Naming Things: A Slice of My Process


I am, as you know (Bob), a big user of Translation Convention, both within and without universe. (Within, in the sense that when it comes time for the linguists of the Imperial Exploratory Service to build a new translation database when they’re about to contact someone new, they do the equivalent of buying copies of the entire speculative fiction section of, on the grounds that that’s the easiest and most practical way to find reasonable cognates  for technologies they have and the worldbound civilization about to meet them doesn’t. Without, in that I am obvs. doing essentially this considering I’m writing in English, belike.)

And among my assorted varieties of phlebotinium, I have this metal, see. It’s a synthetic element, kind of reddish in color, and remarkably useful in a variety of ways, starting with being a high-temperature superconductor and moving on from there. Now, I don’t think it would be long before the translator-writing chappies would be able to dig “orichalcum” out of the old database for a reddish metal of outre properties.

But, y’know, I like to think about things a bit, put my own stamp on them, that sort of thing, and for that matter, comply with the general convention that except for those grandfathered in, back in the day, element names generally end in -ium. As would, say, any new ones developed *here* .

Hmm. Do we think orichalcium would be a reasonable coinage for this stuff?