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. Andrew says:

    1) The Ending
    2) Contrary Force

  2. 1) “The End” would be fitting, I think. Life as it was before has ended etc. But nobody would really call it that, because… everyone who lives know what they wanna say… so people just say something like “Since that day…” or “The…you know” or something like that.

    2) Sorry, no idea for that^^

  3. Randy Tayler says:

    Apocalypse names: The End. The Fall. The Strike. Gomorrah. Revelation. The Curtain.

    Rebels: Quo – short for Status quo, mebbe? Or The People. Or Breakers – breaking the cycle they see led to the crash the first time.

  4. jp says:

    For the name of the apocalypse, the first thing that came to mind was “The Time of Troubles”. You could also go biblical and call it “The Revelation”.

    For the name of the dangerous rebels: I, personally, can think of no better name than “Righteous Path”. But that’s just me.

  5. ChipperMuse says:

    I’m sure you’ll get lots of ideas. But here’s a few to kick things off. You might want to use two or more terms for the apocalypse. One serious or really common, like “the Crash” or “the Long Night.” And then one more sarcastic, like McDoom or McDoomsday. (Yes, I’m drinking McD’s coffee right now…)

    As for the rebels, I imagine they’d probably use a dramatic name, like “the Voice” (as in the Voice of Reason, or the VoR). And these groups like to use “liberation” and “freedom” in their names, so maybe that idea should be reflected in the name too.

    I’ll stop by later if I think of anything else. Have fun!

  6. Coolness.

    1. The Fracture; The Melting; The Blip; The Skew; The Bork; The Frak

    2. The Legits; The Finishers; The Handymen; The Cadre

    Rock on.

  7. 1) The Break (short for Outbreak)
    2) The Sirian Freedom Party – named for a nonexistent revolutionary organization in Eric Frank Russel’s novel WASP (which, if you haven’t read it, you should)

  8. minnmass says:

    1) I’ve had a fondness for The Event. I know I heard it somewhere (sadly, I can’t recall where), though. It has a good feel of “this was important, even if we don’t know exactly what happened”. Gabriel-Devine does make a good point, though: “since It Happened” might be more realistic. I think it depends heavily on the characters (how well they’ve adjusted to the incident) and the setting (just how apocalyptic was the apocalypse?).

    2) For the rebels, again, it would depend on how coherent they are and why they’re rebelling (and, I suppose, against whom). Likely, though, they’d start out calling themselves “we” or “us” (as in “we did this” or “they’ve found us”).

    Initially, anyway, they are likely to have a different name than what they’re called by those against whom they’re rebelling. So, “they” are just “the rebels” while “we” are “the knights of good”.

    Because of those points, I’m having a hard time coming up with specific names that either organization may use.

    The rebels may call themselves The Peoples’ Army (Peoples’ Liberation Front?). If the power they’re fighting came about because of The Event, they could take that name for themselves.

    If they’re hiding (possibly due to existing in a nacent state), they might go with something innocuous: the Guild, the Farmers, the Mechanics. “Round up and execute all of the Mechanics” just isn’t an order many people would be able to give, especially if society requires machinery.

    … I hope that rambling helps… It’s interesting to think about.

  9. Spencer Pranger says:

    For The apocalypse I like:

    For faction I like:
    The Silent Dawn
    The Midnight Eye
    The Silent Shadow

  10. Kathleen says:

    1) I think that the Apocalypse reference would merely be “It.” “Where were you when It happened?” Because people in the time after wouldn’t really need a name for it, it would just be THE IT. The It Virus, the It end of the world. Simple.

    2) Still working on that one.

  11. PF says:

    For an apocalypse, I’m very fond of variations of “Scorched Earth” terms. Right now, since it’s a wipe-out virus, perhaps “the Salting”

    For a rebel group… post apocalyptic, to me, everyone thinks that they are a savior. Something hopeful, perhaps “Dawning Again.” I tried to find a way to make it an aggressive acronym, but only thing I could think of off the top of my head was “Messianic Nation.” :p

  12. T.J. says:

    1) The Merge. The Failure. The Change.

    2) Outcasts. Prodigy. The Symmetry (see what I did there.) Hope. The Circle. The Braintrust. Accursed.

    Okay, that’s enough random thoughts from me.

  13. BC Woods says:

    As the apocalypse was caused by a virus, what about something biological like The Dwindling? Or the Narrowing? Or the Winnowing? I would say “The Culling” or “The Outbreak” but those both sound too direct. I got the impression from your summary last time that your common in-world person would be a lot more aware of biology than we are today.

    I guess the questions I’d ask myself if I were in charge of it would be: How much information did people have about it as it was happening? Were there still broadcasts about the virus as the world was collapsing so that everyone could be expected to have one common name? Or was it named afterward when people, presumably, reverted back into bands of hunter-gatherers so more than one name would be common?

    It the event was named after the outbreak, I guess the first survivors would have first noticed the empty cities, so something like “The Emptiness” or “The Silence” would be appropriate.

  14. Ben Sailors says:

    1.) Name for the Apocalypse: The Shattering

    2.) A name for a group of rebels: God’s Splinter – or Splinters for short.

  15. Jannell says:

    1) Endalok.
    Endalok means ‘The End’ in Icelandic, and seeing as the Apocalypse is the end of like, everything, I thought it seemed pretty appropriate.

    2) The Waasi.
    ‘Waasi’ is Swahili for ‘Rebel’

  16. 1) “The Rot” or “The Rotting”, I would imagine where a vast portion of people being killed off by a virus would be leave around a lot of smelly, decaying bodies. Or perhaps “the purge” due to so many people getting killed off. or perhaps “the silence” or “silencing” since the world got a lot more quite, and you would be walking down in dead silent cities.

    2) Depends on the motivations of the Rebel group. Anarchists types of groups: Free Brotherhood or Free Brothers, Faceless, etc. for nicknames. more official rebels could be something like the “People’s Army” or “People’s Voice.” Seems a lot of groups put their ideals of their group in their name like “Freedom Movement” or “New Haven.” Maybe they have a catchy acronym, like PURE: People’s United Republic of Earth.

    Just my two cents while waiting for some server installs. 😛

  17. Thomas Wheeler says:

    1. The Release or Day Zero.
    2. The Immune or The Vaccine.

  18. Titus says:

    I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to my mind when reading the paragraph about the “Crash” was the word “Burp”.

    No real ideas come to mind with such limited information, but I like less used single-word synonyms for groups of things or togetherness, not necessarily just people. Words like “Shock”, “Spray”, “Unity”, or “Parcel”, “The” in front of them optional, as are words after.

  19. Addison Smith says:

    How about a good old fashioned Cleansing?

  20. Daniel Holladay says:

    For the event I’m thinking “The Demic,” shortened in common parlance from originally epidemic which then became a pandemic. It also has a nice ominous feel to it.

    For the rebel faction I was thinking of “The Voice,” as in the voice of reason, the voice of the people. It could have even begun as a newspaper…if they weren’t already extinct.

  21. Joe Vasicek says:

    1) The Reboot, the Fall, the Cleansing, the Purification
    2) The Returners (already done in FF VI, but hey can you blame them?), the Cleansers, the Purifiers, Purification Squads, etc.

  22. Speckk says:

    1) the Black death/plague carried a lot of superstition given the lack of scientific understanding. The Red, green, yellow, careless, proud, arrogant, screaming, pale, quiet, or sleeping death could also work given symptoms.

    2) Helps to know what people are rebelling against, but usually rebellions are about power and freedom of choice. I like Freemen, sons of liberty, etc. Outcasts and unwanted might also be fitting in an exclusionary society.

  23. The Collapse, The Breaking, The Ending, The Release (referring to the release of the virus), Collision, Cause-of-Death (though that’s kind of more humor-ish) …Or maybe something that has to do with the specifics of the virus itself? Like a symptom or something(assuming the virus has other symptoms to start before you start eating people alive or whatever).

    As for the rebels, it’s hard to really think of anything without knowing how they see themselves and what their goals and reasons are etc. But the random things that come to my mind are: The Living, the Risen, Freedom-of-Thought, Restart, Restore, Change, Resume, Next, Turn, Finish…

    Sorry for being extremely not good at this. I’m so looking forward to when it comes out though! Huge fan of anything post-apocalyptic and also written-by-Dan-Wells.

  24. Tomas Bergström says:

    1. The name of the end of the world in Norse mythology is “Ragnarök”. That would be unusual for a SF setting.

    2. If it is a group of evil bad guys maybe “Carnage Cult”. If they are nicer and protagonists then “The Outfit” would work.

  25. Alan says:

    1) “The Hour of Reckoning” or something using the word “hour”, because “Day of Chaos” or “Day of Retribution” are things you could find in almost any paperback scifi book in the bin. But if you DO use “day,” I recommend you make it “Trash Day,” because it was the day when all the useless people were disposed of and only the elect were spared.

    2) How about “The Fourth Watch”? It’s reminiscent of Biblical language where hours of the day are called “hours” but hours of the night are called “watches”. And rebels need to be vigilant, so the word “watch” also fits that way.

  26. Robin Weeks says:

    I second what Justin Carmony said–mostly because he said it before I got a chance. :) The name of the apocalypse should be rich in the context of the world, and the rebels would naturally name themselves according to what they want.

    My favorite name for an apocalypse in fiction is “The Turn” in the Dead Witch Walking series by Kim Harrison. She called it The Turn because the virus which killed so many humans left the supernaturals untouched… and they realized they suddenly had the numbers needed to come out of the closet and establish themselves in open society. Turn the tables, as it were. (It also led to awesome swear words like “Go Turn yourself” and “Damn it back to the Turn.”) Kim didn’t have a rebel group, but the supernaturals did get to set up their own police force, called the Inderland Security (IS), which worked in concert (sort of) with the already-established human agencies.

    Good luck! :)

  27. Brooke says:

    For the apocalypse, I’d go for something very specific to the event if you want something unique. Maybe along the same lines as the Black Death or the Corrupted Blood incident. Since I don’t know the details of the virus, I can’t really give any specific suggestions though. >.>

    As for the rebels, I’d name them based on where they came from or what sets them apart from the rest of the people–or maybe what reason the gov’t gives for them rebelling.
    But for some truly random ideas: the unioners, virals, steam rats, or survivalists. I also liked ‘Splinters.’

  28. Juliana says:

    Medical terms for illness that might work: The Incubation, the Contagion, the Final Plague (or The Plague), Transmission, Bane, Miasma, Decay. I personally like Decay… sounds painful and stretched-out instead of quick and painless.

    “I’ve got news for you. The Decay wasn’t a one-time event. It’s not over–it just hasn’t touched you yet. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re safe. Nobody’s safe from the Decay.”

    Other great words at

  29. Wesley Young says:

    “The last Saturday” A saturday so horrible that we never want to have another.

    A rebel group could be called the Quakers for a bit of irony that you may or ma not want. You could also go with “The Wasp’s” if you are willing to pay homage to what Terry Pratchett called a funny terroitst handbook.

  30. Emily M. says:

    The Dearth, for the event name. Combines death and earth, and means a lack of something. So it sound large and universal, and also alludes to the lack of children that followed the plague.

    Alive, for the group. Or The Alive. The splinter groups will grab on to a problem and twist it to make it seem like the others don’t care about the issue at all. That may not work, depending on the group’s politics, but it could.

  31. Alissa Leonard says:

    When I’m stuck for names, I start at and search by meanings that I’m feeling for that person/thing. So that’s what I did. I played around with it for a little while and came up with a few things that may or may not fit with the style of names in your story, but I thought were cool.

    1. For the apocalypse: Asatira (meaning history or legend in Swahili) or Pravat (history in Thai). I liked the idea of history because whatever came before that is not necessarily relevant because it was the end of that life but at the same time the beginning of what they have now. So The Pravat is their 0 on the timeline and therefore the start of their history.

    2. For the rebels I decided to go with an opposite theme: new. They want to start something new so I found three I really liked: The Naveen (because it sounds cool – it’s Indian), Nova (new in Latin, obviously, but it also has the cool super nova feel which will either shine a bright light on things or swallow the world whole…or both – great for rebels), and Arata (fresh, new in Japanese – which would just be cool for them to call themselves the rats for short…great imagery)

    Anyway, I hope that helps get the wheels turning! I had fun wasting some time! :) …and I found a couple of names for my book while I was there that I didn’t even know I needed! :)

  32. Lee Falin says:

    1. Titles

    Pandemic – This word is in the news a lot, everyone is waiting for something or other to mutate and start a pandemic.

    The Pandemic

    The Last Pandemic

    The Last Leaf

    2. Rebel Groups – The 2nd Mass. (too late for that one). Two is hard to name without knowing their goal and what they are rebelling against.

  33. Kacey says:

    For the rebel group: Credo, a Latin word meaning creed or beliefs.

  34. Kim Mainord says:

    Well, the only things I could come up with for the apocalypse was “retrogeddon” and “FU day” (referring to the day when everything became F*#%ed up). As for the rebels, the first thing to come to mind was “The Resistee” but that’s because I watch too much Invader Zim. You could go with something along the lines of “the new jihad”, or “bloody 6’s” (referring to the number of the beast). If you want a non-religious militant group name there’s always “the restoration” or “the new order militia”.

  35. BC Woods says:

    Just thought of another good one. “The Selection.”

    Has good biological and religious connotations. Still no idea for the second one.

  36. I like taking simple terms and turning them into something awful. There’s just an extra chill to having a word you might use every day suddenly represent a horrendous event like the nigh-extinction of mankind.

    Something like “The Wash.” Washed out, washed away, and you can always tie any word you use to the name of the virus. Perhaps the Washelburger Strain killed us off, but that’s a terribly embarrassing name to die under, so we prefer the more generic and ominous “Wash”.

    Others could be the Ruin, the Rush, the Wipe…


    “Things haven’t been the same since the Wipe.”
    “The what?”
    “The Wipe.”
    “…I’m sorry, I just keep seeing this big handkerchief in my head.”

    Clearly not all of these are going to be winners.

    Rebel names are tough. Lots of cool things to choose from but it’s easiest to narrow it down when you know what their cause and organization systems are like. But since you’re not sharing I’m going to approach it more neutrally by focusing on a calling card, because everyone knows a good rebellion needs a good logo. (Seriously, graphic designers could make a mint off of rebel forces.)

    So when thinking of calling cards, I think of “The Black Letter”, an easy-to-create logo with basic materials in a post-apocalyptic world. Likewise with “X” itself, an already ominous-feeling letter that is easily created but also too attached to names like X-Men, X-Factor and the X-Files. You could also change it to “The Black Mark” or “The Black Spot”.

    Other unobtrusive, lightweight materials for calling cards might be dice, fireworks, playing cards, or pages from a book. Depending on what they do, finding pages from, say, a children’s story book could either be super eerie or just plain embarrassing. Or maybe these guys just set things on fire wherever they go. Matches and lighters don’t weigh much either.

    Now you can come up with a load of names from those, like: Gambits, Aces, The Dark (or Red) Kings (or Queens), The Pages, The Storytellers, The Editors, the Burninators. (Okay, that last one was a shameless StrongBad plug.) I’m certain there are more calling cards, themes and names out there to play with but I hope this helped to inspire.

  37. Nathan says:

    Well if it’s about plagues and virus and what not what about “the decay” for the apocalypse name or “the degeneration” also for breaking down but could also be the loss of a generation and what not. Other names “the blight,” (my personal favorite for plague words) “the corruption,” “the adulteration,” or “the contamination.”
    2) The Purge
    Rad or Rads(short for eradication)
    The Absolved
    ReGen (regeneration)

  38. Nathan says:

    one last one for the rebels. The incorrupt
    or just incorruptus which is the Latin word for pure or genuine. Lots of dead people so let’s fall back to a dead language.

  39. David Hill says:

    1. Demic (shortened slang of pandemic)
    2. “Vector”, as in “any agent that acts as a carrier or transporter, as a virus or plasmid that conveys a genetically engineered DNA segment into a host cell.” I keep thinking that after a virus-driven apocalypse, related terminology would gain a certain level of power in the society that survived. It made sense in my head.

  40. Sean - Texas says:

    Many of my ideas have already been taken and explained, but here are a few new twists:

    (1) The New Plague, The Dawning, The Blackout

    (2) The Wrench (the antithesis of the cogs in the machinery), The Elightened, The New Children

  41. Apocalypse: Epizootic (if the disease is caused by animals) the desolation, the bug, contagion, worm, the blighting (if the disease is caused by plants), ruination, annihilation, obliteration, eradication, devastation, extermination

    Rebels: Dissenters, uprisers, iconoclasts (if they are attacking the current religion or institution), kickers (a nickname for recalcitrants since recalcitrant is a Lain word meaning kicking out with the heels), defiants, recalcitrants, dissidents

  42. Aaron Gifford says:

    Apocalypse idea: the Ravage

  43. 1. The Winnowing (that’s obviously a more moral tag than some names for a world ending plague). Depending upon how long the world took to “end”, Dying Years or Dead Time might be appropriate. Ending or End Years might also be fitting. The Snuffing (the sort of tag a particularly hard-bitten sort might use as a label).

    2. Liberators.

    Thanks for letting us play with this. Keep us posted as to how it goes.

  44. John Waverly says:

    1. For the disease you could go way technical and use something like “Formicidae Nulcear Polyhedrosis Thogotovirus” or FNPT. This would be a virus in the influenza family that would also be able to cross-infect ants. It would cause the ants to die, bloat, and then burst spreading the virus around them to be picked up by other ants or people. This name would heavily depend on the backstory of the virus. You could combine different diseases and make up some pretty technical sounding gross stuff.

    As for slang names, I like many of the names mentioned in other comments. When I read a couple that mentioned “Revelation” I was thinking it might be cool to just call it “Rev” or “The Rev” and never explain why it’s called that. You could also name it after a major symptom “The Shakes” or “Bloat”. It might also be interesting to make this not sound deadly. For example, “The Bliss” if the disease makes you delirious and happy and then kills you quickly which could be seen as a blessed release from the horrors of the world.

    2. I don’t have any ideas that haven’t already been mentioned.

  45. Alan Clark says:

    The apocalypse: The Distraction
    The rebel group: “everybody just calls us the Focus Group..”

  46. John Waverly says:

    I think this comic strip is a good addition to the discussion, and funny too.

  47. Kevin says:

    For the apocolypse how about “The Fection” as in infection… could also lead to a curse word or phrase “Fect you”…

  48. 1) The End Plague, Terminus, Zero Day, The Big Bummer

    2)The Correctors, Antibodies,

  49. Bertram Hruska says:

    1) Ill Ides – if the virus started on middle of a month, then dates after the Ill Ides would be YYYYaii;
    The Ailing or the Ailment;
    Careless Monday – if it is a man made virus that got accidentally released

    2) The Purge – as the group is looking to purge part of the city/new government;
    The Hollow – if the group has a religious aspect to it (this could play nice if the group was anti-tech and the virus was man made)

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