In the twenty-fourth century, the only cargo worth carrying by Faster Than Light ships is information. Wildcatters head out to exoplanets in search of new chemicals that may be synthesized as pharmaceuticals.
The industry is dominated by multinational giants, but tiny independents compete, hoping to strike it rich, in which case InterStellar Licensing Authority will grant an exclusive licence to exploit the planet.
David John Duncan (1933-2018) was an award-winning Scottish Canadian fantasy and science fiction author.
Duncan was a prolific writer and penned over fifty books. His sixth book, West of January, won the 1990 Aurora award, an award he would win again in 2007 for Children of Chaos. He was a member of SF Canada and in 2015 he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.