Saturday, December 22, 2012


Carter is a name that pops up quite frequently in Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

First up is Sheriff Jack Carter from the recently cancelled Syfy series, Eureka. Sheriff Carter was styled after Sheriff Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith Show. He was the 'normal' guy in a town full of geniuses, although somehow he was always the one to figure out how to save the day when things go wrong. His daughter Zoe Carter and sister Lexi Carter also appeared on the show.

Samanta Carter was one of the original members on Stargate SG-1. She was an astrophysicist and a member of the U.S. Air Force. She's a strong role model for brainy girls. Her father, Jacob Carter, was an Air Force General. When he was dying of cancer, he agreed to join with a Tok'ra symbiote to save his life.

John Carter was the protagonist of the novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He's probably more familiar from the movie version, John Carter, which performed poorly in the United States. Despite the movie's failure, the character was a popular one. In the 1970s. Marvel had a series of comics based on the character called John Carter, Warlord of Mars.

Peggy Carter was the one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D was a love interest of Captain America. During World War II she was an agent for the Strategic Scientific Reserve.

Alice Carter was the daughter of Captain Jack Harkness in the Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood. Alice Carter was actually an alias, as her name had to be changed for her protection. She had a son, Steven Carter. Jack had to use his grandson to stop the 456, even though he knew Steven would die. 

Carter J. Burke was a character in the film Aliens. He wanted to use the Aliens for research and as bio-weapons. He planned to infect Ripley with Alien embryos in order to smuggle them. 

Sharon Carter aka Agent 13, was a Marvel character who was a secret agent and member of S.H.I.E.L.D. She was also the girlfriend of Captain America. Captain America had a earlier love interest, Peggy Carter, who was once considered Sharon's sister, then later her aunt. 

Carter was also a character in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television show. He was a human who studied martial arts under Master Splinter. He was able to turn into a large, yellow mutant.  

Edison Carter was a character in the British science fiction television show, Max Headroom. The show only lasted for 14 episodes and ran from 1987-1988. Edison Carter was a hard hitting reporter in the show.

Carter is a minor character in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. He was a student at Experiment House.

Carter is an English name that means 'one who uses a cart'. In 2011, Carter ranked as the 41st most popular name for boys. It was also given to 193 girls.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Amaterasu is a goddess of the Sun in the Japanese Shinto religion.

Amaterasu was a Goa'uld system lord in the television series Stargate SG-1. She was a minor character and only appeared in the episode New Order, parts 1 and 2, and was mentioned in two other episodes.

Amaterasu also appears in a self named manga series and others, including The Five Star Stories, and 666 Satan

Amaterasu is quite an unwieldly name, but it is very unique and beautiful. I could see Amy or Sue as nicknames, but they are so pedestrian compared to Amaterasu, that they almost detract from it. Perhaps she's best left to the middle spot.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Solara was a Marvel character created for the video game Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. She had superhuman agility, could manipulate fire, and had the ability to fly. Her real name was Reiko. She was the daughter of the wife of  the infamous Yakuza leader Kazuya Morimoto. Morimoto was away from his wife for a year, and when he found that she had given birth in another man's house, he set the house on fire. Reiko was found in the ashes of the home, completely unharmed. She was later experimented on by Niles Van Roekel, who placed alien crystals inside her body. These crystals gave her the ability to store large amounts of energy and then direct it at a target. 

Solara was also a character in the Book of Eli.  Solara was ordered to seduce Eli, but she was unsuccessful. She discovers that he is carrying the last copy of the Bible known to exist. She follows Eli on his travels, and after they lose the Bible, she takes him to Alcatraz, where he dictates the Bible from memory to a group who is intent on saving knowledge. 

Unfortunately, it was also used as the name of a Toyota model that was in production from 1988-2009. Perhaps that's not a deal breaker since it's not in production anymore.

Solara is an invented name that is derived from the word Solar. It was given to 71 girls in 2011. 

Update: Usage fell in 2014, with only 46 girls being given the name.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Other Geeky Names

Some other Name sites have posted some great geeky names recently! These sites are worth a read:

Baby Name Pondering profiles names from the T.V. show Sliders

Mer de Noms also discusses the Dwarves of the Hobbit.

Bewitching Names profiles two great astronomical names: Vega and Io

My Name Is Pabst gives us Rand, from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. 

Oh, and check out this post over at Baby Name Pondering. I'm a little dubious on using Pixel for a person, but it's adorable on that cat!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Bilbo Baggins was the main character of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. He was a minor character in The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo was hired by Gandalf and Thorin to help Thorin and his band of Dwarves to reclaim the dwarves' treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, he discovered the One Ring, which he thought was just an invisibility ring. In the Lord of the Rings, Bilbo left the Shire for Rivendell. Before he left, Gandalf discovered the true nature of the ring and persuaded him to leave it with Frodo. Bilbo lived out the rest of his life in Rivendell, where he wrote his memoir, which became The Hobbit

There is also an asteroid named 2991 Bilbo.

I like that you could use the nickname 'Bill', or 'Bo', and ends in 'O' names are very popular right now. Despite these attributes, Bilbo does not appear as a name in the Social Security Administration's name database. Unfortunately the name is too closely associated with the character to be usable as a first name for a child. It could be used as a quirky middle name, or as a name for a beloved pet.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Thorin Oakenshield is a character in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Thorin is a dwarf leader descended from Kings. I've never read the book, so I won't attempt to summarize the character myself. You can read all about him here. Thorin Oakenshield was also known as Thorin II. There is also a Thorin I and a Thorin III.

Thorin is probably the most usable name from the book. It sounds similar to Thorn, and Thor could be a possible nickname. The name was given to 27 boys in the United States in 2011.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Dwarves of the Hobbit

The Hobbit features a band of dwarves led by Thorin. They were Nori, Ori, Dori, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Bombur, Bofur, Bifur, Balin and Dwalin. I gave Thorin his own post which you can view here.

Nori, Ori and Dori were brothers, and were from a group of dwarves called Durin's Folk. All three brothers played the flute, and were remote kinsmen of Thorin.

Ori can also be found in the Stargate franchise as the name of god-like aliens that have ascended to another plane of existence.

Fili and Kili were also brothers, and were the youngest of the dwarves. Thorin was their uncle. They were often used as scouts.

Oin and Gloin were brothers and were cousins of Balin and Dwalin. Gloin was the father of Gimli, the dwarf that belonged to the Fellowship of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings.

Bombur and Bofur were brothers, and Bifur was their cousin. Bombur was known for being fat and late for everything. Bofur and Bifur both played the clarinet.

Balin and Dwalin were brothers. They both played the fiddle.

Although they seem less useable than other Tolkien names, some of the dwarves names have seen some limited use in 2011. The name Balin was given to 40 boys in 2011. Kili was given to 6 girls, this usage is probably not related to The Hobbit. It's probably more likely a variation of Kiley. Nori was given to 18 girls. I also doubt this is related to the Hobbit. Nori is also a boy's name in Japanese that means 'rule, or ceremony'. Ori was given to 53 boys, but it is also a Hebrew name that means 'my light'. Dori was given to 13 girls, most likely as a variation of Dora. Although Dori is a also a male Hebrew name meaning 'my generation'.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit might consider using the name of the author himself. Tolkien's full name is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. In addition to writing the above novels, Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon, English, and English Literature. He was born in South Africa to British parents, and moved to England at age 3.

Tolkien is a Norman surname that came to England after the Norman invasion. It refers to the town of Touques in Normandy, France. The current surname trend makes Tolkien usable, however, it does not appear at all on the Social Security Administration's database. I find that surprising given the number of fans he has.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Ellen Ripley was the hero of the Sci-Fi film series Alien. I have to preface this by saying that I have not seen any of the Alien movies. I love Sci-fi, but I'm a wuss when it comes to horror, and Alien always seemed too scary for me. That being said, Ellen Ripley is known for being a strong female protagonist that challenged stereotypes. 

Ripley is an English surname that means a farm whose land cuts a strip through the forest. It also comes from a town in Yorkshire of the same name. In 2011, the name Ripley was given to 31 girls and 9 boys.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Dune was the name of a popular Sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert. There were five sequels to the book, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. The series was later continued by his son and Kevin J Anderson, based on notes discovered after his death. 

Dune is set on the desert planet Arrakis thousands of years into the future. The people of Arrakis have evolved advanced physical and mental abilities. The most valuable substance in the Dune universe is a spice that is only found on Arrakis. The Dune civilization is ruled by rival noble houses.

For most people, Dune is a nature name, so if you're looking for something that doesn't scream 'geek', this would work. It is unusual, and doesn't appear in the Social Security name database. I think it's more suitable for boys. 

Oh, and check out this post over at Baby Name Pondering. I'm a little dubious on using Pixel for a person, but it's adorable on that cat!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nyota Uhura

Nyota Uhura was the communications officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original Star Trek. She was always referred to as Lieutenant Uhura in the original series and her first name was unknown. Although it was never definitively stated, various non-canon sources gave her name as Nyota, Penda, or Samara. It wasn't until the 2009 reboot of the franchise that her name was given as Nyota. 

Nyota means 'star' in Swahili and in Lingala.

Uhura was inspired by uhuru, the Swahili word for freedom. Nichols was reading the book Uhuru by Robert Ruark on the day she auditioned for Star Trek. When the meaning of the word was explained to Gene Roddenberry, he changed it to Uhura and used it for the character. 

Neither name appears in the Social Security Administration's database. I believe Nyota is the more usable of the two, as Uhura has become closely associated with the character. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


River Tam was the younger sister of Dr. Simon Tam on the series Firefly. She was a prodigy, and was sent to a private school which turned out to be a government experiment in creating the perfect assassin. After decoding a secret message she sent to him, Simon rescued her, and they both became fugitives. They took refuge on Serenity, with Simon becoming the ship's medic. Due to the experimentation on her mind, River had violent outbursts of emotion and psychic abilities. She was also incredibly skilled in hand to hand combat, performing in ways that no normal human could. 

River Song was a character in the modern version of Doctor Who. River was actually named Melody Pond, and was the daughter of Amelia Pond and Rory Williams. Melody's name was translated to River Song by Lorna Bucket of the Gamma Forest. Pond wasn't translatable because the only water in the forest was the river. River was kidnapped as an infant and trained to kill the Doctor. She escaped and grew up alongside her parents as their childhood friend. She and the Doctor kept meeting each other out of order, and she kept a journal of their meetings. She spent much of her time in prison, which she routinely escaped from and returned to. She was imprisoned for killing the Doctor, although it ended up being just a replica of him. The first time the Doctor met her was when she died, having sacrificed herself to save others trapped in a Library computer. The Doctor saved her by transferring her consciousness to the computer where she was able to live forever in a simulation. 

In 2011, River ranked at #424 for boys, and was #913 for girls.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ray Bradbury was one of the greatest Science Fiction writers of all time. His Dandelion Wine was the first Science Fiction novel I ever read. He's best known for Fahrenheit 451, and The Martian Chronicles"Bradbury Landing" is a location on Mars that was named after Ray Bradbury. Bradbury Landing is the landing site of the NASA rover, Curiosity.

Bradbury is an English surname that refers to a fort made of planks or boards. It fits in with the current surname as first name trend, and Brad is a potential nickname. It has never ranked in the top 1000 in the United States.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Vala Mal Doran of Stargate SG-1 was once the host of a Goa'uld symbiote named Qetesh. After being freed by the Tok'ra, she became a planet hopping con artist. She attempted to steal Earth's first starship, Prometheus, but was thwarted by Daniel Jackson. She later sought out Daniel's help and through a piece of Goa'uld technology, became linked to him. Since they could not be apart without either of them dying, Vala stayed at Stargate Command, and eventually reformed enough to become a member of SG-1 herself. She was mother of the Orici, Adria, and in an alternate timeline, became lovers with Daniel Jackson. 

The Valar of Middle Earth are a race of angelic beings. Vala is the singluar form of the name. They are mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, but are mostly dealt with in the second part of The Silmarillion. They are the Powers of Arda (the world). They shaped the world and created beauty to counter the darkness of Melkor, aka Morgoth, from whom all evil in Middle Earth comes.

Vala is also the anglicized name of Völva, a shamanic seeress in Norse mythology. An asteroid, 131 Vala, was named for Völva.

There is a programming language called Vala

Vala is also a real name of Germanic origin. It means 'singled out'. According to the Social Security Administration, 13 girls were given the name Vala in 2011.