First off, congratulations to BookobsessedGrl who won Stacia Kane’s Demon’s Inside in our drawing from Monday. Please e-mail SB Frank by Sunday with your address.

Secondly, the future of an unborn child is in your hands. Names have power. Fantasy is replete with stories about how to know the name of a person is to control it. Rumpelstiltskin springs readily to mind. The many names of Gandalf is another example. Many religious traditions hold this belief as well, from Adam gaining dominion in the Garden of Eden by naming the other creatures, to naming ceremonies where choosing your own name is a passageway to adulthood.

One of our reviewers, Robert Thompson, is expecting a new daughter shortly. He asked me if I would ask all of you your opinion of fantasy naming conventions.  In an earlier post, I made fun of fantasy naming conventions, which seem to involve replacing half of the vowels with a ‘ and the other half with a w, h, or k, depending on the sub-genre. The ones that are really bad combine that style of naming with a protagonist named Steve, because you’re going to get Kyvw’lk and Steve in the same society.

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So, dear readers, this is your task: Why do fantasy authors have a tendency to pick horrendous names? Is it an easy stand in for actual world building?  Have you come across a particularly awesome or egregious name in a fantasy novel? (Robert is especially interested in the awesome ones!) And, if you were going to name a child after a fantasy character, who would it be?

Robert will be eagerly anticipating your answers, but he is not promising to use any of them. To make up for that, post a comment by noon eastern on Sunday, November 22, and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win our Advanced Review Copy (not a shiny hardback, sorry) of Charlaine Harris’s Grave Secret. It’s not the ability to control someone’s future, but it’s a distant second.


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  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.