I have been waiting to read this book for about... 15 years.
When I was a lonely teenager in Italy a used copy of a science fiction book about a ship full of circus people crashing on an alien planet and building a new society, Elephant Song. I loved it, but I forgot about the series until recently. It came into my mind again and I realized that now that I am no longer marooned in a foreing country I might be able to find a copy of the other works. Voila, there is a book called Circus World and I have read it.
Circus World is a collection of connected short stories that explore the cultures of the circus world as it is affected by interstellar politics. Baraboo is in a strategically important location between two powers, and it can no longer remain isolated from the Galactic mainstream. But how can they retain their unique way of life?
The writing has a classic feel that makes it seem a bit dated (twenty years after publication) with some leaps of logic and odd racial stereotypes. But it's very fun - the traditional 'what if' question played out to an extreme.