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World Builder
April 11th, 2007, 09:11 PM
I've been trying to come up with a title for a story (or two, honestly). My mind keeps drifting to titles I've found intriguing, or phrasing I found particularly fine, and I think, "I wish I'd written that." To top it all off, one story I'm working on that does have a title had its title lifted from Yeats. So to commemorate the writers who beat us to the punch, I thought I'd start this thread. A place to regard with envious eyes the vast and cool intellects that proceeded us (thanks, H.G. Wells). These can be authors who have influenced or inspired you, or simply a title you saw on the shelf at the bookstore that made you think "That would have been perfect for my story!"

To start out with, a title I've particularly enjoyed, though the book itself is still on my To Read shelf, is "The Mote in God's Eye." It catches my attention on several levels, just the sort of thing I like in a title. On one level, its just a description of the setting, a very evocative name for a celestial region. On another level there's a metaphysical connotation: an imperfect Creation, with an implied Plank in Humanity's Eye.

A non-sff title (and non-fiction I believe... I work at a library, I see a lot of titles) is "Some Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead." Can't remember what the book is about, but that title is seared into my mind.

And finally, back to dear ole Wells. The War of the Worlds was the first real sci-fi novel I read, and the opening paragraph is still one of my favorite pieces of writing. Anytime I'm having trouble starting a story, I pull out my copy of WotW and read it. Tends to get things jumpstarted. For those of you who haven't read it, here's a sample:

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.


Ajax Torbin
April 11th, 2007, 09:42 PM
odd as it may seem i know exatly waht you mean.

it was teh same for me with Enders Game. iv always called my computer ENDER, and eth name was so evoctive to me i bough the book without knowing any thing about it, something ive never done before.

the title of a thing shoud describe the thing, which is why i'll not actuly namw my book untill im done with it.

Tony Williams
April 11th, 2007, 10:44 PM
I thought of the title to my first book before I started writing it, because it was so appropriate (I was surprised that no-one seems to have used it before): "The Foresight War" is about an alternate WW2 in which the British and German plans are helped by information from the future.

What I don't suppose most readers realise is that title also contains a joke reference: in the 1960s/70s period there was a very popular and long-running UK TV serial of some Galsworthy novels called "The Forsyte Saga".

April 12th, 2007, 12:25 AM
I agonize over the titles I give my stories. Well, maybe not agonize, but close. Unlike you Ajax Torbin, I generally have two or three titles I'm thinking about at the top of my WIPs. I've been told my titles are good, but for myself I would say I'm happy with about 25% of them.

As for title of books I "wish I'd written" I can think of a couple (This being the wrong time of day for me to run in and look over my bookshelf, i.e. night.) The Doomsday Book comes to mind as well as The Alienist. There's even the more obscure Snowman in Flames.

I'll have more later, when I get a chance to look.


<Hmm, I think I may have an idea for the next friendly little sffworld flash fiction contest. Let me think on this for a bit.>

April 13th, 2007, 12:46 AM
Add to the list Steppenwolf (did I spell that right?), Inifinity Hold and Mona Lisa Overdrive.

I'd even buy books with names like that.:)


Mourning Star
April 13th, 2007, 10:52 PM
Not a title but..
The first line of A Tale Of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..

and the last line:

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

Perhaps this thread can double as "Oh man that is so good..."