Shannon Stacey

Little green men redux

So a while back, we established aliens are good, so now here’s part two of the question…

How the hell do you name them all?

I know there are some generators around the ‘net—some helpful, some silly—but how do you know if it’s been used or not? How do you not sink into the realm of the ridiculous? Star Trek alone probably used up a billion alien species names.

Tips? Please?

4 comments to “Little green men redux”

  1. Charlene
      · March 10th, 2007 at 1:24 pm · Link

    Huh. You know, I’d have to go back and re-read but I think I side-stepped that whole issue in I Was An Alien’s Love Slave. It didn’t come up in the story, I guess. I just described the most commonly reported types of aliens from alien abduction stories.

    But you can use known planet or star names for race names, and I think PBW had some good links for naming that sort of thing.

  2. Meljean
      · March 10th, 2007 at 6:03 pm · Link

    I think the most important thing is that they’re pronounceable. Any local population is going to bastardize the pronunciation to fit their language, so anything totally incomprehensible is going to stand out oddly, I think.

    I like the idea of using star systems — although that depends on whether it’s the name the aliens call themselves or what the local population assigns them (and might also be a good indication of where in the alien food chain the local population is.)

    One option might also be taking one characteristic (do they have gills, that kind of thing) and looking at the scientific name for that, and applying it in some way. So that it’s familiar because it’s based on a Latin root, but not too familiar.

  3. Shannon
      · March 10th, 2007 at 8:04 pm · Link

    Oooh, awesome!

    I suppose it’s like being an American and referring to foreign countries. Spain is not Spain in Spain (where the rain stays mainly on the plains?). So the earthlings would refer to them by whatever the earthlings dubbed their planet. Excellent!

    And that’s an excellent suggestion about the scientific names. I hadn’t thought of that. For a story that didn’t pan out I had used Celtic words meaning a word I associated with the character/item, but I hadn’t thought of the scientific names for the characteristics the aliens have.

    Thanks guys! :kiss:

  4. Sharon
      · March 11th, 2007 at 12:51 am · Link

    I’ve always wondered why all aliens have an apostrophe in their name. Is that an intergalactic rule?

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