Glossary of Aristasian Terms

An Explanation of some of the more unfamiliar words and expressions you may encounter in Aristasia.

AMAZONIA:Eastern province of Aristasiacorresponding to the ancient matriarchal civilisations. Amazonia is ruled celestially by Sai Raya, the angel of the Sun. Amazonia is by far the largest of the provinces and has no single ruler, whole Empires existing in areas of Amazonia.

ARCADIA: Eastern province of Aristasia corresponding (primarily) to the Victorian and Edwardian Eras. Arcadia is ruled by the brunette angel Rhavė (pron. Rah-vay and corresponding to your planet Saturn).

ARISTASIAN MONEY: Comes in three denominations, Pounds, Shillings and Pence. There are twenty shillings to a pound and twelve pennies to a shilling. The abbreviation for a penny is d (for denaria) so sixpence is usually written 6d and the stress falls on "six" not on "pence" as it would in Pit-england. Where there are shillings and pence they are separated by an oblique stroke, so 6/6d means six shillings and sixpence (often said simply "six-and-six"). Six shillings would be written 6/- or 6s.

The divisions of a penny are 1/2d (a halfpenny, pronounced "hayp,ny" and 1/4d, a farthing (originally fourthing).

The official exchange rate is about one shilling to one Pit-pound or one and a half Pit-dollars, but in fact the actual purchasing power of the Aristasian shilling is rather higher than that would suggest. For example, a cinema seat ranges between 5d and 9d - the Pit equivalents would be under half a pound and three-quarters of a pound (note that bongo "pence" are never under any circumstances mentioned by a tasteful Aristasian).

ART NEO: Broadly this term may be translated as Art Deco, butonly those parts of Art Deco that are theatrical, feminine and sound.The bleak-and-barren blockish styles that are sometimes included in Art Decoare not Art Neo. Art Neo is considered primarily the art of Novariawhich has spread to other provinces. The philosophical reasons for this, andfor the use of the term are too complex to enter into here.

ATOMISATION: The divide-and-rule tendency of the Pit, which seeks to isolate each individual by the clever use of the doctrine of "personal independence". By undermining and uprooting all natural loyalties, whether to family, religion, nation, custom or tradition, each individual is cut off from all sources of support and sustenance outside the cathode-defined "reality" of the Pit. The doctrine of selfishness is preached, playing on the natural selfishness of each individual (which normal societies encourage her to curb), to the point at which trust between husbands and wives and even mothers and children may break down, each individual primarily "out for herself", and therefore, by the same token, an isolated, atomised unit completely dependent on the Pit because having no other sure haven to turn to.

We may note in passing thet the so-called "sexual revolution" was an important stage in the creation of an atomised society. In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Anti-Sex League tried to suppress sex because "loyalty to an individual is disloyalty to the State", in the Pit, loyalty is much more subtly broken down by the Cult of Selfishness, while the mystic bonds of eroticism are destroyed not by trying to ban then (which would only lend them greater allure) but by the opposite process of banalising sex and desensitising the erotic sensibility by a grotesque and trivialising over-exposure.

Atomisation necessarily goes hand in hand with deracination.

BONGO: 1 noun a dweller in the Pit: particularly onedeeply affected by the ethos of the Pit. 2 adjective having thequalities of the Pit.

COLONY: An Aristasian household (or 'settlement of Aristasians') whichnormally contains more than one person and fulfils public functions within theDistrict (q.v.)--such as that of a cinema, a library, a restaurant, anight-club, a school etc. The colony is the fundamental building-block of theEmpire.

DECADES OF DARKNESS: The decades following the Eclipse areconsidered too offensive to name in Aristasian company. Under certaincircumstances the First Decade of darkness may be referred to as the 1960s(because the earlier part of the 1960s, in certain aspects, comprises theAristasian sub-province of Infraquirinelle) the following decades are only everrefered to as the Second, Third and Fourth Decades of Darkness (or one mightjust say "the Third Decade" for short). Where a specific year must be referredto, the form is e.g. 2D3 meaning the third year of the Second Decade ofDarkness.

DEFORMISM: The moral and aesthetic inversion of the Pit, expressed perfectly in the following passage:

The things sane societies loved, it hated. The things sane societies hated, it loved; the things sane societies tried to do, it tried to avoid; the things sane societies tried to avoid, it did with relish. It pursued chaos and hated order, it worshipped ugliness and loathed beauty. If sane people wished to dress as neatly and well as they could, these people were persuaded to dress as hideously and grotesquely as possible; if sane people wanted music to be melodious, these people (whether we are speaking of their "popular" or their "serious" music) were cozened into believing they liked raucous and tuneless noise. If women had been feminine, if home life had been secure, if children had been innocent, if men had been gallant, if art had been beautiful, if love had been romantic, then all these things must be stood on their heads. Of course, life was not always like that. Of course things had often fallen short of their ideals, or even of their minimal norms; but at least most people tried to do things properly and at least the surrounding civilisation encouraged them to try. Never before had the deliberate aim been an inverted parody of all that should be. Everywhere, in every area of life, a single principle reigned: inversion; the worship of chaos; the creed of the madhouse.

Another aspect of deformism is the continual urge to pollute and parody anything real and to destroy any racinated image by adulterating it with deracinated elements - like the girl who says "I like wearing 1950s dresses too, but I like to wear heavy boots with them", always imagining she has thought of this clever idea by herself, and is expressing her startling originality, rather than merely acting in abject conformity to the "suggestions" of her electronic masters.

DERACINATION: The process of cutting off an individual and a society from all natural roots; of creating a rootless, atomised type of humanity which, by its divorce from, and induced forgetfulness of, all normal standards and values, lacks dignity and self-respect; though it will often tend to be more aggressive and self-assertive as a compensation. It has been said that a deracinated person has self-satisfaction without self-respect. Any person, for example, who would consent to wear clothes printed with coarse jokes or advertising commercial products is clearly deracinated. The artefacts of modern design, from cars to music, convey, with the clarity of a language, the slick impoverishment of the deracinated consciousness.

A deracinated society, because of its lack of rootedness in any enduring values, is completely at the mercy of the moneyed interests and their mass-media who claim the right to define reality. In the past, the social concept of reality has emerged from out of the history of a community and its agreed values. In the Pit reality is freely defined and re-defined by those who have the power to do so - i.e. those who have financial control over the mass media.

The much-vaunted "freedom" of the deracinated individual consists solely in accepting the various "alternatives" permitted by the definers of reality, and (in rare cases) of producing new ones within the permitted tone and range, and always, of course, with the same deracinated consciousness.

The deracinated person is the perfect proletarian. The ideal subject of a system that claims the total and arbitrary control of the definition of reality. Her very "rebelliousness" (carefully encouraged by the system) is a part of her abject submission, being used always to cut her off further from her vestigial roots and from any human ties that might threaten to outweigh the centralised process of reality-definition. Thus deracination nearly always goes hand in hand with atomisation and deformism.

DISTRICT: Administrative area consisting of colonies (q.v.) andhouseholds, controlled by the District Governess. Usually a group ofAristasians in regular social contact will form a District. Children of theVoid is a story of the daily life of the semi-fictional District ofMaryhill.

EAST AND WEST: Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the West, so the East corresponds to dawn and the West to Sunset. In Aristasia the most Easterly provinces correspond to earlier times in Telluria, and the Western ones to later times. So also Eastern trent would correspond to the early 1930s and Western Quirinelle to the late 1950s.

ECLIPSE, THE: The cultural and spiritual collapse of the early 1960s.Civilisation proper ended at this time and the Void (or the Pit) took itsplace. The process, obviously, was not instantaneous, and some elements ofcivilised life remained throughout the First Decade of Darkness and even intothe Second, among the population at large, as opposed to the mass-media. Somehold that a second Eclipse took place at about the turn of the Second and ThirdDecades, after which deformism and moral inversion were complete and spreadrapidly to every level of the populace, leaving very little intact.

ENGLAND, LONDON, NEW YORK ETC. It goes without saying that when anAristasian mentions these places, or any others, she is referring to them asthey are in the real world, not to their Pit-parodies. These are termedPit-england, Pit-london etc.

FLEEM: Abbreviation of flea-market; usually a euphemismfor "car boot sale" (a term not used in Aristasia). Sometimes used as a verb:"They've been fleeming this afternoon." Fleems are a cheap source of up-to-date articles.

FREE WORLD, THE: Anywehere that is not under the tyranny of the Pit, whether Aristasia or the historical Real World. See Real World for a fuller definition

HER: Aristasians tend to use 'her' and 'she' for unspecified persons inthe same way that pre-Eclipse speakers and writers use 'him' and 'he'--e.g."Any one breaking the rules will have her licence revoked". In Aristasiancontexts, of course, all unspecified persons must be female, but even whenspeaking of real-world history or literature, this form will be used.When speaking of bongos one often uses 'him' and 'he' since theArchetypal bongo is masculine just as the Archetypal human being is (from theAristasian perspective) feminine; and also because no true bongo of either sexis actually feminine (though some of them are female). Sometimes when apatriarchal real-world context seems to require it the 'he' form is used. Whatis not used in any case is the awkward and ultra-bongo 'he or she' ('any onebreaking the rules will have his or her licence revoked'), or the semi-literate'they' ('any one breaking the rules will have their licence revoked').

INFRA: Abbreviation of Infraquirinelle (q.v.), but sometimes used morepejoratively: "Is this [film, song, car etc] all right?"--"Well, just about,but it's a bit Infra."

INFRAQUIRINELLE: Infraquirinelle is depicted as a small island off Quirinelle. It consists of those elements of the First Decade of Darkness that are considered acceptable: that is, most things up to and including 1963, and elements of ladies fashion until rather later, so smart, short-skirted styles, and frosted pink lipstick are accepted, and real Infra dresses make a part of many Aristasian wardrobes. It would be just acceptable in some circles to wear such a dress with long boots. Beyond the pale would be: Pop Art fashions, popular music beyond the very early '60s, anything that smacked of the "hippie" od "Carnaby Street" or "Beatles" ethos, tights (panty hose) etc.

The philosophy is that certain elements of the First Decade represent the legitimate cultural direction that would have been taken had the eclipse not occurred. As culture moves in cycles, so there was a neo-Vintessian development in the First Decade (short skirts, straight figures, the cult of Flaming Youth) which was warped and poisoned by the dark distorting cloud that fell over civilisation at that time. The healthy elements, drawn out of the morass and reinstated are what constitute the sub-Province (or Quirinelle Protectorate) of Infraquirinelle.

The First Decade was a time of intense battle between the forces of degeneration and the forces of preservation. The latter lost completely, of course. They were routed and put to the sword. Their cities were razed to the ground and salt sown in the foundations. But it should not be forgotten that they did exist and put up a brief, but sometimes heroic, resistance.

IRON CURTAIN, THE the barrier separating ourselves from the rest of theReal World. Essentially the Iron Curtain is the Pit itself seen in its aspectas a barrier, cutting us off from normal civilisation. So, if one sees anadvertisement for photographs of film stars in a Trentish Picturegoermagazine, one might say. Look at these lovely pictures they are selling inEngland (q.v.). I wonder if we could get any through the Iron Curtain. In theAristasian world-outlook, Real-World Trent is contemporary, andseparated from us not by time but by the Pit and the War therewith. The ravagesof time are translated into the ravages of that War. A friend recently receiveda delightful clockwork doll from Quirinelle, Romantia, and, noting how even thebox was in almost-new condition, said "Look how beautifully she has comethrough the Iron Curtain."

KADORIA: Province of Aristasia corresponding to the 1940s. Kadoria is ruled by the brunette Queen Francesca. Its tutelary Angel is Vikhe (brunette, corresponding to your planet Mars).

MAID: May mean a maidservant, but is also used as the generic term forblondes and brunettes, or even for human beings in general (cf the pre-Eclipsereal-world use of 'man' and see her). So: "Let every maid rally tothe defence of the Empire", "Maid is not an evolved animal but a fallen angel""Maid is the only creature on Earth that uses language." The two uses of theword are not ambiguous or even really separate. One refers to "My maid Mary" inexactly the way that Wooster refers to "My man Jeeves." A maid in this sense isdistinguished by the fact that she is only a maid, rather than a lady(though she may be a 'lady's lady').

MAIDEN: Sometimes used for an individual maid without anyparticular implication that she is young or unmarried--as in: "Let every maidenread for herself what I have written". This is regarded as a dignified or OldAristasian usage.

NOVARIA: Province of Aristasia corresponding to a projected future whichhas recovered from the Eclipse and returned to sanity. The 'futuristic'tendencies of Aristasia tend to cluster about this Province and Vintesse. Nonetheless, Novaria is, in some respects, the most traditional of the Western Provinces, having been settles by Eastern Amazonians. Novaria is ruled by the young brunette Queen Viktoria. Its tutelary angel is Mati (corresponding to your planet Mercury).

ORDINATOR: The Aristasian word for "computer".PETTE: A girl. Originally short for 'chapette', although this shade ofmeaning is probably less present in its usage than the pun on 'pet'. Itsnuance, at once jaunty and ultra-feminine, is unique and purelyAristasian. A 'pette', like a '20s 'flapper' or a '60s 'dolly bird' is aphenomenon specific to her time and place. The word also, with its overtones ofownership and obedience, stresses the ethos of ferocious group-independence andequally ferocious revolt against the fase divide-and-rule Pit-cult of'personal independence'.

PIT: The world of the late 20th century: the psychotic pseudo-reality created by the Eclipse. SeeVOID for a fuller definition of this term.

PROVINTAL: Pertaining to a Province. To say that the Quirinelle PatheNews is "very provintal" means that it encapsulates the spirit and essence ofthe Province. "You look very provintal", means that one looks very realand very much of the Provinces. This can be used even when no particularProvince is meant.

QUIRINELLE: Province of Aristasia corresponding to the 1950s. While interms of earthly chronology the 1950s are the latest historical period coveredby a province, in Aristasia Quirinelle is considered somewhat old-fashioned ascompared to Trent or Vintesse. Quirinelle is ruled by the blonde Queen Elspeth; the tutelary Angel of the province is Sucri (corresponding to your planet and deity Venus).

QUIRRIE: Short for Quirinelle, but only in its adjectival sense. Onetalks of Quirrie music or Quirrie respectability, but to say "I live inQuirrie" would be unidiomatic.

RACINATION/RACINATED: Racination is the reverse of deracination. It is the process (or rather processes) by which we can undo the damage which the Pit has done to us, regain our stolen innocence and revive our trampled joy and wonder.

Just as the deracinated objects of bongo design, from cars to music, help to create a deracinated consciousness, so the artefacts of the real world are both racinated and racinating. Thus, when we surround ourselves with real things, watch real films, listen to real music, regularly read up-to-date magazines, dress in real clothes, make our homes as real as possible, we work a subtle magic on our souls that racinates us and makes us whole.

REAL: Authentic, not mutated by the Pit. So real cars and real films arewhat bongos would call old cars and films. To call them 'old' inAristasia would be a great gaffe. They are contemporary, while the Pitequivalents should be referred to in the past tense, as something which, forus at least, is dead and done with. One would also say of people inup-to-date films: "they look so real". As one comes to understandthe complete inauthenticity of the Pit and all its manifestations, thisexpression takes on deeper and more piquant meaning.

REAL WORLD, THE: Essentially this expression encompasses everythingoutside the Pit--not only Aristasia, but the world before the Eclipse.It could also include any group of people who, for whatever reason, remainedoutside the Pit (the Pennsylvania Amish, for example). Of older people whostill retained all the attitudes and valiues of their youth, did not watchtelevision and were scarcely aware of the condition of the late 20th century,one might say: "They are still living in the real world." Or one might say "Noone in the real world would even think such things", meaning that only in thePit were such assumptions possible. Generally the Real World means the worldbefore the Eclipse, so the Real World is where we find England, London,New York etc., as opposed to Pit-england, Pit-london, Pit-new york.

Silly Monkey(s): S/M.

TELLURIA: The earth: the world where men exist. Telluria is not the same as the Pit, as there is also real-world Telluria. The Aristasia formed among girls on earth (as opposed to the ideal, absolute Aristasia where men have never existed) is called Aristasia-in-Telluria (but usually we just say "Aristasia" for both unless the distinction specially needs to be drawn).TRENT OR TRINTITIA: Province of Aristasia corresponding to the 1930s.Trent is the largest of the five Western Provinces and is looked upon as acentre of fashion and sophistication, especially by the more 'home-like'Quirinelle. Queen Mary is the ruler of Trintitia and Thamė (pron. Tah-may and corresponding to your planet Jupiter) is the tutelary Angel of the province.

UP-TO-DATE: From the Western provinces, but especially from Trent,Vintesse and Novaria. So we speak of up-to-date cars, songs or films (a bongo would make the gaffe of calling them "old"). Arcadianones would be 'old-fashioned' bongo ones 'outdated' or 'obsolete'. Things fromQuirinelle can be up-to-date, but never quite ultra-modern or up-to-the-minuteas things from Vintesse might be.

VINTESSE: Province of Aristasia corresponding to the 1920s. Althoughchronologically the 1920s are the earliest of the decades represented by theWestern Provinces, Vintesse is actually considered the second most modern of them andis closely allied with futuristic Novaria. Vintesse is noted for its jinky music and its "Pippsies" (bright young things). Vintesse is ruled by the moon and protected by the Angel Candre.

VOID, THE: The Pit is also called the Void, but the two terms arenot interchangeable. 'Pit' refers to the deracinated contents of thepost-Eclipse world, while 'Void' refers to its utter emptiness of anything ofvalue or interest--just as the sea is void of fresh water or the desert void ofeverything but sand. The Void is the Pit as seen from within Aristasia--simplya yawning nothingness, defined not by what it is, but by what it is not. It isin this sense that Aristasians are Children of the Void. Bongos areChildren of the Pit because they are shaped by the specific contents of thePit, by its distortions and neuroses--by its attempts to escape its ownugliness through 'alternative' uglinesses, or its attempts to find rest inconformity to the 'standard' ugliness, or any of the thousand mix-and-matchpermutations of Pit-poisoning. Aristasians are Children of the Void becausethey are shaped not by the specific contents of the Pit, but by the experienceof living surrounded by a wholly rejected nothingness and having to re-createthe psychic world in order to have a world in which to exist at all.