Sketches (in no particular order) from a sci-fi story I'm working on. Like many of my best ideas, this one came from three unrelated ideas that turned out to have quite a bit in common. First was the realization that what a galactic surveyor would consider to be 'earth like' might not look much like our current, temperate world. At one point in earth's history ice sheets covered most of the planet (this is hyperbolically referred to as 'snowball earth') and so a planet identical to ours in all the major quantities could, in fact, be a snowball. With proper 'marketing' I'd bet dollars to donuts they could get colonists out there.
Second was the impact that living in a colony has on an emotional and economic level. Our modern world doesn't have colonies in the old sense- it may be expensive to quickly get to or communicate instantly with Timbuktu, but if you've got the money, it can be done. Formerly, people living in colonies were truly cut off- it wasn't a matter of money. The supply ship came once a year, and sometimes if the storms were bad, or if it wouldn't be profitable, they didn't come at all.
Third was a definition that I'd never heard before. (I like words, so it's unusual for me to run across one in my daily life where I can't even hazard an educated guess at the meaning.) The word was subnivean: a zone that is in or under the snow layer. I was familiar with the concept from watching videos of foxes hunting mice in winter, but the word itself was new.
This is the first time where the environment that my story took place in came to me before the characters or plot. Here, the world defines everything. So welcome to Snowball.