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This Day in Science Fiction History: 10 August

Planet Sphinx from orbit
Sphinx (Manticore A-IV) from orbit (© Baen 2011)

Fictional Entry—Saturday, August 10, 3619 (1517 PD)

Madeleine Davenport, a passenger liner, arrived in Sphinx (Manticore A-IV) orbit after an eleven-week transit from Meyerdahl. Among the passengers were Marjorie, Richard, and Stephanie Harrington.

The Harringtons were part of the new homesteaders under the Star Kingdom of Manticore’s aided immigration policy. After the deadly Manticoran Plague wiped out over sixty percent of the original settlers, Manticore was in dire need of new blood. They enacted the policy to entice new settlers to what were considered frontier worlds. The new Star Kingdom would provide every eligible homesteader credits equaling the value of a 2nd class-ship ticket price for the journey from the Solarian League to Manticore. Those credits could be turned in upon arrival for either shares of land or orbital industries. The Harringtons chose the land share option.

Persons immigrating fell into one of the categories. If a person could pay for their tickets and had significant amounts of money available when they arrived, they could purchase additional shares at half-price. People in this group often had as many shares as the “First Shareholders” and became the lower-status peerage.

The second group, known as yeomen, was made up of anyone who could pay for the passage out of their own funds. These people had the full amount of their homesteader credits available when they arrived but not much more. This made up the bulk of immigrants to both Sphinx and Manticore. After one Manticoran year, yeomen gained franchise and the right to vote.

Zero-balancers made up the final group of homesteaders. These were people who arrived in the Star Kingdom and lacked the personal funds to pay for the flight. They obtained loans through the Manticore Colony Trust for their lands and didn’t gain franchise until they repaid the loans and paid taxes for five Manticoran years.

The Harringtons had purchased a freehold in County Duvalier of the Duchy of Shadow Vale. They named the stead Craggy Hollow. It was a 20-square-kilometer tract of land between the Tannerman Ocean and the Copper Wall Mountains. Construction of the main house took about three months. While the family waited for their home to be built, they stayed in an apartment in Yawata Crossing.

A Beautiful Friendship


David Weber


This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.


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