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Why the name change?

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments Wondering if any fellow S&L members can shed some light into why any space-faring sci fi book in which they haven't long-forgotten the origin of humanity refers to our star not as the Sun, but as Sol. Given that Sol is Sun in spanish, I just don't get the fascination.


message 2: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4073 comments Mmmm...my take on it is first, SF needs to take you somewhere non-mundane, and calling it the Sun is normal and everyday. I've seen humans living on Earth called "Terrans" for a similar reason.

Second thought is that for any spacefaring race the local star is the Sun. But only our sun is Sol.


message 3: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (oliviayoungers) | 115 comments Sol - name of the sun god in roman mythology

Planets named after Roman gods

Makes sense to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_(myt...


message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments Olivia wrote: "Sol - name of the sun god in roman mythology

Planets named after Roman gods

Makes sense to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_(myt..."


Well, there you go dropping science. But since we call it Sun now, would it make sense in the future? I guess we'd call it whatever the Chinese word for sun is. q;o)

John wrote: "Mmmm...my take on it is first, SF needs to take you somewhere non-mundane, and calling it the Sun is normal and everyday. I've seen humans living on Earth called "Terrans" for a similar reason.

Se..."


Terrans is also dumb, but while we have Martians, Earthians sounds weird.

Hmm...I wonder if all humans would call their star The Sun instead of Alpha Centarai or whatever.


message 6: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments Eric wrote: "Well, there you go dropping science. But since we call it Sun now, would it make sense in the future? I guess we'd call it whatever the Chinese word for sun is. q;o)"

"Sun" is a generic term for a star with planets around it. On Earth Sol is our sun, but if you go to Gliese 682b, Gliese 682 is the sun and Sol is a star in the night sky.


message 7: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (oliviayoungers) | 115 comments Sean wrote: "Eric wrote: "Well, there you go dropping science. But since we call it Sun now, would it make sense in the future? I guess we'd call it whatever the Chinese word for sun is. q;o)"

"Sun" is a gener..."


Thus "Sol" is the proper name for the star that we refer to as our sun based on our proximity to said star.


message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments The last few posts totally nailed it. It's a question of proper nouns.


message 9: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments It's the same principle as the moon being called Luna. Jupiter has moons with names - Io, Callisto, Ganymede for example - but they're still moons. Sol is just the proper name for our sun.


message 10: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) Piggybacking on the Terran comment, more old school stories and movies say "Earthlings," but I haven't seen that in a modern SF story (unless it's a pastiche).

It's all about coming up with a demonym that people are comfortable saying in whatever language they're using (i.e. we say American because "United Statesian" isn't a valid construction in English, but "Estadounidense" is in Spanish.

So in the future, as we spread among the stars, we'll have to come up with something to call natives of Earth. Either Solarians (for people from the Solar System) or Earthlings/Terrans or something else like say "Capital District" (in an awesome interstellar Hunger Games universe).


message 11: by Olivia (new)

Olivia (oliviayoungers) | 115 comments David wrote: "Piggybacking on the Terran comment, more old school stories and movies say "Earthlings," but I haven't seen that in a modern SF story (unless it's a pastiche).

It's all about coming up with a demo..."


Or "stupid apes" ala Doctor Who


message 12: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) | 930 comments "My fellow Earthicans..." - Richard Nixon's head.


message 13: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4073 comments Well, while we're quoting: "Silly...human...boy." From probably the best story Alastair Reynolds has written. "Weather" in Galactic North.


message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 21, 2015 01:19PM) (new)

Neal Stephenson specifically used "Terrans" because his "Terran" character was French. I'm not sure if that was the first place where it started but I'm guessing it's usually the writer attempting to get out of an English-centric mindspace.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)


message 17: by Ben (new)

Ben Nash | 200 comments I've run across "Earthers" before.


message 18: by Travis (new)

Travis | 17 comments The first time I heard Terra and Terrans was Battlestar Galactica from the 70s. I thought then that it was used because it just sounds better than Earthlings, which you have to admit sounds pretty cheesy. ;)


message 19: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3597 comments Mod
What about beings from Venus?
The correct grammatical adjective form of Venus is Venerean.
So if you get sick there, you have a Venereal Disease? :-?

Of course they didn't go for that and decided on Cytherean.
Which makes no sense to normal people, so we all use Venusian.

It doesn't matter what we call ourselves. Our future Alien Overlords will call us whatever they damn well please and we will answer to it. :-)


message 20: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4073 comments And I for one welcome our new Ant overlords...


message 21: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments Wow, this has been more enlightening than I could have hoped for. I never knew Sol was the proper name for The Sun. Which I guess is a sun. I also can't believe I forgot the term "Earthlings", but then again, I'm dealing with some long term sleep deprivation right now.


message 22: by David H. (new)

David H. (farrakut) I never knew about Cytherean, but people don't really use that anymore, do they? Wikipedia says people go for Venusian nowadays.

Here's a list of demonym endings in English & applying it to Earth. You guys decide which sounds best!

1. Earthling
2. Earther
3. Earthian
4. Earthese
5. Earthan
6. Earthanian
7. Earthine
8. Earthite
9. Earthano
10. Eartheno
11. Earthish
12. Earthard (LOL)
13. Earthi
14. Earthic
15. Earthiot (LOL)
16. Earthasque
17. Earthonian
19. Earthican

Not a complete list, but here's some more possibilities: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demonym

Linguists get mad at you if you mix up roots & suffices with different history (i.e. Latin root, Greek suffix), but Earthling is probably as good as any. We just have to say it often enough so that it stops sounding stupid!

Wiki says: "Fictional aliens refer to the inhabitants of Earth as Earthling (from the diminutive -ling, ultimately from Old English -ing meaning "descendant"), as well as "Terran", "Terrene", "Tellurian", "Earther", "Earthican", "terrestrial", and "Solarian" (from Sol, the sun)."


message 23: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments "Sol" has been used as the name for the sun in science fiction since... well, before science fiction had a name.

It's not new.


message 24: by Wampuscat (new)

Wampuscat Earth is a synonym of dirt.

Screw this, Imma' be a Dirtite!


message 25: by Sean Lookielook (new)

Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 432 comments Officially, the Sun and the Moon are called the Sun and the Moon in English. Any other names you've heard used are from other languages or are just technobabble.

http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-the...

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/ques...


message 26: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments Trike wrote: ""Sol" has been used as the name for the sun in science fiction since... well, before science fiction had a name.

It's not new."


I wasn't saying it was new, just wondering where it came from.


message 27: by Laurențiu (new)

Laurențiu Roman | 15 comments Eric wrote: "Olivia wrote: "Sol - name of the sun god in roman mythology

Planets named after Roman gods

Makes sense to me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_(myt..."

Well, there you go dropping science. ..."
Since probably spanish will be a dead language by the time we are a space faring race (if we ever get that far), and latin would probably be even dead-er... :)

So i do not find it unusual to name space object after mythical or long dead things.


message 28: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4073 comments I figure it's for the same reason it's Rivendell instead of Elftown, Lessa instead of Lisa, F'lar instead of Fred, Gandalf instead of Gary. We like our speculative fiction to take us out of the ordinary, and exotic names are part of the journey.


message 29: by Eric (last edited Jan 22, 2015 11:35AM) (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments John wrote: "I figure it's for the same reason it's Rivendell instead of Elftown, Lessa instead of Lisa, F'lar instead of Fred, Gandalf instead of Gary. We like our speculative fiction to take us out of the ord..."

I know this could potentially derail the thread, but whenever I've read books where (usually for humor) the fantasy characters had names like Mike, I found that I was better able to keep what was going on in my head. When they had weird names (especially similar names) it was hard to keep them apart in my head. Imagine a book with two characters: John and Jon. That's how I feel sometimes with these names.


message 30: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Foster (graemef) I remember having a terrible time with Sauron and Saruman the first time I read LotR - I was very young and there were no movies to help!


message 31: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4073 comments You ain't the only one, Graeme! I first read the books some 35 years ago as a young teen, and couldn't remember the difference when the movies started coming out.


message 32: by Eric (new)

Eric Mesa (djotaku) | 632 comments Today heard "The New Folks Home" on Escape Pod by Clifford Simak. I think the narrator/host mentioned it's from the 1960s. The prose is certainly super-explanatory like Asimov. Anyway, in the story, our sun is Helios and Earth is Helios3.


message 33: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2480 comments Did any of the original series Klingons call us Earthers? It was so long ago I don't remember.


message 34: by Phil (new)

Phil | 1152 comments Mark wrote: "Did any of the original series Klingons call us Earthers? It was so long ago I don't remember."

Yup, I'm sure when the Klingon is trying to goad Scottie in "The Trouble with Tribbles" he refers to Earthers.


message 35: by Mark (new)

Mark (markmtz) | 2480 comments Phil wrote: "Mark wrote: "Did any of the original series Klingons call us Earthers? It was so long ago I don't remember."

Yup, I'm sure when the Klingon is trying to goad Scottie in "The Trouble with Tribbles"..."


Yes! That's the scene I was trying to recall. Thanks.


message 36: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 1157 comments Mod
Also not everyone speaks the same language.


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