I’m working on concepts for the setting for Smuggler’s Pursuit and mulling over the interaction of a Feudalistic society with space travel and trade. It seems to me that it could work quite well, particularly if you look at how modern totalitarian regimes manage. It would work very well indeed for a Lord with a space station – no run-away serf problem at all. I’m envisioning the Lords in rural areas using serfs traditionally as farm labor, but those in urban and manufacturing areas using them as assembly line workers, construction workers, and so forth. The usual little wars between Lords would still work even in the cities, as gang warfare if nothing else. That said, I’m wondering if my nasty civil war is between the Lords and the serfs or if I’m going to stick with the genocidal war I had been planning.
I’ll need to make a decision on that fairly soon, as Melia and Sophocles are walking into the middle of this civil war on page one. I’m leaning towards genocidal Lord vs. Lord, since both sides are going to need comparable firepower for several plot points to work correctly. Melia really needs to be just as concerned about one side wanting her dead as she is about the other side wanting her dead. If it’s serfs vs. Lords, she would be considerably less likely to take the rebellious serfs as a serious threat.
I think real feudalism will give Crandal the arrogance, interest in apparently frivolous pursuits, and the lack of experience in some ‘normal’ things that he needs as a character as well. I’m envisioning him as a young Viscount trying to marry the very pretty daughter of a neighboring Marquess. This helps to shape her character as well, as she’s quite vain and feels that she can make a much better match. Her father is a land-grabber, so marrying a daughter off to a lower-ranking neighbor might serve his purposes.