What’s in a(n Alien) Name?

Movie title for the second movie in the ‘Alien’ franchise.

Movie title for the second movie in the ‘Alien’ franchise.

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
– Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene II

Mission: Name

I was recently given the burden of coming up with 200 new “alien” names (100 first names, 100 last names) for our Mathlings™ to choose from. “No problem!” I replied, having foolishly underestimated the weight of this task.

So I set off going about it in a leisurely manner. I fancy the idea of inserting references in games, and thought maybe, if we used advanced or complicated math terms, it would sound cool and awesome. I scoured the net for the most alien-sounding math terms like Abscissa, Arccosec, and SOHCAHTOA, and ended up with about 80 “names”. I then sent the draft for review.


“The names sound weird…need something more meaningful and easy to remember.”

Of course mathematical terms sound weird, especially terms like boxplot and vinculum. I wasn’t sure what direction we were heading for when coming up with alien names since nothing was specified, whether we’re aiming for “cool” or “weird” or “cute” or plain normal.


After further discussions, the “meaningful” aspect was dropped altogether. We’re going purely by how “cute” the names sound. That’s fine and all, but “cute” is too subjective, since what one thinks is cute may not be thought of as cute by another. Coming to this point, I was reminded of a game I enjoyed during my childhood, the so-called Pokemon Diamond and Jade, which are actually bootlegged versions of an unrelated franchise published by Smilesoft called Keitai Denjuu Telefang. I remember it to this day mainly due to its poor grammar (“Some points of 4 lost!”) and the names of their monsters (Kuribute, Kokia, Osie). Looking further into their names, it appears that most, if not all, of the names of these creatures were based on plant names. This kind of trivia intrigues me.


However, even the second draft of names did not pass review. I was told that I was still not thinking like a kid who’s making cute names for cute monsters, so I decided to Google “cute monster names”. I was brought to this website. So after another round of discussion, where it is confirmed that adjectives are fine for acting as “first names”, I set out to come up with a complete set of 200 names under the third iteration.


“much better…”

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