Picking names for your sci fi characters for the near future isn’t too bad – just use some of the more modern recent names, throw in a curve ball or two, and you’re golden.
But what about when you’re dealing with the far-flung future? Or with an alien race?
For your average human in the 25th century, you probably don’t want to go with Brittany, Chelsea, Justin or Tom. But you also have to be careful not to go too far in the other direction and come up with names that people will find too strange and hard to remember, so your Dafilfix and Vromwurt are probably out too.
On the alien side, if and when we meet an alien race, their names will probably be hard for us to pronounce. I’m looking at you, Drqwyxamzqan (loosely translated, he who was born under the double sun). But again, you have to manage to make the names relatable to your reader. So do you give them nick-names (like “Drax” in the aforementioned example)?
In gay fiction, I’d say it’s even harder, especially if you’re writing MM sci fi romance, because your future names should also be sexy. I mean, who wants to read about the love story between Drqwyxamzqan and Floyd? Much better, the affair between Dylan and Drax that shook the Veridian Alliance (see what I did there?).
So my question today – how do you name your sci fi characters, alien or human, when the setting is far removed from today? Do you use any special tools or sites to find good names? And for readers, do strange names put you off in sci fi?