Humanity is fantastically diverse. All the hundreds of colony
worlds have their own styles and attitudes - no two worlds are really
all that alike. However, the major interstellar polities have their
own overall cultural features - especially among the interstellar
diplomats, governors, and military leaders (who tend to work on
These notes are a guide to that overall cultural tenor. Not
everyone in the polity concerned will look or behave in the way
described - but the stereotypes are a useful shorthand in developing
distinctive characters within these worlds.
As the oldest political entity, evolved from the old Solar Republic,
Earthers have a strong sense of tradition.
In the case of the political and diplomatic personnel, their clothing
tends to be formal, perhaps vaguely reminiscent of the 19th Century
British Empire. They tend to be a bit arrogant towards everyone
- but based on a natural (and unconscious for the most part) sense
Young, vibrant, thrusting. The Greater Federation of Asteel (GFA)
is a highly colourful and rich society. Most Esteelers might be
characterised by 1950's American tourists (bright colours, loud
Their politicals tend to be more formal than the general
population, but still not as much 'stuffed shirts' as the Earthers.
Esteeler additional comment (John Rutherford): Esteeler
women are notable for a profound love of unsubtle jewellery and
showy dresses. Both men and women have a weakness for jazzy accessories;
mirror sunglasses, silver hats and hologramed bags are often in
Portable electronic toys and gadgets; minicams, phones, hifis,
are seen as essential. Their children are also very expensively
dressed. Advertising logos and the names of sports teams, tri-vid
stars and musicians often appear on their clothes. Esteelers are
generally aware that they are regarded as 'tasteless' or 'vulgar'
by other peoples and have a slight inferiority complex which makes
them eager mimics of other, supposedly 'cooler' styles.
But they usually get it sadly wrong.
Esteeler politicians will often affect a 'tough' image, appearing
in space armour or military uniform; but always with a touch of
Typical is Governor Elgon of Quadrant Seven, who frequently dresses
in a bright orange asteroid miner's suit decorated with GFAN military
flashes and the corporate logos of his pharmaceutical company.
A solid frontier type. Martians value freedom and self determination.
They have a 'take me as you find me or feck off' attitude. Not
given to display or bright colours, they dress in an almost determinedly
casual way (think of Australians).
They have a strong martial tradition, but not keen on bullshit
- it's a 'get the job done with minimum fuss' sort of attitude.
This is reflected in their military uniforms which are practical
Cast as the 'bad guys' in the Universe, they are not all that
bad. They do have a fairly highly centralised and authoritarian
government, and unusually harsh military discipline. In general
they go for plain cloths, with a slightly militaristic / uniform
style. In fact uniforms are very much in vogue - even Venerian street
sweepers have particularly smart jackboots and long leather-look
military style coats!
Their military tend to go for closely shaven heads and very plain
uniforms (grey or black usually).
Any similarities with Soviet military uniforms is entirely accidental.
Venerian additional comment (Graham Attfield): One-piece
jumpsuits seems fine for general day wear, Black for the Space Navy,
Dark Blue for the PAC pilots, Grey for the Marines and Green for
the Ground Forces (Ground Forces use a variety of camouflage for
field operations). For formal wear, follow similar colours and something
sort of mixed between 1940's German and 1960's Russian in style.
(basically Russian below the waist, Russian style trousers, skirts
for the females, with knee high boots, German style coats with braiding
on the collar and cuffs and Russian style shoulder boards, then
a variety of hats from either country)
Venerian addiitonal comment 2 (Stephen Brown): the Venerians
have an egalitarian culture - ie. "if you do what you're told and
work hard you WILL rise to the level you deserve", that is no discrimination
on race, gender etc. - ok the regime is authoritarian, the justice
is (very) harsh, but its FAIR - and officials really do get appointed
on their abilities - no benefits of birth (like the Earthers), no
using attitude/flash dress sense to impress people (Esteelers),
no endless democratic debates (Martians), just a fair, efficient
(oops getting German again), dare I use the 'S' word in the 21st
century ?, oh why not, Socialist regime - ie, BIG government, BIG
ideals, under efficient market, too many forms to fill in, but a
system which strives to look after its people as fairly as it can
(which includes keeping the unruly ones in line of course....).
So to sum up my idea of the Venerian Republic in 3 words: "Harsh
See extra note on Venerian
Additional material (Jurrien deJong):
The Sirian Socialist Republic is the real existing socialism
in space. Red tape in the bureaucracy is legendary and Sirians always
insist on proper procedures. Most Sirians have a strong sense of
egalitarianism and duty. The appearance of its inhabitants represents
the variety of all the human peoples confined by the limited options
of a planned economy. Mao suits and Eastern European 1960's style
are combined with traditional African and Asian design. A particular
feature of Sirian society is its ample use of robots to easy the
working and living of its population.
All polities military have jumpsuit type uniforms which are
practical on board ship (to be worn under spacesuits or space armour).
They also have dress uniforms, worn on official occasions like diplomatic
dinners, guards of honour, that sort of thing.
These will vary, obviously, with national style. For example,
the Martians don't have dress uniforms at all - they just put on
a clean jumpsuit!