Last night I was working on a science fiction short story.
I shall start at the beginning. I was burned out working on a very difficult section of a new novel that I will not tell you anything at all about, period, except to say that I am working on a new novel. Why wouldn’t I be working on a new novel?
Anywho, I was burned out, but it was only just after dinner time, and I didn’t feel like I had written enough.
Thus, I popped open the computer to a quick note I had written myself after watching Escaflowne the day before. “Giant War Beetles!” said my note. That’s all the file said. I decided to write a story about war beetles. Because war beetles are automatically cool. Say it with me now… “WAR BEETLES!” Doesn’t it just roll off the tongue? It makes the geeky parts of your brain fire off signals of geek happiness. WAR BEETLES!
Now, naturally, because I am J M McDermott, my story ended up about almost nothing to do with the actual war beetles.
As I was working on the story, I needed two names. I decided, because it was a story about fucking massive beetles of war that I had to make the names really cool.
The story was just sent out this morning, and we’ll see what the world thinks of my War Beetles.
(War Beetles. I just like typing War Beetles. It makes me happy. War Beetles. War Beetles. You should try typing war beetles. It feels good.)
However, and more to the point of this post, I was thinking as I was waiting in line at the post office that I can’t recall any character in science fiction with a truly dreadful, embarrassing name.
Where are the Morrisses and Berthaminas with last names from Eastern European cultures that are spelled like the mad ravings of someone with a lot of severe swelling in their throat? Where are the African-American names like my former classmates in elementary school, Precious Washington and Desire Lewis?
Where are the names that are mind-boggling experiments in double entendre that means their parents must have been either cruel or really naive, like Richard Assman?
I can’t recall ever encountering someone in SF from the future who did not have a cool name.
Thus, I predict that in the future everybody will have a cool name!