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February 4, 2013
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Story Fluff: Naming

Now, science fiction has given us a plethora of names that we can give our characters. In such a setting, we can be expected to give our heroes names that we can be familiar with, or in a lot of cases, we can give them names that are - quite frankly - out of this world. The best example I can give for Human names being in the extreme has to be Star Wars. No other story I have ever read in a while has had such crazy, very sci-fi names in them. Characters called things like Garm, Kadir, Qui-Gon, Evazan, the list can go on. Of course, the out there names coexist alongside 'regular' ones like Luke, Alexander, Jacen (originally meant to be 'Jason'), Kyle, and many more examples.

I can't think of many more franchises that have completely out there names. I suppose Dune could be one of the other ones. Names like Paul, Duncan, Vladamir, and Gurney existed along names like Feyd-Rautha, Thufir, and Glossu. Granted though, this story takes place over  10,000 years from now, and has HEAVY Arabic and Persian influence on the universe at large (the head of state in Dune is referred to as the 'Padishah Emperor', which translates to Shah of Shahs)

Which brings me to the information tidbit that I have come to write this on - names are quite a big thing in my stories. Literally hundreds of characters are likely to pass through my work before I am done this fic series alone, so it stands to reason that hundreds of names are to be attached to them. Despite being a fanfic crossover at its core, it still explores science fiction concepts, names being one of them.

The current year is 3239. Mankind has spread among the stars to regain their former glory after being smacked down in 2552, and recently, a very small, select group of individuals has been exploring alternate universes. In this universe, names we are accustomed to seeing today are very much prevalent in the 33rd Century. Given how details are important to me, there's a reason for this.

First, there's the aspect of connecting to the character. Since most of my characters are Human, this is pretty much tackled down pat. But, let's go a step further: If I were to tell you a name of a character, and you'd have to immediately feel a sense of connection, which would it be? Thoror, or Jacob? Both of these characters are Human, but you would feel more compelled to follow a character who has a bit more reliability to the world that we live in. Relatable characters are potentially good characters.

Secondly, language has been preserved for the most part. I already explained in a journal entry that Standard English (read, Modern English) is a trade language that has been preserved along with other select languages for the sake of having a trade tongue that bridges gaps between other worlds. That is, if you were somehow transported to this year, you could have a conversation with a given character and for the most part would be able to understand what is being spoken. With the preservation of the language means that names and their pronunciations would be kept as such. English, Russian, French, and Chinese are a few examples of trade languages that expanded from Earth to form the foundation of interstellar society where somewhere, one can always be understood. So, this means that common names that come from these cultures will still be around. John, Jim, Hans, Vlad, Boris, Phillipe; you'll find a large portion of names around here.

However, languages do change. Aside from the trade languages, offshoot languages have developed from slang or other means. Yup, even Internet speech has by this time become its own language spoken in techno-circles called 'Techno' Even today, you'll find a trend where some parents name kids with differentiations in the spelling. It's possible today to find someone with the name 'Myke'. Couple this with other languages around, and you have cross-pollination of names. Potentially, it's possible in my universe to find names of Star Wars proportions, but these are few and far between.

Distance also plays a factor into this. Most of my characters are either from Earth, some variation of it, or still live well within its sphere of influences. So the rule for me is the closer you are to Earth, the more normal your name will be. The farther you go, you'll get weirder. But again, there are exceptions to this rule as well. 14,000 lightyears away, it's not uncommon to find a Terry or a Johnny. Common names will always take hold in one way or another. Faster Than Light travel keeps worlds up to date and thus Earth-normal names are brought to colonies in the form of books, movies, games, and other mediums. 14,000 lightyears take a bit more time to get up to, and not everyone can be connected all at once, even with the fastest ships giving latest news. Some worlds can go years without seeing a ship from the Core systems.

So, we've covered Human names... let's move on to the other major players in my stories. The Mobians. Yeah, you read that right. I told you this was a fic series.

Officially, the naming conventions according to the comic is Common Human first name, Species surname. I heavily modified this, along with basic Mobian physiology to better suit my universe. Mobian names are virtually identical to Human names, again, because of language, propagation, influence, and so on. But these Mobians differ from their comic counterparts in that they are descendants of planned colonist specimens that had the misfortune of being transported to another universe and getting caught up in a cosmic storm, but that's a story in itself.

Abridging their rather different history, Mobians either are named or unnamed, which refer to their last names - unnamed ones being called 'John Does' derogatorily. Named persons originally took the name of the Human colonists who cared for them during their rushed evolutionary history. They sometimes reset the trend of the '-son' suffix in their last names If they lived alone, they picked a name that they heard through word of mouth. Sometimes, early-sapient Mobians c.2300 chose names from media sources too that had been aboard the ships the colonists were transported with. Some adopted names like 'Costner', 'Cruise', among many many others. Some have even been clever and made names for themselves where they punned aspects of their animal origins, an example being Daniel Twitch, or Anna Myce.

Stylistically, this is to make them much more Human than their comic counterparts. As I said before, knowing a character's name that you can connect to will make you care more about them as a character. Now, unnamed Mobians will of course have a Species Surname which either reflects laziness, uncaring towards names, or other personal reasons. About 30% of the Mobian population will have a 'the 'X'' surname where one can drop whatever species the individual is descended from.

Apart from these two groups, alien names are also important because it reflects their cultures. An original race I use called the Gallvente use honorific names. An individual is born with a given name and an identifier family name. Not all that different from us. However, when a Gallvente individual completes a task of great importance, they are allowed to choose another name. Like in our culture, names are important, but it turns out that size does matter. The most important individuals have upwards of 11 parts to their names alone. You have to do something pretty damn important to have that many.

Gallvente culture was influenced by us though as WE were their true first contact in 2912. So, naturally they thought highly of us. We treated them fairly and they adopted some of our names to use as their own. Great leaders or people of great influence were carried over. Gallvente with the name Alexander as an army offer's title is a bit rare, but sometimes this can go the other way. While the Gallvente might marvel at the historical figure, they may not have known what the person in question may have *done*. While Gallvente military recruits might revel in an 'exotic' name like Adolf, it becomes quite a conversation starter when they have one with Humans.

Of course, vice versa applies. Though not fashionable in the Core Worlds, Colonies might have kids with Gallvente names that perhaps have meanings of good luck or bravery. Again, cross-pollination!

Most of my aliens have concepts of first and last names, or perhaps clan names or patriarchal/matriarchal titles, but these are only races that can even be comparable to ours. There are indeed races that are so alien that we have no idea if a name is a verbal identifier, a written word, or even a scent. Perhaps names are meaningless altogether to them. I wrote about a strange race of creatures called Star Wraiths that are semi-sapient groups of creatures that are semi-ethereal in nature. They group together to form larger creatures and are clearly intelligent enough to recognize a Human being as another intelligent creature. They can count, they have a concept of space and time, but as far as we can tell, they have no names since they have something of a hive mentality. So, if it ain't Humanoid at best, don't expect it to be as clear.

Well, that was fun to write! This piece isn't official or required to understand my work, and it's not important to be a Codex entry. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and hope it even sparked your interest if you are a first time reader!  
A short article relating to a small but important aspect of my fiction - names.
:iconspeciesunkn0wn:
Speciesunkn0wn Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
Ok, gonna fav this and use it to help with MY stories!
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