What if you had a closed, isolated society of 100 people, half male, half female? Russian and American. Politics depends on the family and on sexual relations, and since you can’t predict how the sex will evolve, you can’t predict the politics either. That lowers stability, but terraforming will bring you some dynamic TFP, introducing additional chaos. Put it all on Mars. Then let the plot meander but remain interesting, and introduce a transformational religious cult figure.
I look forward to reading the sequel.