Teeming Millions Authors

I am trying to write a novel; but my problem is that I can’t think of any good character names (the name I always use in English class is Bob, no clue why). I don’t understand how some people do it! Is there a website anyone can give me (I already have the Fantasy Name Generator) or some hints on how to come up with a good character name? Please note that I’m trying to figure out names that aren’t really used on Earth, i.e. science fiction, names like Wedge Antilles, Tycho Celchu, Fliry Vorru, etc…where do the authors out among the Teeming Millions get ideas?

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

Originality is the art of concealing your sources.

Thanks a bunch Nickrz…

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

An obvious SF name I’ve never seen is “Qwerty”!

I risk losing my SF writer’s permit, but here goes. Just take any old normal name and spell it backwards. Jason becomes Nosaj, Malcom becomes Moclam. Linda becomes Adnil. Bob becomes…well, you get the idea.

I hope this method serves you well. Harlan Ellison is likely to have my legs broke for revealing this tightly guarded secret.

Not from message boards; that’s for sure. Try ‘Plumb Bob’.

& Ray

Another trick I’ve seen is to use foreign words (Russian is very popular) and obscure technical terms and alter them to sound more like a name.

For instance, the Russian words Nechevo (nothing) and Pravda (truth) could become “Chevo Prava” renowned starship pilot (or what have you).

Stephen’s Website
Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction
shareware available for download at
Satellite Hunting

Get yourself a good atlas. Bangui, Lusaka, Praia, Accra. And those are just major cities in Africa. Tons of other great, exotic-sounding names have been made up already, you just need to steal them creatively…

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

Well, OK, if backwards doesn’t work, or is plagiarism, spell them inside-out: ‘ciNkrz’ spelled inside-out is ‘Nickrz’. Either way your sunk.


I get name ideas all over the place. Some places to try:

  1. A baby name book, especially one for names uncommon in the US. If you can only get hold of one with common names, try looking for names that seem “almost right” and altering them to look and sound more alien. Especially good are books that also list meanings, because then as you flip through you can scan the meanings for something that fits the character and checking the corresponding name.
  2. Atlases, or something with geographical names. Some cities and towns have names that would work wonderfully.
  3. Typos. Seriously. 99 times out of a hundred, they’re useless or neutral, but that last time in the hundred will give you a great name.

Some sites that might be helpful:
http://www.newhmw.com/fantasy_name_generator.htm (I don’t know if this is the Fantasy Name Generator you already have.)
http://public.surfree.com/zoenut/NameGen.html (Dragon Name Generator, but it might be helpful for non-dragons also)
http://www.lefty.simplenet.com/svam/heroname.html (Superhero Name Generator, but same comment as last)
http://www.albans.demon.co.uk/NoFrames/Generate.html (AD&D Name Generator, but see above)
http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/tiffany/111/dnd/dwarfnamejava.html (Dwarf Names - website also has at least one more Name Generator for Elfs that I saw in websearch list, but didn’t visit)
http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/tiffany/111/dnd/humanoidnamejava.html (Another from the same site as the Dwarf Names, but the “Humanoid” in the title influenced adding it to the list.)
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Portal/2415/namegen.html (I’m starting to worry now that I may be repeating sites, as I’ve used more than one search engine already)
http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/Strasse/1399/rndname.html (Watch out, it’s got the pop-up ad)

Okay, that was fun, but I’m stopping now. I’ve already taken over a half hour to write this post and I’m not going through all 200,00 Web pages that Alta Vista found, especially since none of the last three pages looked useful.

Wow! Thanks a bunch! I was considering using Latin to help me out; with your little tricks I should be up and running in no time.

How’s this for a test:
Opdo Airgthst Hte

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

I just listed you all in a file that will be added to the story i am typing; though it will probably never see the light of the day, it has my thanks in there. =)

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

I just listed you all in a file that will be added to the story I am typing; though it will probably never see the light of the day, it has my thanks in there. =)

"No job’s too small, we bomb them all."
-Ace Wrecking Company

Let us know when and where it gets published!

“It was a qvarck and sdormish nicht…”

“There will always be somebody who’s never read a book who’ll know twice what you know.” - D.Duchovny

Since I do write (and publish) SF stories, let me chime in.

I often use a book 3000 UNCOMMON NAMES FOR BABY, which is a wealth of off-beat names (though there are plenty of times it hasn’t worked for me).

Mix up the letters of a word that has some meaning to you and fits the story. (Don’t just reverse them; someone’s bound to try spelling them backwards and it’ll give everything away.)

Apply Grimm’s law of phonetic change. In one case I changed “Bill” to “Pyr” by this method.

Let your typoes work for you. One name came about with starting with “Feb” for “February” and adding “-rin.” I misstyped it as Fedrin and liked what I saw.

Find an obscure name from an old novel. The main character in my first novel was named after someone in the murder mystery MALACE AFORETHOUGHT. It sounded futuristic, though.

Know the implications of sounds. G, K, P sound rough while L and vowels sound smooth. Korpik isn’t the name of someone you’d particularly trust. Loorina sounds much nicer.

Unfamiliar female names seem to work better if they end in vowels. Don’t know why.


I think ancient languages like Latin or greek are your best bet because they carry that certain feel about them. A latin word meaning bad news (mal edict) becomes a great name right away (Maledicta). Our language is derived from these languages, and therefore these names carry subtle meanings.

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.

If you need a graphic solution, http:\ alk.to\Piglet

Look through the phone book.

I would suggest Greek and Roman mythology. Alter them a bit, and mix in the right amount of Latin and Greek root words to carry a sybolistic meaning. Names that just look cool are fine in cartoons, but Sci Fi fans are smart and want a name that may inspire some obscure reference. The older the better, and Latin and Greek are nice because our language is filled with them, the common reader will recognize and be familiar with the sounds, but may not be able to place the exact meaning.

Definitely conceal the phone book thing.

i’ve also seen where people will use somewhat common first name but a decriptive word for the last name, spelled a little differently.

Other people make it blatant. Like the good guy from “Snow Crash” is named Hiro Protagonist.

Don’t let the loveless ones sell you a world wrapped in grey.