The Books of Hoth by Lyn McConchie

The Books of Hoth
Lyn McConchie

Allied Combine Space Patrol
Sector 3, Sub-sector 12,
Planet Guard  Sq.P 5.


Dear Mother,

     Sorry I haven’t been able to get a letter to you recently, but now reporters have the story as H.Q. has lifted censorship. Remember I wrote about the crime wave Sector 3 has been having? Well, some big-brain in H.Q. put everything we know about that into the deductive computer and asked for suggestions. The computer thought that it could be something to do with the inhabited planet the first-in-scouts discovered about a year before the trouble started.
     The planet is named Hoth – and the people are almost civilized, about level four – but they have no space flight. The Sector head didn’t want them to be given Travel Rights either but all the local do-gooders screamed their heads off about that. Then they found that the Hoth didn’t have fiction and that was it. Before you could say Andre Norton, a hundred members of the Church of Fictioneers were on the way to Hoth with a pre-fab library and fifty thousand novels.
     Maybe they’ll think twice about interfering in future, mother, because it seems that the people there, not having read fiction before, got sort-of addicted. And since they didn’t understand that fiction is lies for entertainment they were a bit confused about the whole thing. They read books about Robin Hood and The Saint and set out to do the same using the ‘travel rights” the church had insisted on.
     We’ve got everything sorted out again now. The Hoth are restricted to their planet until the psychologists are done with them. We have to stay on guard in orbit but that’s okay, we’ll get rotated home on leave with extra pay for that. So don’t worry about me, mother, Administrator Tanzer says that this patrol job could last for years. She says it’s a typical civilian SNAFU, and that too many books have spoilt the Hoth!
     Your loving son,


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