Some years ago, an intrepid writer from the Perenna star system launched a galaxy-wide franchise by way of a clever, charismatically-written book centering around the life and times of a motley freighter crew.

There were several reasons for the book's success. Most are not self-explanatory, hence the following history info-dump:

Humans had long extended past their home planet, as prophesied by hordes of science fiction writers and the American Government alike. While some purists (read: suicidal dummies) still clung to their precious home planet, which people not much unlike them had previously polluted heavily in search of financial gain, most humans had gotten the hint with the first planet-wide storms and left. While the bulk of the some-billions population was lost during embarassing incidents concerning planets that were only thought to be capable of sustaining life, it's generally accepted that this was after all a fortunate event: only idiots would think a planet with an atmosphere mostly composed of methane was "pretty cool".

Gene pool clensed, the survivors (or rather, their descendents, seeing as space travel was still a tenuous and terribly drawn-out ordeal) settled on planets they established to be safe and from those planets extended to other planet, further and further, in a widening concentric circle around Earth.

Due to the sheer size of the human colonial empire, any form of political control rarely extended past a planet, and in the rare cases of a lucrative economy, past a system which only has three or four populated planets to begin with.

One would think that in this situation, space travel would be a commonplace. Well, sure, you COULD travel through space. If, y'know... you really want to, or something. Because, you know, it's allegedly really cool to do so.

Of course, after 40 plus years of wandering through space, a nice, gloomy, possibly dangerous planet seems like heaven, much less fertile, rich, temperate weather planets that were so sought after.

The only people who traveled these days, though, were politicians (and nobody minded them being away) and freighters.

Freighter crews were stereotypically thought to be social deviants, misfits, criminals and grouchy as default. This stereotype was generally enforced by the truth.

So anyway, there was this writer from the Perenna system, whose five fertile planets were dedicated to agriculture. When your only job is watching plants grow, you either go out and get a hobby, drink and/or fornicate like crazy. Perenna system had, since its first years, been known for its... amazing population boom. Booms. Every year. Ahem.

We can assume our writer was particulary ugly, because he or she found nothing better to do than write about a freighter crew. The fact that s/he had never seen a space ship up close or knew the most basic thing about said crew was no impediment in writing an amazing, detailed, funny, accurate and extremely flattering book about the subject. While critics panned it early for its lack of realism, the public took an instant liking to "The Space Adventures of Sally Hopkyrk", named so despite the fact that Sally Hopkyrk died within the first chapter of the book.

Perhaps a good question right now would be: but how did freighter crews feel about the book?

The answer: they started their own "Sally Hopkyrk" convention and hold it every year on Perenna-Prime.

The writer, though, is oddly absent from this picture. Though the original book was followed by five others and there were whispers of a sixth one in the works, nobody knew who the author could possibly be, and considering Perenna system's ever-growing population, such a thing is next to impossible to discover.

Regardless of all that, one thing is for certain: real freighter crews are a lot less interesting than one talented writer from a boring-as-dirt planet can make them out to be...