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The "Belle Epoque" refers to a period in the future history of the overall Revelation Space universe. The era was considered the pinnacle of economic, social, cultural, technological and scientific development of the Demarchist colony on the planet Yellowstone, as well as its vicinity (particularly the Glitter Band of orbital habitats).

The Belle Epoque of Yellowstone and Yellowstone Demarchists was cut short by the outbreak of the mysterious Melding Plague, a nanotechnological disease that severely damaged and affected a myriad of advanced technologies in Yellowstone's settlements, such as the famous metropolis of Chasm City on the planet's surface, or the vast majority of orbital habitats, turning the Glitter Band into the Rust Belt.

The outbreak of the Melding Plague in 2510 and its devastating technological and social aftermath form the endpoint of Belle Epoque and the beginning of the post-Melding Plague era of the human-settled Epsilon Eridani system.

Timeline of events[]

Pre-Belle Epoque

  • 2110 – 2140: period of turmoil; solar system convulsed by more wars. Emergence of Demarchist states in 2141 signals new era of peace and prosperity. Solar luminosity begins to drop, heralding a new ice age on Earth.
  • (...)
  • 2155 – first Demarchist settlements around Jupiter. Great freeze sets in on Earth.
  • (...)
  • 2182 – first phase of GWOM completed. Demarchists distance themselves from the more radical factions.
  • (...)
  • 2191 – ceasefire in Conjoiner-Coalition war brokered by Sandra Voi.
  • (...)

Belle Epoque

  • 2205 – 2250; period of great expansion; numerous interstellar colonies established; recontact with surviving settlements from Amerikano era.
  • (...)
  • 2340Denizen uprising; fall of the Europan cities.
  • 2338Bernsdottir discovers first Shroud.
  • 2358Shiva-Parvati cordon crisis.
  • 2372the Eighty.
  • 2373Philip Lascaille’s encounter with the Shroud in the Trans Tau Ceti sector.
  • 2378 – Hostage crisis around Fand.
  • 2415 – Departure of Galiana and Clavain’s expedition into deep space.
  • 2441 – Return of Sylveste’s expedition to Lascaille’s Shroud.
  • 2460 – Dan Sylveste vanishes from Yellowstone for 30 days.
  • 2491 – departure of Resurgam expedition.

Notable figures of the period[]

  • Voi family - descendants of Demarchist co-founder and early leader Sandra Voi, specifically those who settled on Yellowstone
  • Lorean Sylveste - the father and grandfather of later famed scientists, Calvin Sylveste and Dan Sylveste, respectively
  • Jane Aumonier - Supreme Prefect of the Panoply, during a certain timespan around the middle of the Belle Epoque (ca 2427 and earlier)
  • Tom Dreyfus - a notable prefect, serving for many years under Supreme Prefect Aumonier
  • Roland Childe - interactive maze and puzzle designer, amateur archaeologist and collector
  • Dr. Trintignant - infamous for research into the cyberniticisation of the human body

Stories set in this era[]

In turn, the novels of the Inhibitor trilogy, the standalone novel Chasm City and many of the later-set short stories cover the post-Belle Epoque, post-Plague era of Yellowstone and Chasm City.

Historical allusion[]

The Belle Epoque is an apparent Demarchist revival of an existing term from Earth history, (La) Belle Époque. This moniker is frequently used to describe the period in the history of France, between 1871 (the end of the Franco-Prussian War) and 1914 (the outbreak of the First World War), when the French Third Republic experienced an almost unprecedented period of peace, economic prosperity and expansion, and a flourishing of the arts and public life. The mostly Francophone-descended Demarchist leadership intended the revived use of the term as a generally flattering comparison of Yellowstone's period of prosperity to a period of prosperity from older Earth history.


See also[]

  • Canasian - A language of the Revelation Space universe, typical for the upper classes of the Yellowstone Demarchy. It traces its roots primarily to Quebecois French and Cantonese. The name seems to be a play on the terms "Canadian" and "Asian".
  • Timeline - General official overview of the future history of the Revelation Space universe, provided by Alastair Reynolds on his official website.