Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Dangers of Near-Future Science Fiction.

Yep, facts yet again catch up with prediction. It's happened to me before, in the realm of mobile GPS, where technology has overtaken my predictions with a vengeance, and at about the time conjectured in the story. This time we're talking about personal armor. The fabric I called 'Inertialite' in the original version of System Crash—written ten years or more ago and so-far-unpublished and requiring major re-writing—was an extension of a technology based on similar design principles; only I used ceramic-type nano fibers rather than a liquid-based technology. I still think that in the end we'll be using more like something I conjectured, or maybe a mix of the two; and I think radiation-protecting suiting will probably also be developed from this kind of materials-technology thinking.

Still, technology has caught up with me, and the name I had given to the material—'inertialite'—has also been stolen as a .com domain name. So I'm inventing another, which means I'll have to do a global search-and-replace in Fontaine and Tethys as well, because it's used there, too—in its distant future version. Meaning another edition for those. Grrrr... More delays for the publishing process. That'll learn me to check the damn internet for names first. Grrrrrrrrrr...

Spilt milk. Water down the river. Humpty Dumpty on the ground. Lesson learned. Bygones. Time to find an alternative. I've been wracking my brain, searching for alternatives. Lots came to mind, but none flowed as nicely as 'Inertialite'. The drawback with that name was it's obvious connection to current-day US spelling. There is, of course, the option of the other spelling, 'Inertialight', but that never did it for me.

So I did some looking around for names. Do you know how difficult it is to find a name that sounds good, makes sense and isn't hogged by someone as a domain name? I considered not going for a new name at all then. How about 'classical' names from mythology and legend. Achilles. Siegfried. Those two had been endowed with skins impervious to penetration, even though both had what you might call 'soft spots'.

The names, however, didn't 'work' for me. I was looking for 'product' names that would fly and persist for a long time. Come to think about it, 'Inertialite' really wasn't one of those either; so maybe having it nuked by contingency wasn't such a bad thing. The worst aspect of this is 'inconvenience', because I have to create a new edition of my books again.

So what about the name though? In the end the solution came with some more browsing and saying words out aloud and seeing what they looked like. Also, a non-existing domain name would be useful. No need to tread on someone's toes. And so I finally chanced upon 'Dragon Skin', which is a registered trademark for a kind of advanced body armor that's been in the news in the last year and more—'news' for those who are into that kind of thing. Seemed like a nice option, but it's never a good idea to go up against potentially litigious situations here; not even for a writer of fiction. So I tried the Latin version. 'Dragon'='draco'. 'Skin'='dermis'. 'Dragon-skin'='dermis-draconis'. Ahh, not quite.

So how about 'dracoderm'? Ha! No domain name in sight for that one, and it sounds kinda cool and in a way more timeless, if you will, than does the English version.

Henceforth then, 'Inertialite' will become 'Dracoderm'. Search-and-replace coming up. Should be a straightforward job. Actually, Fate, I didn't write what you think I just wrote. I know you're easily tempted and that nothing is ever 'straightforward'. So please, pretty please, do not feel tempted. And the folks at Pinnacle Armor should love me for the free plug of their product.

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