The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell description:
The Great Explosion is a 1962 satirical sf novel by Eric Frank Russell. In three sections, the final is based on his 1951 short story “And Then There Were None.” It won a Prometheus Hall of Fame Award 23 years after publication.
A cheap faster-than-light drive has permitted populating the galaxy. Each planet has become home for different social groups. 400 years post-diaspora, a Earth spaceship visits three, a 1st step to galactic unification. Things don’t go as hoped, as the ship’s incompetent military authoritarians encounter three very different societies.
Once a penal colony, the 1st planet is a kleptocratic despotism. The 2nd, Hygeia, is populated by health & fitness fanatic nudists. The 3rd, Kassim, was colonized by a religious group. As the ship arrives they can’t find anyone, only overgrown villages. They don’t land as the captain fears disease. The 4th, K22g, has an unusual social system. The population call themselves Gands after Gandhi & practice a form of classless, philosophically anarchic libertarianism, based on passive resistance & a money-free economic system of barter & favor-exchange.
I actually read the short story “And Then There Were None” first, you can probably find it online like I did if you want to just check it out. It’s really great on its own, but it is actually the last few chapters of this book, and I am glad that he did expand and make this novel. This story is an amazing look into people and society. As a civilized society we always think we know what’s right, and of course anything different is wrong and ridiculous. But what these government employs discover is that society is merely what you make of it, and these people who have gone 400 years without any connection to Earth aren’t about to be so easily swayed from their ways. It’s funny and insightful and there’s no way you can walk away from this book without a different out look on life.