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What's in a Book Title?



  • Writing an advert blurb for “Roads Less Travelled” two days ago, I wanted to say something about all the things that go right or wrong on the roads. And jotted “haps and mishaps” down. Then looked it up – It’s used in the title of a book written in 1909, republished in 1973, “Haps and mishaps on a Tour of Europe” by Ashley Nova Trimble (USA). It’s surprising how often I “invent” a word, mostly in SF, only to find it used to be common, but fell out of use somewhere between the Domesday Book and WWII.

  • Like INFINITY or AD INFINITUM – I was toying with title ideas for a future SF book, as one does, and thought of 20+ spelling variations on these names – including Innphynitee, Outfinity, Minus Infinitum – that’s a fashion thing. But they’ve all been grabbed by someone else. And it’s not good to be second with an idea.

  • So I’ll have to invent a word from scratch – perhaps look up words deep in astro-physics or new elements, star names, legendary god, Aunty Edie’s middle name, and so on. I’ll let you know how I get on. Quantum Harmonic occurred to me, but the definitions of it on the net simply define it in terms of itself, not with new and little words – you have to know what it means to understand the definition. Idiotas.

  • Not that there is any rush – I was playing with covers and assemblages of stories last weekend, based on things 80% completed anyway, and have several more Sci-fi books in the wings, “Continuum”, “Further Yet” and “Beyond”. The picture for the “Beyond” front cover was completed nearly two years ago, but it’s been sitting quietly in a folder waiting for the right time. In the same folder, there’s another cover I played with a long time ago – with Mercury and a sailing ship. It still awaits an appropriate title and story. They’ll all change – exact title, font type, placing, etc ­ – but playing with them adds a touch of variety to each locked-down day.

  • That’s changed already – since I wrote this for the Subscribers’ Newsletter: I decided on the title for the last one. It was largely a case of deciding it needed a small-word title, so it could be fairly large print, easily visible from a distance, or on a small screen. It had to be a sharp word – with hard consonants and vowels, and not one used by anyone else. And it would have to have some meaning – name of a person or planet, perhaps. Having thought of something, I had to write a story with that word in it – someone or something significant. I used a story idea I’d jotted down a few days earlier, wrote it up to about ten A4 pages, and now have it sitting on one side, waiting to be polished up. Next year, I expect. I quite like both the story and the cover.

  • Sounds easy? It took about five days,





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