat city-state to the next. The space habitats described in this novel are limited to several hundred thousand inhabitants due to engineering feasibility, cost and time required to build them.
Society in these habitats is decentralized into three autonomous sectors whose members are enrolled on a purely voluntary basis. These are the commercial, the public service, and the retirement sectors. Since the habitats are built and owned by the public service sector, that sector finances its activities by renting living and working space to commercial sector tennants. Individuals who choose to drop out of the adult sectors can return to free living space reserved for students and the unemployed, where conditions are deliberately spartan.
Decisions that will affect the entire population of a habitat city – such as a navigational destination decision, or a treaty with Earth's authorities – are handled by a general assembly in which the entire population may participate electronically.
The story line begins with the discovery of one of these habitats in our solar system's asteroid belt by a man working for a space mining company. Having entered the habitat he finds he can't get out. He lives there for some years, learning the language, eventually joining the commercial sector and opening an Earth-style restaurant. There is a dramatic conclusion as he returns to Earth where he is instrumental in the negotiation of a peace treaty between Earth and the galactics.