Tuesday, 13 July 2010

World Names: Firefly

I apologise in advance as this post will likley just turn into a long list of names - but I've been watching firefly and playing Halo recently and I'm quite interested in the direction creators take for naming their worlds, all the worlds in Firefly fit, from classy Alliance worlds with mythological names, to remote border moons with simple descriptive titles.

We'll start off with the Core Worlds - these are often named after ancient Gods or famous people, perhaps reflecting the scientific community's penchant for naming heavenly bodies after such things today. I guess it also reflects the civilization of the Alliance, wanting to name their w0rlds after majestic and great things to reflect the new civilizations they build.

Ariel- perhaps not named after the mermaid it is still a fanciful title. As opposed to the Wild Frontier of most worlds featured this world features a large, clean cityscape. The Serenity crew pull off a heist at a hospital here.

Beaumonde - French for 'the fashionable world'. Again, directly named to reflect the civilization of the world. It features a larger city and an industrial district, where the crew meet their contacts at the start of Serenity.

Bellerophon - Named for the Greek hero, this is a playground world for the uber-wealthy and uber-classified who live on secure, floating villas over the sea with servants aplenty and robotic drones to remove their trash. The crew break into one of the estates to steal a priceless artifact.

Miranda - Not necessarily named after a character, maybe just it's discoverer. SPOILERS - this is has spacious cities in a lush green world, but it was the site of an Alliance experiment to release a compound to calm the population, which killed most and turned the rest into horrific Reavers. Central to the plot of Serenity.

Osiris - Named after an Egyptian God, this is where Simon Tam worked as a Surgeon before becoming a fugitive to rescue his sister. Likely also the world where they grew up.

Persephone - Named after the Greek Goddess, this world has a mix of elegant culture with fancy balls and gentleman quarrels solved by sword duels, and shady urban areas run by smuggler kingpins like Badger. The crew pick up their passengers on this world and return there for business.

Boros - not sure why the name, but an Alliance world where Serenity was headed at the start of her adventure.

Pelorum - Again not sure on the name, possibly more in the 'sound futuristic' phase, in one comic the crew take a holiday on this world after a successful heist.

Sihnon - Named with a more Chinese name, to reflect the strong Chinese influence of the colonies. This is the homeworld of the Companions and their training houses.

Greenleaf - An Alliance world with a more pragmatic title this time, more akin to the border planets.

Ok, onto the border planets and moons, these tend to have more descriptive names, showing what the world looks like and certainly not harping back to some ancient mysticism when there's work to be done just to stay alive.

Haven - Named because it is a safe place, beyond Alliance control generally. The world is a place where the Serenity crew go between heists. The world was hit by the Alliance in an attempt to get to the crew.

Higgin's Moon - Named after the owner who uses indentured workers to make big business making ceramics. After a botched heist where he he had to ditch his cargo to get away Jayne Cobb became a folk hero.

Jiyangin - Again reflecting the Chinese influence this planet has a small settlement where the crew offload cargo, there are also hill folk who live primitive lives.

Lilac - Named for how it looks from space the crew pull off a heist here when the world is attacked by Reavers.

Regina - A mining colony, advanced enough to feature Mag-Lev trains, but not enough to get medicine to cure a disease caused by work in the mines.

Santo - named 'Saint', this is a primitive world. The crew get into on of their many barfights here.

St. Albans - named after the Scottish town, this snowy world is home to a former associate of Mal's

Triumph - an optimistic title given by settlers, this world features primitive traditions which meant that Mal got inadvertently married.

Whitefall - Again a descriptive tile - the crew pull off a job here, with the usual accompaniment of violence.

Constance - Named by the puritan values held by many settlers, the crea pull of a heist on this world.

Madcap - named for it's wildly changing weather conditions, this world is a hot-spot for extreme-adventure junkies. Wash made a delivery here before joining Serenity.

New Melbourne - named after the Australian city, this is an ocean world famous for it's fishing.

Shadow - likely a dark world, this is where Mal was raised.

Three Hills - likely named after the original settlement, this was mentioned as a possibility of work for the crew.

I've gone on a bit, but I think World Names are a fascinating insight into the creative team's vision for what humanity will be like in the future, what we name an entire planet after surely indicates something of our nature.

It makes me wonder what I'd name a planet after, would I name it after me, would i trawl through my books for the most fanciful name I could find, or look at it to see what it evoked. What about you? What would you call your world?

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