The electronic train is now departing for Kadoria, Vintesse, Quirinelle, and other parts of Aristasia...
Lipstick. Champagne. Essentialism. Video games. Cigarette holders. Pencil skirts. Victorian petticoats. Welcome to Aristasia.
Beginning roughly in the late 1960s at Oxford, Aristasia began (as far as anyone around today can tell) with a group of young women disillusioned by the cultural changes of that decade. They saw the cultural upheaval of the 1960s as the end of civilization, and responded by seceding from mainstream society to form a culture, and, ultimately, a country of their own.
The Empire of Aristasia exists on another world (usually called Herthe) where there are no men. Everyone is feminine. Nevertheless, there are two sexes: blondes and brunettes. Brunettes are the stronger, more dominant sex, and hold most of the positions in the military, while blondes are frailer but are regarded with reverence due to their higher morality and spirituality. One Aristasian publication describes brunettes as "twice as feminine" as contemporary earth women, and blondes as "ultra-feminine." Needless to say, blondes and brunettes in Aristasia can reproduce with each other, though the exact method remains undescribed. Most Aristasians are quick to note that, while hair color is a secondary sexual characteristic in Aristasia itself, on "Telluria" (earth), hair color has no bearing, and one's Aristasian sex is determined by personality traits.
Aristasia is divided into several provinces, each corresponding loosely to a period of earth history prior to the cultural "Eclipse" of the 1960s. Vintesse resembles the 1920s, with Aristasian maids dressed as flappers and dancing the Charleston. Quirinelle, conversely, is tied to the 1950s. Kadoria resembles the 1940s (without the war, of course!) and Trent corresponds to the 1930s (but without the worldwide financial crisis). Other provinces correspond to the Victorian era and ancient history. There is even a small island called Infraquirinelle, which resembles the "acceptable aspects" of the early 1960s.
Where does all this come from? A book series? A graphic novel? No — while a few books have been written taking place in Aristasia, the largest part of the Aristasian community is centered around living the life. Aristasians seek to live as though Aristasia existed here and now. They form communities — both virtual and physical — where women take on the roles of either blondes or brunettes from the Aristasian provinces, dress in vintage garments, and act out schools, coffee shops, and movie theaters.
While Aristasian society is wholly female, most Aristasians resist being called lesbians. After all, they are perfectly heterosexual most of the time: Aristasian blondes prefer brunettes, and vice versa. Another aspect of Aristasia often seen in the old media is discipline. Apparently, the Empire of Aristasia employs corporal punishment to keep maids from straying, ranging from light spankings to canings. Of course, this is purely for disciplinary purposes.
Aristasia has changed a lot since its inception. In 2006, the core group of Aristasians started a movement called Operation Bridgehead which posited a real, actual Aristasia and reincarnated Aristasians in human bodies, making them a sort of Otherkin. It also resulted in Aristasians invading Second Life and setting up an Embassy and college there. This movement also tried to distance itself from the discipline aspect of Aristasia, and eventually entirely did away with it. As of 2013, the Bridgehead movement has abandoned the name "Aristasia" entirely, and now calls itself the "Herthelan Protectorate of Chelouranya."
- All Myths Are True: Aristasian history features a lot of things that appear mythical, but which are implied to have literally happened. For example, legend has it that Sai Rayanna, the daughter of the sun, drove the demons away from Aristasia and founded the empire in the process. Aristasian works portray this as having really happened, and we even see some of the demons at certain points.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like: After slipping through the aethyr-crease, the Silver Vixen almost immediately finds itself near an earth-like world.
- Alternative Calendar: Aristasia has its own calendar that differs radically from the one commonly used on earth.
- Amazon Brigade: The Royal Novarian Aethyr-Command.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Aristasians lay eggs, apparently. Or do they? It's not entirely clear, and is left deliberately ambiguous.
- Bizarre Alien Sexes: Chelani and Melini, colloquially known as blondes and brunettes.
- Boldly Coming: In "Flight of the Silver Vixen," a mascul ambassador seems to have seduced a political leader on an Aristasia-like world.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: The Royal Novarian Aethyr-Command pulls this off, and it's never really explained how, beyond the fact that crystals charged with solar energy are used.
- Cool Starship: The Silver Vixen is quite "zippy," as they say, being a highly experimental craft meant to maneuver quickly and travel at high speeds.
- Days of Future Past: Aristasian provinces resemble time periods from the early twentieth century and before.
- Demon Slaying: The mythology of the Aristasian empire centers around demonic invasions of the Motherland in ancient times, which were defeated by Sai Rayanna, a sort of demigoddess. Still, even into contemporary Aristasia, some provinces, particularly those in the north, deal with demonic activity. A common saying: "The demon ever waits."
- Discount Lesbians: If you come across an Aristasian couple, you'd think they were homosexual, when in fact, provided one is blonde and the other brunette, they're heterosexual.
- End of an Age: How Aristasians view the Eclipse of the 1960s.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: The nation of Novaria featured in something like this. Initially, Novaria paid homage to 1940s and 1950s science fiction, with vaguely futuristic elements. Still, what this meant was never really fleshed-out, and, in fact, up until the early 2000s there was no Aristasian consensus on what Novarians even wore. Over time, though, as interest in video games and high technology began to permeate the core group of Aristasians, Novaria began to get more notice, culminating in Bridgehead, which some describe as Novaria essentially taking over the whole empire.
- Fantastic Drug: In "Flight of the Silver Vixen," girls use a meth-like drug called ophrasti, which invites demonic possession and aggression.
- Gender Rarity Value: Averted completely. Men are not seen as useful or worth interacting with in Aristasia - the myths about them describe them as very dangerous and to be avoided. In the later works where they are encountered, they are mostly grudgingly tolerated.
- Human Aliens: Aside from the reproduction issue, the fact that blondes are incredibly weak physically (and brunettes impossibly strong), Aristasians can easily pass for human within the setting.
- Lady Land: The point of the whole subculture. Men (commonly referred to as "masculs" and using the pronoun "it") do not exist, except as legend. There's no indication that men are cherished or prized in Aristasia, either - quite the contrary. They are feared. Later works, however, outright state that Aristasians do encounter men through space travel and may even have diplomatic relations with them, however.
- Matriarchy: Given that all Aristasians are feminine, yes, Aristasia is a matriarchy. Assuming, of course, that something can be called a matriarchy when no men exist. In terms of government, most Aristasian works portray brunettes as the dominant sex, making decisions and codifying laws. This is by no means universal, though, and, in the Aristasian canon, many queens are blonde. How much power they hold is up for debate, however.
- One-Gender Race: Aristasians are all-female. Got that? They will belabor this point forever. Both blondes and brunettes look like human women, and possess what, in their essentialist terms, is a feminine essence. Still, a gender-like division exists between them — see the part about blondes and brunettes above.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: In "The Flight of the Silver Vixen," the motorcycle gang flies the stolen Novarian spaceship through and "aethyr-crease," which leads to a different part of the galaxy.
- Planet of Hats: Averted when it comes to the Empire of Aristasia as a whole, but mostly played straight when it comes to each province or nation within it. For most of these countries, the defining characteristic is their resemblance to a decade or era of Earth history. Later works expand on this, though, and give them a more balanced appearance, with things such as climate and religion being discussed.
- The Time of Myths: In the ancient Aristasian past, magic (phenagulism, they call it) was possible, and there were demonic invasions.
- Wagon Train to the Stars: A late Aristasian novel features some Aristasian teenagers stealing a spaceship and visiting another world after flying through an "aethyr-crease."
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: More like "What Measure is a Non-Aristasian," really. In almost all Aristasian fiction, it's made pretty clear that Aristasians, at least in combat situations, have no compunctions about killing "outlanders," particularly masculs.
- Values Dissonance: More or less in-universe: much is made of how Earth ("Tellurian") people wouldn't or couldn't understand Aristasian values. Things like a rigid caste system with hints of slavery would put most people off, as would the spanking and vehemently anti-male sentiment. This is usually explained as being due to the "Ecliplse" that destroyed "Tellurian" civilization.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: So many things taken for granted in modern society are taboo in Aristasia. Among them: tights, pants (especially jeans), and t-shirts. A very early Aristasian story portrays tights as the worst of the worst, comparable to wearing murder. And, the girl wearing them is punished for it indeed.