Friday, March 20, 2009
Five names that don't work for me
(This one does, by the way)
1. The Unknown Warrior
from Dawnthief, by James Barclay
The Unknown Warrior’s mysterious past forms a subplot of this novel, but I found it impossible to take the character seriously with a name like that (and the other characters calling him “Unknown” didn’t help).
A humorous fantasy might have pulled this off, but then his spouse and child would probably have been called the Unknown Wife and the Unknown Baby.
2. Roque Mayo
from Marry A Man Who Will Dance, by Ann Major
Are you able to tell Roque Mayo’s gender from the name? I wasn’t. I have no idea how to pronounce the first name, and the second makes me think of either a clinic or a condiment. If you’re curious, click here.
from The Wayfarer Redemption, by Sara Douglass
To me, Faraday is the famous physicist Michael Faraday, not the teenaged heroine of a medieval fantasy. It doesn’t matter how diligently the story works to make such a character convincing if they’re stuck with a name that has too much weight and connotations.
4. Angel Clare
from Tess of the d’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
Even given that this book was first published in 1891, when the name “Angel” could conceivably have been applied to a masculine candidate for the heroine’s affections, coupling it with the last name “Clare” is like a double dose of estrogen. I know Alec D’Urberville is the antagonist, but at least his name doesn’t bother me.
5. Ael t’Rllallieu
from My Enemy, My Ally, by Diane Duane
The Romulans are my favorite race in Star Trek, and I enjoy those novels of Diane Duane’s which flesh out their history and culture.
That being said, when I try to pronounce Ael’s name I sound like I'm gargling. Maybe it’s the Romulan version of “She sells sea shells on the sea shore”, and if you can pronounce it correctly, you’re from their world.