[[quoteright:272:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Aristoi_Resized_9701.jpg]]
A ScienceFiction novel by Creator/WalterJonWilliams.

Thousands of years ago, a GreyGoo event destroyed [[EarthThatWas Earth1]], leaving a shattered and frightened human race in its wake. From the ashes of this disaster came Captain Yuan, a legendary technical, artistic, and political genius, who pioneered startling new innovations in all avenues of human existence. These included the Hyperlogos, a vast repository for all accumulated human knowledge that is instantly and freely available to all individuals; the oneirochronon, a [[TheMetaverse Metaverse]] virtually indistinguishable from reality; and the daimones, tame [[SplitPersonality Split Personalities]] that allow an individual to multitask in ways previously thought impossible, opening up new vistas in the potential for human achievement. Under Captain Yuan's guidance, humanity formed [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas the Logarchy]], a new galactic polity built on the principle of meritocracy: given technology's great and terrible potential, only the best among humankind (as defined by a rigorous and scrupulously fair series of tests) would be allowed to wield it. These men and women became the Aristoi, the new [[FeudalFuture absolute rulers of all civilization]], and under their guidance the Logarchy has experienced millennia of peace and prosperity unparalleled in human history.

Gabriel is an Aristos, not one of the eldest or the most influential, but among the greatest artistic minds of his generation. His domaine, unlike many of his fellows', is a democracy which he takes little role in governing, and he is perfectly content with his society and his existence. That contentment is shaken, however, when Cressida, an elder Ariste, [[CallToAdventure warns him of a conspiracy]] to subvert the Hyperlogos, whose absolute integrity has been the linchpin of the Logarchy's peace for generations. When Cressida is [[HeKnowsTooMuch subsequently slain]] in a convenient nanotech "accident," Gabriel realizes that the unthinkable has happened: the Logarchy is under threat, and the conspirators are somewhere among the Aristoi themselves...

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!!This work provides examples of:

* AbsentAliens: The Logarchy haven't found any yet. One of Cressida's initial theories is that the villains have discovered some and are keeping them from the rest of the Aristoi (but they aren't).
* TheAce: Being one is required to become one of the Aristoi. Gabriel, for example, is a genius composer, painter, architect, genetic engineer, and nanotech designer, a competent surgeon (despite not having any formal medical training), a charismatic leader, a cunning social manipulator, and a master of several forms of armed and unarmed combat.
** BrokenAce: Several of the Aristoi are "eccentric," to say the least, and then there's the BigBad...
* ArtificialGravity: They have it...and they've weaponized it.
* AugmentedReality: The oneirochronon can be used this way.
* AxCrazy: Knight Silvanus.
* BettyAndVeronica: Clancy and Zhenling, respectively. [[spoiler:Technically, they both lose, since Betty gets left behind to run things while Gabriel goes off on his quest for revenge and Veronica is sentenced to life imprisonment.]]
* BigBad: [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]].
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler:Zhenling]].
* BioAugmentation: Rampant, ranging from standard enhanced immune systems that everybody has to gills and webbing for people who want to live underwater.
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: Gabriel uses gravity generators to design a house for his lover in which everything is upside down.
* BrainComputerInterface: Renos.
* BroughtDownToNormal: After the villains capture Gabriel, they switch off his reno, cutting him off from the Hyperlogos and forcing him to go back to calling up and controlling his daimones from scratch.
* BrownNote: The Postures, Mudras, and Sutras of Captain Yuan, which are (respectively) postures, hand gestures, and words or phrases that people are conditioned from birth to have psychological or even physiological responses to. (Aristoi are supposed to be deconditioned to the Mudra of Domination, but in their climactic throw-down Gabriel learns that [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]] has invented an entirely new version.)
* ButNotTooBi: Gabriel is bisexual, but his two main love interests are both female.
* TheCaligula: The Crackling Prince, a mad Aristos whose rule was so erratic and cruel that it led to widespread civil disorder. He was finally forced to retire after it came out that he was planning to use gravity generators to "artistically reconfigure" planetary landscapes...while they were still inhabited.
* CanisLatinicus: Beukhomanan is this.
* TheCasanova: Gabriel.
* ChurchPolice: The Argosy Vassals.
* ClarkesThirdLaw: Gabriel has to persuade Remmy that the BigBad isn't {{God}} and he isn't {{Satan}}. [[spoiler:Sadly, the persuasion doesn't take.]]
* ColdBloodedTorture: [[spoiler:Remmy]] is subjected to this.
* CommLinks[=/=]SubspaceAnsible: Using the Hyperlogos, the oneirochronon, and their implanted renos, citizens of the Logarchy can be in constant contact with each other even over vast interstellar distances. (In fact, at the beginning of the novel, Gabriel and Zhenling have known each other for over a decade, but have never actually been in the same solar system at the same time, much less met in meatspace.)
* CostumePorn: The outfits worn by Gabriel and the other Aristoi are lovingly described.
* CrapsaccharineWorld: The novel takes place entirely from the POV of the Aristoi and their closest aides, so the Logarchy is generally portrayed as a {{Utopia}}. But there are occasional hints that it's actually this, such as Gabriel's blithe admission that almost all Aristoi have implemented PopulationControl and the glimpses into the domaines of Sebastian and Virtue's Icon.
* CurbStompBattle: After being BroughtDownToNormal, Gabriel is forced to fight the BigBad in hand-to-hand combat. Gabriel never lays a finger on him.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Both the Aristoi and (especially) the Beukohomanan court are this.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: No one in this book disputes the basic principle on which the Logarchy is based (that some individuals have a natural right to absolute power over everyone else), so even the "heroes" occasionally (and rather casually) do things that should horrify anyone who believes in things like democracy and inalienable rights.
* DigitalAvatar: Called a skiagenos. Most people just appear as themselves, but some people are more eccentric (like Sebastian, who appears as a color-shifting floating sphere, or Dorothy St-John, who uses a different shape every time).
* DoubleStandardRapeSciFi: Gabriel essentially stalks Remmy and uses his daimones and {{Brown Note}}s to bed him even after the other man at first rebuffs his advances. This isn't really commented upon, except for a bit of HypocriticalHumor when Gabriel notes how easy it would be for someone with ''real'' vices to exploit the poor, innocent Beukohomanans.
* TheDungAges: Gabriel and company view Beukohomana as this (and compared to their home society, it is).
* EarthThatWas: Earth1 was destroyed by a GreyGoo event thousands of years ago. After the Logarchy was formed, one of the first things the Aristoi did was to {{Terraform}} Earth2, which is as exact a replica as they could make based on surviving records.
* EasySexChange: They take several months, but they're available with a certain nano package.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: The villains have one. Gabriel privately makes a snide remark about how cliche it is.
* EmperorScientist: The Aristoi are the absolute rulers of humanity because they are the only ones allowed to use human technology to its full capabilities.
* EternalSexualFreedom: Averted in Beukohomana, which has the exact same cultural views of liberated women and homosexuality that real life medieval societies did.
* FasterThanLightTravel: The Logarchy has it, but not much detail is given on how it works.
* FeudalFuture: The Logarchy. It's a meritocracy, sure, but it's still a confederation of absolute monarchies.
* FreeLoveFuture: Homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, and polygamy are all widely accepted.
* GeniusBruiser: Gabriel, Saigo, and [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]] all demonstrate that they are well-qualified for this title at various times.
* GodGuise: Gabriel created a ScamReligion that worships him just to give his mother something to do. The BigBad ends up doing this inadvertantly when [[spoiler:Remmy]] becomes convinced that he is the literal God Almighty.
* GreatBigLibraryOfEverything: The Hyperlogos, which is the sum total of all human knowledge. (How big is it? UsefulNotes/TheMoon has been converted into a server farm for it. Just one of ''many'' server farms.)
* GreyGoo: Mataglap nano, which wiped out [[EarthThatWas Earth1]] and led to the implementation of the Aristoi system. Early in the book, the villains use it to assassinate Cressida and MakeItLookLikeAnAccident.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: At the end of the novel, Gabriel is repeatedly warned that he has already started to adopt some of [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]]'s personality traits, and that, to beat him, he may end up becoming just like him.
* HomeworldEvacuation: Earth was destroyed by GreyGoo, leading to the reorganization of society into essentially a confederation of feudal states, with each state's leader (the Aristoi in question) being the only ones allowed to use nanotechnology freely.
* HomosexualReproduction[=/=]MrSeahorse: In the first chapter, Gabriel performs surgery on his lover Marcus to impregnate him with their child.
* HoneyTrap: [[spoiler:Gabriel's entire romantic relationship with Zhenling was all a part of Captain Yuan's plan to get access to his secrets.]]
* HospitalHottie: Clancy.
* HypocriticalHumor: At one point, Gabriel reflects that the people of Beukhomana's lack of renos and daimones would make it child's play for someone who has them to indulge their vices at will, but luckily ''he'' doesn't have any such vices. He says this right after using one of his daimones to [[DoubleStandardRapeSciFi seduce a local man who at first rebuffed his advances]].
* InstantExpert: Gabriel has never used the special swords mandated for a proper Beukohomanan duel before, but becomes an expert with them (able to slay a man who has successfully fought over 200 such duels before) after a single lesson. He also manages to teach himself how to play one of the local music instruments overnight.
* LongLived: Current median life expectancy is 355 years, but some people (like Pan Wengong and [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]]) have lived [[TimeAbyss much, much longer]].
* LoopholeAbuse: One of the few restrictions imposed on the Aristoi's governance of their domaines is that they can't prohibit their citizens from emigrating if they want to. Virtue's Icon gets around this by imposing onerous taxes on anyone who tries to leave.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Gabriel believes that Saito is the conspiracy's mastermind, but it's really [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]].
* ManipulativeBastard: The Welcome Rain (and, by extension, Gabriel when he takes his advice).
* MatterReplicator: A trivial application of nanotech.
* MeaningfulName:
** All of Gabriel's daimones have these. For example, Mataglap (an AxCrazy BloodKnight) is named for an Indonesian idiom for someone who is about to go berserk, while Augenblick (the master of the SherlockScan) is named for a Middle High German word that means "quick glance."
** The Aristoi's starships are all named for famous philosophers and scientists.
** Captain Yuan, the founder of the Logarchy, shares a name with the Yuan Dynasty, which was founded by GenghisKhan.
* MedievalMorons: Beukohomanans are portrayed this way.
* TheMetaverse: The oneirochronon.
* MoreThanMindControl: Used on Gabriel by the BigBad. [[spoiler:Luckily, although his primary personality is broken, one of his daimones is not.]]
* MrViceGuy: Gabriel is definitely a hero, but he's also supremely arrogant, frequently lustful, and occasionally wrathful.
* MyBelovedSmother: Gabriel's mother Vashti.
* MyselfMyAvatar: The oneirochronon allows people to do this. Since people also have daimones, their actual bodies aren't left vacant; one of the daimones gets left in charge of it.
* {{Nanomachines}}: Nanotech can do anything from curing diseases to performing an EasySexChange to building battleships and cities from base matter to even [[spoiler:creating an entire race of humans]].
* NeglectfulPrecursors: Captain Yuan, the first Aristos, who abandoned the Logarchy on a quest to journey to the center of the galaxy centuries ago. [[spoiler:He turns out to actually be an [[AbusivePrecursors Abusive Precursor]].]]
* NoWomansLand: Clancy is warned not to go flaunting her medical knowledge in Beukhomana, or they'll think she's a witch.
* OmnidisciplinaryScientist: Required for membership in the Aristoi.
* {{Omniglot}}: Thanks to their renos, Gabriel and his crew manage to learn Beukohomanan in a matter of days.
* PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny: The domaine of Virtue's Icon.
* {{Polyamory}}: Rampant. Gabriel, for example, had six parents (although he only shares parts of his DNA with two of them).
* {{Pride}}: All of the Aristoi are prideful as all get-out, and Gabriel is no exception.
* ProperlyParanoid: The Voice (in contrast to Mataglap, who is just regular paranoid).
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: People get to choose what physical age they are "stablilized" at.
* ScamReligion: The Church of the New Thoth, which worships Gabriel as a god. Gabriel knows he's not a god and so does the high priestess (his mother), but, hey, it gives her something to do with her retirement, and he doesn't want to set the precedent of FORBIDDING a religion.. (One of Gabriel's colleagues, Virtue's Icon, also has the rather ''evangelical'' Temple of Virtue.)
* SceneryPorn: Especially on Gabriel's worlds and in the oneirochronon.
* SequelHook: The BigBad has pulled a VillainExitStageLeft and Gabriel has vowed to track him down, the precedents set by Gabriel's private Hyperlogos and warships have sewn the seeds of a civil war among the Aristoi, and the social problems that motivated the villains to do what they did still haven't been solved. Basically, if Williams ever decides to return to this universe, he will not have a dearth of material to work with.
* SexByProxy: At one point, Gabriel has sex with Zhenling in the oneirochronon and Clancy in the real world at the same time. When Clancy figures out what he's doing, she is ''not amused''. [[spoiler:After the reveal that she was evil all along, Zhenling claims that she was doing the same thing herself during all of their trysts.]]
* SherlockScan: Augenblick's specialty.
* ShiningCity: Persepolis.
* SinisterMinister:
** Piscopos Peregrino, the head of Beukohomana's ChurchPolice.
** Virtue's Icon is described as what would happen "if Stalin became Pope."
* SpaceStation: They exist (in fact, one Aristos has a domaine that consists of nothing but these), but they aren't so prevalent thanks to easy terraforming.
* SplitPersonality: The daimones, natch.
* StalkingIsLove: Gabriel's relationships with both Zhenling and Remmy have issues with this.
* StarshipLuxurious: Oh, yeah.
* StopWorshippingMe: Gabriel finds the Church of the New Thoth to be embarrassing.
* SyntheticPlague: Clancy discovers that at least one of the diseases that Logarchy medical science hasn't stamped out yet is actually a mutated form of nanotech.
* {{Terraform}}: Done routinely using nanotech. [[spoiler:Turns out, they can even make ''people'' to populate the planets, too.]]
* TotalitarianUtilitarian: [[spoiler:Captain Yuan]].
* {{Transhuman}}: The Aristoi are practically posthuman, and damn proud of it.
* TraumaCongaLine: Most of the last third of the book is this for Gabriel.
* {{Ubermensch}}: The BigBad. Gabriel has started down this path, as well, by the end of the novel.
* TheUnfettered: Several of Gabriel's daimones are this, most notably Mataglap (an AxCrazy BloodKnight), the Welcome Rain (a [[TheSociopath sociopathic]] ManipulativeBastard), and the Voice (who combines aspects of the two).
* UpliftedAnimal: Various animals are shown to be implanted with renos that give them humanlike (or nearly) intelligence. One of Gabriel's retinue, for example, is a terrier that has training as a nurse (as well as anaesthetic saliva).
* UterineReplicator: Not only possible, but implied to be the norm, as Gabriel has to explain to Marcus that physically carrying a fetus in one's own body has risks.
* WeWillHavePerfectHealthInTheFuture: Not exactly perfect, but pretty damn close. The number of diseases that still exist can be counted on one hand.