New Ararat had been quiet all through the Fifth Harvest Festival; the nearby gas giant Naphil put out more heat than it received from 23 Kranii, and Naphil's orbit around its star was very close to circular, so harvest happened all year round. Shun-Company had decided on a rotating schedule of Harvest Festivals, where the children, who had little else to do but sweep floors, herd goats, weed herb patches, fettle agricultural machinery, tend the comms station in the Best Parlour, and clear the South Field of meteors, could weave little dolls of potato leaves that could be pinned to makeshift crosses in the Town Square and ritually burnt, whilst the family danced around semi-nude and gaily painted with char-coal. The local interpretation of Christianity on Mount Ararat was ecumenical.Dominic Green was a friend of mine at Cambridge; we haven't seen each other in 30 years, but I've followed his writing career, including his second place for Best Short Story in the 2006 Hugos. This was I think his first novel, published in 2010, the year after Interzone published a special issue featuring him and his work.
Smallworld isn't Great Literature, but it's entertaining enough, a set of connected stories set on a very small and weirdly shaped asteroid which nonetheless has a breathable atmosphere thanks to a lump of neutronium at its core, and whose inhabitants include a creatively fundamentalist family, a robotic devil, a prison and a health spa. The folks of New Ararat are subjected to various incursions, which are resisted with varying degrees of success. It's all good fun, and I enjoyed it.
I did find that the particular san serif font used was a bit difficult to read, and impeded my concentration. My eyes are getting middle-aged. If you want to give it a try, you can get it here.
This was the sf book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next on that list is Being Human: Bad Blood, by James Goss.