It’s time again to play “Name That Thing In Dan’s New Book”!

Remember when I asked you guys to help me come up with some fake swear words? I got a TON of responses, and they were all awesome. You’re very smart (and attractive). That’s why I’m coming to you again with a similar question. Anyone who gives me an awesome word or term that we end up using will absolutely get a heartfelt thanks on the acknowledgments page.

It’s the same book as before, and I can only give you the same basic notes about it as last time: it’s post-apocalypse SF, in which the world was destroyed by a virus. Beyond that, you’ll have to name things more or less blind. But that’s okay, because the name needs are pretty simple:

1) A name for the apocalypse itself. How do people refer to the end of the world when they look back at it? “Crash” is a pretty common one, and we liked that for a while, but again, it’s pretty common, and we want to do something unique.

2) A name for a group of rebels. There is a group that has solidified itself as the new city and the new government, and we’ve got that taken care of, but there is a dangerous offshoot of rebels that need a name as well. How would they refer to themselves? How would such a group choose to identify themselves? I will consider all angles on this: “good” names, “bad” names, cool-sounding names, official-sounding names, etc.

Any brilliant ideas? Any passable ideas we can tweak as a group? I won’t posit any of my own ideas because I don’t want to sway you in any specific direction. Let’s start throwing them out there.

81 Responses to “It’s time again to play “Name That Thing In Dan’s New Book”!”

  1. Greg Little says:

    1. The Scourge was the first thing that leaped to mind, but I think that is too generic. Alternatively, you could go with a name relying on a metaphor that would need to be explained to be fully understood to the reader. As long as it sounded cool up front, that could be a cool tidbit for the reader to find later. Something like (bad example) The Black Wave. “She was swept away by the Black Wave.” Red Tide. The Bleeding Winds. I’m clearly liking weather or natural events. The Bloody Line. The Corpse Line. Reaping Day. The Reap. The Great Scythe. The Blank Slate.

    2. The New Way, or The New Path. I think it’s always very cool to take a word or phrase that doesn’t sound scary and, through the context of the story, make it into something that gives the reader shivers when they come across it. Plus it would be realistic if they weren’t necessarily trying to sound scary for political and image reasons.

  2. Rob Coston says:

    I haven’t got anything good for the apocalypse – everything I come up with sounds too corny.

    But for the rebels, maybe take a look at the naming conventions of splinter groups in the modern world. They often alter the name of the original organization, as we see in Northern Ireland:

    For example, the “Real IRA”. The name tells you that they share the same goals as the original group, but they consider their predecessors to be inadequate “The provisional IRA don’t go far enough. They aren’t really fighting for Republican rule. We’re the ones who are.”

    Alternatively, there’s the “Continuity Irish Republican Army”. It’s a declaration by the group that no matter what everyone else might think, the war isn’t really over.

    The common thread is that these groups tend to go for political names rather than awesome ones. But that makes their true gribbly Lovecraftian nature a surprising reveal. 😉

  3. Brett says:

    1) Apocalypse ideas: (the) Quiescence, the harrowing, the moratorium, the evincement (i.e. the revealing) — you can tell I am studying for the GRE.

    2) Rebel groups: the Quiescent (b/c it’s a great word), the Pious, the Paean, the Monks, the Vigil (long vigil, maybe). those are all fairly religious, I suppose. For maybe an eco-group, you’ve got Gaia’s Children, Rebirth, New Earth Movement.

    and that’s all i got for now.

  4. 1) The Cough? The Big Cough?

    2) erm . . . no ideas at present.

  5. Kathiravan Isak Arulampalam says:

    1. The Strike, perhaps? The Days and Nights of death? The Coming?
    2. The Truthkeepers? The Truthholders? The Pathfollowers?

  6. Mario Zakall says:

    1) The Great Darkness, The Black Scourge, Mori Magnus, Exitus

    2) Pugnators, Mithras, Lightbringers, Lightbearers, Anima, Celebro

  7. Jeremy Ross says:

    1) Zombie Day is my favorite apocalypse. Kind of limited in usefulness, but I would totally use it if it applied. More generally…
    “The Last Breath” sounds like a cool apocalypse. “Starfall” would work, maybe, and it’s short and catchy enough to spread. And I’ll second Erich Wade’s suggestion “The Big Cough” or maybe “God’s Cough” because I would probably help perpetuate those names if I were involved in a post-apocalyptic world.
    “Schism” is a good word. Not sure what it means (until looking it up just now), but it sounds bad. It would make a good apocalypse.

    2) “The Establishment”. They’re like anti-rebels, and they want the big city group to get off their lawn.
    Or how about “The Politans”? or if you want to be silly, “the Neo-politans”? It’s a whole new city after all, right?
    Thinking along the lines of bad band names… “The Justicks” (because they left and what did they have? just sticks, ha ha. Also, it sounds like what a less-than-entirely-literate person might call more than one Justice. they didn’t aim to name themselves anything, but that one … just sticks… i’ll stop now…)
    Assuming they’re rural, outside the city, a feral name of some kind. The Gatherers works, and has multiple implications. HG’s (hunter/gatherers), maybe. That’s all I have I guess; it might be said that it’s not much.

  8. Nick says:

    1) The Year(s) of Blacker Darkness, The Beginning, The Days of Death, The Quiet Collapse, The Ripping

    From a Wikipedia article on the black death: The Great Plague, The Great Mortality, The Great Pestilence, and (in the same line of thought) The Great Virus, The Great Pandemic

    The [Insert version of newly invented curse word here] Virus/Pandemic

    The 2nd Dark Age

    2) Living Earth Project or LEP. Disparagingly called lepers.
    The Fundamentals (‘mentals)
    The Divided Snake

  9. Allison Hill says:

    1) The Sweep-it sounds fast and inevitable with a bit of moral judgment.

  10. Rory Hunter says:

    1) Go with the opposite of what might be expected, e.g. “The Beginning.” If everything changed because of the event in question, then perhaps the event marks when the current state of affairs began.

    2) The name could either (a) reflect how the group see themselves, or (b)Reflect how the new society sees the group. Maybe the group adopts the name out of pride. Sorry that’s rather vague.

  11. Heather says:

    [1] Cataclysm, The Tribulation Age, Great Pestilence
    [2] Head Hunters, The Misbegotten Bastards, Noble Knights (Order or Branch of The Dead Earth) I was thinking there could be different orders if you decided to take it in that direction or the other orders could have perished leaving this one.

  12. Monica Wagner says:

    1) the Day. everyone knows it took more than a day, but it still became the Day. Day of reckoning, Judgement day, Last Day, Day the music died; everyone has a different idea for what the Day is short for.
    the Fortnight- archaic term for two weeks, but might have been how long it took for the disease to destroy much of the world.
    the Ride- when Death rode every plane, train, and automobile. ironically, crews of long haul cargo ships were among the last to die.

    2) rebels- The Reset.

  13. Daryn says:

    1) I thought someone’s suggestion of “It” is kind of neat but I think something along the lines of the following: culling, winnowing, or the harvest. Has something of biblical feel that seems appropriate for the end of the world.

    2) Naming the rebels is largely a question of understanding their motivation in opposing the status quo. Religious rebels would quote scripture or employ appropriate symbolism. Political rebels would package their movement in the terms of that impulse (Sons of Liberty anyone?)

    Regardless of motivations rebels almost always have less resources/support then their opponents and so I would suggest that their name reflect that status and either employ a name that A) suggests they have more support than the do (Army of 12 Monkeys) or B) emphasizes their exclusivity (The Order of Scariness).

    By the way, if you watch the “Battle of Algiers” its great introduction into the moral ambiguities of insurgencies from both sides.

  14. James says:

    1) I’m thinking something along the lines of Eruption of the Darkness, or EOTD for short references.

    2) Something along the lines of ‘The Uprising’? 😀

  15. Bob Reiss says:

    For #1, I have heard so many it’s sough for something new. I like terms that indicate not and ending of a beginning but a change. Something like The Morph, The Shift, etc.

    #2: The Greenhorns.

  16. WEKM says:

    The Viral Reset Button seems appropriate.

    The Mother Of All Flus.

    The day God flushed the global toilet . And the counter response, And the bowl got backed up.

    Group names.

    Hogan’s Anti-Heros.

    The Deciples of John Cleaver. (he who tought us how to survive this world)

    Paul Revere and the Raiders (in joke for the older croud) (for you young’ns, they were a sixties band)

    The Fellowship (these guys would most likely be rather geeky)

    Possum Lodge (carpe ductum!)

  17. It’s a bit religious but if your population was decimated that badly, I could see people (depressingly/laughingly) calling your apocolypse “The Rapture”.

    Also, Time of Sorrows, The Dying Time, The Day Death Rode the World, Time of Loss. If a particular company was found out to have released it, and the truth had been leaked I could see it being made off that. “The Umbrella Dirge”, anyone? (replace umbrella with your company name, of course).

    For your rebels, how about the Naysayers, The Kings Men, White Knights(especially after if some of them are doctors), Doctor’s Orders, or Splinter Block.

  18. Mike Smith says:

    The Apocalypse: The Anathema (some of the specific definitions of this word are pretty dang cool, i.e. person/thing detested or loathed; and imprecation of divine punishment; and a person or thing consigned to damnation; and finally a curse, execration), The Execration, The Paleness, or The Paling (i.e. The Paling of mankind), The Shaping, The White Horse (this would only work if rooted in our world as it is a Bible reference, but you could make something in the mythology of the world that represents death), The Blanching, The Fade or The Fading. The Regression.

    The Rebels: Fundamentalist -blank- (Hard to come up with a specific name b/c I dont know the situation in the story or what they want to accomplish, but fundamentalist could be applied to the offshoot of the rebels if their argument is that their path in the rebellion was more pure or correct. I like the connotation of the word Fundamentalist. It is usually used in assosciation with fringe groups who are very dedicated to their cause). You could refer to them as Zealots or True Believers. I.e. the True Believers of -blank- (insert word that fits to your worldbuilding)

    Thats it for now.

  19. 1. The Wave, The Crumble, The Great Wrecking Ball,
    2. Stone Wall, The Builders, Bricks,
    Slang- Stoners, Stonies, Stiffs,

  20. Derek Warnick says:

    For the apocalypse, how about?
    Humanity’s Twilight
    The Passing
    The Ruination
    Terminal Years

    For the rebels:
    Resurrection Force (RF)
    Faithful Few
    People’s Guardians
    The Fugitive Brotherhood
    (or, combining two from above) The Resurrection Brotherhood

    Good luck!

  21. Carl Duzett says:

    For apocalypse:
    The Collapse.
    The Big Finish.
    The Fat Lady’s Warble. (best name here obv)
    The Big Burn.
    The Drop.
    The Second Fall (depending on how religious this all is).

    For rebels:
    The Silence.
    The Order.
    The Oath.
    The Flame.

  22. Andy Hallock says:

    1) The Unwinding. The Long Night. The Eventide. The Dark Curtain. The End. And for the recovery period: The Slow Rise. The New Dawn. The Long Road. The Healing.

    2) Rising Star. New Wind. The Path. The Way of Cleansing. Stars of Wisdom. New Knights. Humanity’s Hope. Tide of Righteousness.

  23. Mike Stay says:

    1) The strain identifier, like H1N1, but used in a way like people now refer to 9/11.

    2) What epic tale do the rebels tell (Tea Party, 501st Legion)? Do they have their own language (Al Qaida sounds cooler to Americans than “the base”)? Are they socialists (reds) or anti-Bolsheviks (white)? Since it’s San Francisco, perhaps “the pride” in both the validity assertion sense and the lion sense. (It just occurred to me that maybe post-apocalypse SF doesn’t necessarily mean the Golden Gate bridge has collapsed. I’d just been reading about how in 1901 California refused to acknowledge that plague rats had come over to San Francisco from China and now the black plague has spread to Colorado.)

  24. Mikaus says:

    1a) Refer to the time as “the birthing of the snake”, this makes the assumption that the virus is named after the world snake, Jörmungandr.
    2a) either the cure or panacea or something to that effect if they think the new government is just as bad as the world ending. OR they could Refer to themselves as the children of the snake if they believed the world breaking was good and the new government undoes the “good” that the end of the world did.

    1b) The calling, assuming the virus was named by a religious group that experienced messages from God while they were infected and believed it to be a blessing and not a world ending virus.
    2b) The fallen, descendants or members of the community above who were uninfected , but believe that the virus should come back.

  25. Taylor Green says:

    What about for the rebels The Legion………Sounds Cool.

  26. Anthony Quijada says:

    1.The Aftermath(because its after the virus)

    2.The Risen(because they rose from the ashes of a civilization destroyed)I Think it sounds cool

  27. Anthony Quijada says:

    1.The Crushing of Humanity(Crush for short)

    2.The Risen(because they rose from the ashes of a civilization destroyed)I Think it sounds cool

  28. pat feil says:

    1. The Transition.
    2. Ourselves Alone

    I am addicted to apocalyptic scenarios. I dream them constantly and fully expect to live through one, or die during the first days or weeks.

    I have read your trilogy, by accident at first. I would probably read just about anything you care to write….so….should I just send a check to you every week or so?

  29. I love brainstorming names, this was fun!

    Apocalypse: (was this a biological virus or computer virus?)

    The Big Bust (opposite of The Big Bang…)
    The Blue Screen (of Death!)
    The Last Culling (I think The Cull has been used before?)
    Crash Day
    Drop Day (because people dropped dead?)
    Q-Day (Q for Quarantine)
    The Viral Morass


    T.H.O.R.N. / The Horde Of Rebel Nationalists (the THORN in your side!)

    The Unicorns (a joke, in reference to the mythological creature that didn’t survive the Great Flood)

    The Defianteers (Defiant Mutaneers!)

    The Defiant Revolting Rebels! (D.R.R.) (so bad, I know)

  30. Cary says:

    Care if I use this post on our message discussion board provided that I link back to this website?

  31. admin says:

    Sounds good to me.

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