It seems Inventing names for Sci-Fi characters is not up to high standards as requested by Neil Fein.

I am bothered of how to invent names for fictional characters in a future-setted Sci-Fi so thay not be connected to any existing culture.

I considered the following options:

  • Invent some random names. This has disadvantage in that such names are often difficult to pronounce and sound unpleasant and unlikely to be used by people.
  • Use names from some obscure languages. This anyway makes a connection to Earth's history and difficult to explain given that those cultures had already vanished now not to say in the future.
  • Use names from some Classical languages such as Latin, Greek, Proto-Indo-European or similarly-sounding ones. This does not make sense if we are speaking about non-human cultures. Take for example "Stroggos" and "Makron". Lol how on Earth this alien leader could get the Greek ending -on?

I want to know what are the other options and techniques1 employed by other authors.

Neil asserts the question fails to meet criteria for a Great Subjective Question and neither does it emphasize technique as opposed to polling the community.

First, I agree this question could be phrased better. It is somewhat too laconic and doesn't make very good points. Still, I believe it is a question that may elicit some very good answers.

  • Great subjective questions inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”.

    • It gives three examples together with opinion why they are poor examples. You'd better support your example with explanation about its upsides and downsides, or you risk just adding to the "poor pool".
  • Great subjective questions tend to have long, not short, answers.

    • It's already got three fairly long and detailed answers. Whether that was the author's intention or not, the effect is there.
  • Great subjective questions have a constructive, fair, and impartial tone.

    • It isn't very good at that - it gives negative examples rather than positive. But then we don't need a list of "300 bad techniques". One or two GOOD techniques will do, and to pick out the good ones we need to know which are bad ones. And the negative points made are fairly good. Of course arguable, but what isn't? I would not hold this against this question.
  • Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions.

    • It does ask about techniques, this is the very gist of the question as a counter-point against Neil's assertion that it does not emphasize it enough. It asks more for experiences than for opinions, which in Neil's opinion is polling the community. In my opinion is asking for concrete, workable, tested solutions instead of making things up on the spot.
  • Great subjective questions insist that opinion be backed up with facts and references.

    • All right. It doesn't ask. The answers don't really provide. But this is not a question on subject on which you'll find scientific elaborations. Character names is something authors use, not study. And the more outlandish examples will be definitely far off the beaten paths of fact and reference proving they are "good".
  • Great subjective questions are more than just mindless social fun.

    • I always struggle with these names. I'd definitely learn a thing or two from the answers. I can't even comprehend how Neil can assert this point has not been met. Unless, that is, we marginalize all of creative writing into mindless social fun.

In the end, I'd like to note this beta is one of my favorites, if not the favorite, but it seems like it may not make it, due to small number of questions. Closing very arguably sub-par questions is the last thing this site needs. If a question (one of 1.8 a day average, so no arguing about "lack of time" please) is poor because it lacks in quality, not because of flawed subject matter, then editing it to make it better would be the right course. And of course posting good questions yourself more frequently than bi-yearly...

I'd edit this question myself, but as outlined above I don't really see how it is a bad question. Maybe our moderator could suggest edits that would make it better?

ps. if you ask a question at one board, and get advice that it belongs to a different one better, it is entirely understandable to repost it verbatim at the target board. Then, if mods of the first board migrate the question to the other one, creating an exact duplicate there in the process, it is entirely unfair to hold this against the author of the question.


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .