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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    I was reading a book about people from mostly 500 to 1500 years ago, and one that came to mind was Galaction. His name means milk-man, essentially, e.g., a farmer who has cows and harvests milk. But it sounds like a sci-fi villain.
    (Someone later pointed out to me that 'galaxy' comes from the word for milk, after the Milky Way idea. So the connection is more sensical than it seemed at first.)
    This felt like a fun humorous thing to share and see if others had similar names in their mental inventory.

    Any other names that sound awesome/nerdy/sci-fish but have rather mundane meanings?

    I've also liked the idea of the name name Rune, since seeing a character with that name (even if it was a pseudonym/nickname) in Phantasy Star IV (or I think IV).

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    "Non-Euclidean" is something that crops up a lot in sci-fi as well as existential horror - usually in association with something like Cthulhu or the Great old Ones, stuff like that to imply bizarre and terrifying places and things that can't actually exist.

    Technically though, it can just mean "curved", like the angles between two places on a sphere rather than a cube. There's a little bit more to it, but generally it refers to measuring geometries between three points (x, y and z) rather than just two (x and y) so it's only bizarre and alien if you happen to be a Flatlander.
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    "Non-Euclidean" is something that crops up a lot in sci-fi as well as existential horror - usually in association with something like Cthulhu or the Great old Ones, stuff like that to imply bizarre and terrifying places and things that can't actually exist.

    Technically though, it can just mean "curved", like the angles between two places on a sphere rather than a cube. There's a little bit more to it, but generally it refers to measuring geometries between three points (x, y and z) rather than just two (x and y) so it's only bizarre and alien if you happen to be a Flatlander.
    That's a fun one, it's just the geometries of things other than flat planes. Which is practically everything in reality... when it's used in 'this place ain't right' writing I think it's supposed to imply things like apparently parallel lines not actually running parallel or the horizon not converging to a single perspective point, the kinds of things that typically make your brain stop and go 'uh what now?' because they're so different to what you've learned is the proper behavior for those.. but that's hard to write in a way that makes sense in a description.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    I remember a Discworld early book where the floor of a cursed temple is described as being made of pentagonal tiles with no empty space. This is all I can contribute to the conversation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    If you draw a triangle with one 90 corner at the north pole and the other two corners on the equator, all three angles will be 90. If you've had "triangle corners always add up to 180 drilled into you", that's a little freaky.
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    If you draw a triangle with one 90 corner at the north pole and the other two corners on the equator, all three angles will be 90. If you've had "triangle corners always add up to 180 drilled into you", that's a little freaky.
    That's because you're switching from Euclidean Geometry to Spherical Geometry. Same reason why map projections always have distortion.
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Galaction, Rune, Non-Euclidean...

    They don't sound like names for fish!

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    That's supposed to be Sci-Fi-ish, but JeenLeen's fingers couldn't keep up with their brain.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Cyclopean architecture just means the building was put together without concrete or other form of mortar
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    The Roman poet Horace was a Venusian.

    (Venusia was a city in southern Italy.)

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    That's supposed to be Sci-Fi-ish, but JeenLeen's fingers couldn't keep up with their brain.
    Can somebody spin off a separate thread for cool Sci-Fish names?

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Eh, given topic drift we'll get there shortly after the mandatory Star Wars digression.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    Eh, given topic drift we'll get there shortly after the mandatory Star Wars digression.
    Speaking of, I remember the first time reading Jurassic Park, InGen hires Grant as a consultant and calls at all hours about weird things, like phoning him at 2 in the morning to ask about T-Rex juvenile hyperspace. When the EPA agent he's telling this to asks, Grant just replies that it's a fancy word for behavior as if it were plotted/graphed out.
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    Can somebody spin off a separate thread for cool Sci-Fish names?
    The only name for a fish I can think of at the moment is Wanda, and there's no science involved. And, I suppose, Eric.

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    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    Cyclopean architecture just means the building was put together without concrete or other form of mortar
    The defining feature of cyclopean architecture is that the stone blocks are huge. They usually don't have mortar, but the important thing is that the blocks are so big that they must have been put here by giants because humans could not have lifted them.

    The cyclopes were the "ancient aliens" of the ancient Greeks.
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    I remember a Discworld early book where the floor of a cursed temple is described as being made of pentagonal tiles with no empty space. This is all I can contribute to the conversation.
    It's the first book (The colour of Magic), and the Temple of the Sender of Eight (aka Bel-Shamharoth) has octagonal tiles rather than pentagonal as the octogon replaces the pentagon for mystic geometries.

    It has to be said that they tessalate just as well as pentagons, though.
    Warning: This posting may contain wit, wisdom, pathos, irony, satire, sarcasm and puns. And traces of nut.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Manga Shoggoth View Post
    It's the first book (The colour of Magic), and the Temple of the Sender of Eight (aka Bel-Shamharoth) has octagonal tiles rather than pentagonal as the octogon replaces the pentagon for mystic geometries.

    It has to be said that they tessalate just as well as pentagons, though.
    They do, but require a small square/diamond in between... the book suggests there are no diamonds, but the tiles still fit smoothly together.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Why has no-one mentioned the sci-fish called "babel"?

    As for terms that sounds better than they are, some of HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos should count as sci-fi and he was very fond of using obscure adjectives that were actually quite tame in meaning:

    gibbous - (of the moon) between half-full and full
    rugose - wrinkled
    squeamous - scaly

    etc.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    From Mass Effect Andromeda:

    A minor antagonist has the name "Invictor." Why it is that he, a resident of the Andromeda galaxy, has a Latin name, is not explained, but the name sounds superficially impressive. It's got the voiceless consonant cluster to give it a crisp sound and that delightful -tor suffix we all know and love (particularly Star Wars' Imperial Starfleet - Executor, Devastator, Imperator), which lends itself well to being pronounced dramatically while taunting the protagonist. Even better, it has the morpheme vict-, which even a grade schooler can identify as meaning "win" or "conquer."

    Of course, anyone with even a middle schooler's knowledge of Latin can tell you that the in- prefix serves as a negative, and that -tor suffix is an agentive, so what the name "Invictor" really means is "one who doesn't win." It's appropriate in its own way, since the character is utterly inconsequential and serves only to get killed by the protagonist in a minor side mission, but it contrasts with the tonal presentation of the character, and it boggles the mind as to why the character would be named that in universe.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Probably hung on the character by somebody who 1: knew Latin and 2: did not like him. And 3: knew he wouldn't get it.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Of course, anyone with even a middle schooler's knowledge of Latin can tell you that the in- prefix serves as a negative, and that -tor suffix is an agentive, so what the name "Invictor" really means is "one who doesn't win."
    Except probably not. While the word invictor was apparently never used back in the day, its female equivalent, invictrix did, in fact, very much exist as a post-classical epithet of Fortuna. It essentially meant 'unbeatable'. Language is weird like that.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Metastachydium View Post
    Except probably not. While the word invictor was apparently never used back in the day, its female equivalent, invictrix did, in fact, very much exist as a post-classical epithet of Fortuna. It essentially meant 'unbeatable'. Language is weird like that.
    So, kinda like how "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Knull, The King in Black is the God of the Symbiotes in Marvel Comics. He is a Mythos inspired Eldritch Space God...

    (In fact, Donny Cates has referred to an upcoming event starring as being "Heavy Metal Cthulhu Dark Horror")

    His name is a Scandinavian verb analogous to a certain four-letter verb that refers to the act of fornication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKazum View Post
    So, kinda like how "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?
    Nah, I'd guess they just contaminated victrix with invicta and ran with it.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKazum View Post
    So, kinda like how "flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing?
    No that's because "in" in "inflammable" means "inside". "Inflamable" means "can be inflamed" and "inflamed" means "inside the flames" i. e. "on fire".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    "Non-Euclidean" is something that crops up a lot in sci-fi as well as existential horror - usually in association with something like Cthulhu or the Great old Ones, stuff like that to imply bizarre and terrifying places and things that can't actually exist.

    Technically though, it can just mean "curved", like the angles between two places on a sphere rather than a cube. There's a little bit more to it, but generally it refers to measuring geometries between three points (x, y and z) rather than just two (x and y) so it's only bizarre and alien if you happen to be a Flatlander.
    The thing with non-Euclidean geometry is that we've more or less figured out how it works and incorporated it into our models of the universe. But before that, Euclidean geometry- that is, geometry as described by Euclid's axioms was assumed to be universal. For all intents and purposes, mathematically, we kind of were flatlanders.

    The following is an excerpt from a mathematician to his son, warning him not to dedicate himself to the search of a proof for Euclid's fifth postulate (the one that gave everyone a lot of trouble)-

    You must not attempt this approach to parallels. I know this way to its very end. I have traversed this bottomless night, which extinguished all light and joy of my life. For God's sake! I entreat you leave parallels alone, abhor them like indecent talk, they may deprive you from your time, health, tranquility, and the happiness of your life. That bottomless darkness may devour a thousand tall towers of Newton and it will never brighten up in the earth... I thought I would sacrifice myself for the sake of the truth. I was ready to become a martyr who would remove the flaw from geometry and return it purified to mankind. I accomplished monstrous, enormous labors; my creations are far better than those of others and yet I have not achieved complete satisfaction. For here it is true that si paullum a summo discessit, vergit ad imum*. I turned back when I saw that no man can reach the bottom of this night. I turned back, unconsoled, pitying myself and all mankind... I have travelled past all reefs of this infernal Dead Sea and have always come back with broken mast and torn sail. The ruin of my disposition and my fall date back to this time. I thoughtlessly risked my life and happiness - aut Casear aut nihil.
    A blog called Coins and Scrolls talks about this in a little more depth in a post called "Non-Euclidian Horror: The Writhing Spheres," but I can't post a link at the moment.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    No that's because "in" in "inflammable" means "inside". "Inflamable" means "can be inflamed" and "inflamed" means "inside the flames" i. e. "on fire".
    Psh. What do the French know about Romantic languages?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Psh. What do the French know about Romantic languages?
    The vulgar parts, of course.
    Last edited by Fyraltari; 2020-11-17 at 04:45 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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    Default Re: cool sci-fish names with non-cool meanings

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    The vulgar, parts of course.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    Why has no-one mentioned the sci-fish called "babel"?
    This one depends on what you think is "non-cool". In the Hitchhiker's Guide series the babelfish is a tiny creature that is inserted into a being's ear and it excretes language into their brain - literally, alien language goes in, and it poops your native language out for you to hear.

    {scrubbed}

    squeamous - scaly

    etc.
    I looked this one up too, because I remember the same story. Apparently it was very old fashioned word for scaly even by Lovecraft's time in the 1920's - he had a thing for archaic words - but nowadays its more readily a scientific term for a type of epidermis. It's not just "the creature was scaly like a fish", but "it literally has the skin of a fish". A small semantic difference perhaps, but a different and quite mundane implication.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajustusdaniel View Post
    The thing with non-Euclidean geometry is that we've more or less figured out how it works and incorporated it into our models of the universe. But before that, Euclidean geometry- that is, geometry as described by Euclid's axioms was assumed to be universal. For all intents and purposes, mathematically, we kind of were flatlanders.
    It's fairly clear, I think, that Lovecraft thought he was making up a word and didn't realise that it had a real-life meaning. We know what he's trying to say - that the perception of the subject was bizarre and didn't conform to what we recognise as normal dimensions - so I didn't mean to bring it up out of mockery. It just amused me.

    I did a bit of a binge on the subject after reading more of this thread. Non-Euclidean geometry was barely recognised as a true discipline until the 1830-1850's and Lovecraft was an indifferent High School student before dropping out of university, so even in the 1920's when he was writing it was a fairly niche, specialised subject that he probably wouldn't have had much exposure to.

    Just goes to show - stay in school kids, or you too could end up like H.P. Lovecraft.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-11-17 at 09:13 AM.
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