This is topic The Gardener--I need a name, or two. in forum Fragments and Feedback for Short Works at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=11;t=004788

Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
I need a cool name for a device that features in a short story I’m writing. It’s just a little thing: A triangular shaped device 2.5cm long on each side and 1mm thick which is molecularly bonded to the skin of your inner forearm—and, oh yes, it’s also wired into your nervous system so it can communicate with your aural and retinal implants.

It’s not anything like Big Brother, or so they say, but if you don’t have this device you can’t function in society. Think of it as your personal digital device that has superseded and incorporated every such conceivable device you might ever have, including money and credit cards. That’s what this thing is. It’s your computer, your phone, your, well, everything.

The retinal implants turn your own eyes into three-D heads-up-displays and, because it’s wired into your nervous system, if you see device generated objects hanging in the air in front of you, you can reach out with your hands and manipulate them in three dimensions. There are no more ‘screens’ anymore, simply blank spaces that provide a background contrast for better clarity. No more sore eyes either.

There’s lots more and, if you think this is all impossible, think again. We can already hijack the human nervous system for transmitting various pieces of information and they’re about to trial a retinal implant to give some sight back to people with macular degeneration. Who knows what they’ll be doing in 50 years?

So, anyone got a cool name?


PS: I could use one for the successor to the internet too, if you’ve got a moment. [Smile]

[ September 02, 2015, 07:53 AM: Message edited by: Grumpy old guy ]
Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Name exposition is powerful spirit magic that can shape an object, person, etc.'s, mythology development -- what a motif means to a story and to personas. The mythology matters substantively more than the name, for memorableness' sake.

Armor, archery, medicine, and millinery arenas offer possible names for an inner forearm digital interface. Greave, though a shin guard; arm guard, though emotionally flat, quiver; arm splint, splint, likewise flat; perhaps arm cuff. The triangular shape may evoke a geometric name -- trihedron. Neural science mixed with physics -- neuron or axion tap. Gardening -- trowel. Electricity -- catanion. The ergonomic action -- tap pad. Borrowed from finances, a credit card, just arm card -- card. Maybe shapes also, pyramid, or obelisk -- [Cleopatra's] Obelisk. From typography -- caret. Scrivening -- stylus, glyph, batten. Light -- lantern, lanthorn, wicket, [lighter] knot.

An evolved label for the Internet? [Processing.]

Edited to add: Proxy reality -- proxy, the Proxy. Aether. The two realms humans perceive are the mundane and metaphysical; the digital realm is perceived through those proxies, currently. Another, theoretical, way to perceive the Internet is as a living library archive, an embodied knowledge base and transmission channel thereof. The modern social framework is also embedded therein; that is, a folk community of what people make, say, do, believe, know, identify, share.

In other words, the Internet is a proxy through which people connect intimately to share though impersonally to the point the personal divide is all the way dispassionately fractured and disintegrated. An ironic state of affairs -- observable irony -- personal and impersonal extremes at the same time with neither intent intended. Maybe the Intent!? The Internet "place" a murderous melee of noble, really neutral, intentions, if any. Maybe the "place" is an assembly of contentious factions clamoring for preeminent pride of place. The playground recess game "King of the Hill." The Internet is the Hill.

Or, on the other hand, emphasize the Internet's affirmative values, like Equalizer -- too sophisticated a word. Commons in the ancient tradition of a community graze open to anyone's livestock is not too sophisticated. Possibly a label that doesn't take an adjective article "a," "an," or "the." Nor an adjective, period. A noncount common noun fits that bill. Enterprise, for example. Or a proper noun invention, like a country name, Neuropia, maybe -- neural utopia-dystopia.

[ September 03, 2015, 12:48 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Originally posted by extrinsic:

Name exposition is powerful spirit magic that can shape an object . . .

Too true. What I'm really looking for are names, both for the device and the Internet, that on the surface seem innocuous enough but, after reading the story you'll go, "Huh? now wait just a second! Does that mean what I think it means?"

Take The Web for example: Is it an interconnected web of communication channels allowing for the germination and flowering of ideas or-- a spider's web of deceit and intrigue leading to an ultimate downfall of society?

Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Irony's delights then are possibly what you seek -- the delightful incongruencies of surface and literal meaning and accessible hidden and figurative meaning though exalted from base victimization. Oxymoron, "Irish Bull," metaphor, multiple entendre, metalepsis, and so on, for example.

Here's an Irish Bull to ponder: Socrates took the tail of Athenian society by the horns.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
There are a number of anatomical aspects that relate to the anecdotal and euphemistic use of the term 'horns' as well as the term 'tail'. Some male and some female.

Ironic? I think it would depend on context. Socrates was a well known rabble-rouser and corrupter of youth [Smile] . So 'they' say. While irony has its uses, and valuable ones at that, to my mind it depends of the sophistication of the audience. Sci-fi irony may appeal to a select few, but for the masses who simply seek visceral enjoyment, I think a more literal approach is warranted.

Posted by extrinsic (Member # 8019) on :
Reading Wayne Booth's A Rhetoric of Irony, Booth notes a spectrum of irony access per reader aptitude. All readers understand some irony some of the time; some readers understand some irony all of the time; some irony no readers understand at any time. And irony arrives in situational and extended categories, stable and unstable, too.

Mass culture irony tends toward situational, stable, intentional, overt, fixed, and finite incongruencies, though of a relative temporal relation correspondence to immediate current events. The sarcastic ironies of the Hugo brouhaha, for example, though a niche culture, reflect the contentious social politics public debate across the world.

Accusations of Socrates' corruption of youth and blaspheme of the state religion that led to his conviction for those crimes and subsequent self-execution were trumped-up charges meant to end the "gadfly's" humiliations of Athenian leadership's self-interested irresponsibilities. He was framed. His error, though, was he wouldn't play Athenian consensus social politics power games and was thus universally loathed for his nuisance and vulnerable.

[ September 03, 2015, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
In thinking about a new name for the Internet, I think I will stick to the simple abbreviation: the net. Sounds innocuous enough and it is a word we all seem to be comfortable with, however, with the right setting and a slight change of emphasis the appellation, the net, can take on ominous overtones when referred to as: The Net. Just what sort of net is it and who controls it, really?

As for the Personal Digital Device, I’m still trying to come up with something that will sound innocent until you start to really think about it when ‘certain’ information is revealed to the reader.

Posted by wcoditwgth (Member # 10431) on :
Out of curiosity, how complex of a name do you want for this Personal Digital Device? Are you looking for something technical, as in Aerotech 66 Personal Helper Integration Service Interface, or something more common and simple to pronounce (For instance, a real world example would be the Octopus Card in Hong Kong, Yoyo card in Taiwan, and the U-Bike rental service)?

Edit: The I-You perhaps? [Wink]

[ September 10, 2015, 03:49 AM: Message edited by: wcoditwgth ]
Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
Something from mythology might be cool... Just as an example, Apollo was (among other things) the god of knowledge and medicine, but his arrows could also spread plague and disease.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
wcoditwgth, I'd like the name to be KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). In previous generations technical terms and the appellation of esoteric letter and number combinations was taken as an implicit guarantee that the item was cutting-edge technology incorporating the latest in 'wunder-lust effervescence'. In today's world, all you'll get is a "Meh!" from people who don't care about the technology so long as it gives them the 'experience' they're looking for. Just my opinion, of course.

DP, I like that idea. And, as the story is set in a mixed-race society in East Asia I have the whole gamut of mythologies to choose from, not just the European pantheon. Although, it would need to be a two-faced god, but I am somewhat taken by the idea of Loki--the god of mischief. Maybe I need to sleep on it a few times.

Posted by Disgruntled Peony (Member # 10416) on :
Oh, if you're looking for mischief makers or tricksters, there's all kinds. My personal favorites are Coyote (from various Native American mythos) and Anansi the Spider (from various African mythos). There's a fairly solid list to start from on Wikipedia:

Check the 'in oral stories' section. Considering the setting, you might want to consider the more Asian-influenced trickster types.

Sorry for the potential info overload. XD I've always had a personal fondness for the trickster archetype; I'm actually planning to feature Coyote (and potentially other animal spirits) in the novel I'm working on throwing together.
Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Of course, you know about Janus, the two-faced god who was two-faced so he could look backward and forward in time. Our month January is supposed to be named for him (allegedly because it's the month when the new year starts, but January hasn't always been that month - March was at one time).
Posted by ksari46 (Member # 10460) on :
Possible names for your device:

The TRiCOm 64C putting the automated future in your figure tips...

The Next-Generation BiGCom (Bio-genetic Communicator)...As fast as you can think it BiGCom will send it...maybe even before?

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2