Something like a playful, knowing, Heinlein-ish Little House in the asteroid belt. Smith's previous outings include the interstellar pirate yarn Henry Martyn (1989) and the alternate- history The Crystal Empire (1987). In the 21st century, the large asteroid Pallas has been terraformed--enclosed within a plastic bubble, given air and water, and seeded with terrestrial life- forms--and now harbors two radically different populations. In a large crater surrounded by a high, electrified Rimfence live the 10,000 souls of the Greeley Utopian Memorial Project in conditions of virtual slavery; GUMP is ruled by Administrator Gibson Altman. Outside dwell a racially-ethnically-religiously mixed people in libertarian splendor; they regard their rights to hunt game and bear arms as the cornerstone of independence and freedom. Escaping from GUMP, and soon coming to terms with Outside, is young inventive genius Emerson Ngu; but then Altman shows up demanding that Emerson, as a minor, be returned to GUMP. This is just the beginning of a plot that takes in family entanglements, revolutions, alien objects, immortality treatments, etc. Reasonably diverting, if you can tolerate Smith's unsubtle ideological slant, and fluffed up with references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and other cultural icons.