titles...

Philip.Belben at pgen.com Philip.Belben at pgen.com
Fri Jul 30 13:22:14 EDT 1999



[Sally's list of titles]


> A Ring of Endless Light

Isn't that a quotation from Henry Vaughan?

I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great[?] Ring of pure and endless Light
While round beneath it Time in hours, days, years,
Measured by the spheres,

[sorry, can't remember the rest - something about "world" rhyming with "hurl'd"]

> To Sail Beyond the Sunset

Yes, excellent title.  I hadn't noticed because I disliked the book so much.


My own views on titles:

I don't like titles that contain a gratuitous proper noun.  H M Hoover's
"Children of Morrow" is a glaring example - Morrow is merely the name of a
historical personage (historical in the context of the sci-fi setting, that is)
whose name was chosen to make a title that sounded good.  But "Howl's Moving
Castle", "Dark Lord of Derkholm"  and "Wilkins' Tooth" are also in this class,
though less bad because the name is not being used in such a deceptive way.

I don't mind proper nouns where they do have an independent significance -
"Eight Days of Luke" (If you haven't read the book, it would spoil the story to
tell you the significance)


I do like titles that make imaginitive use of an otherwise ordinary phrase -
"The Homeward Bounders", "Power of Three" and "Dogsbody" are good examples here.

I also like titles that make you think twice about what you think you saw as
your eyes wandered across the book - "East of Midnight" (Tanith Lee), "The Moon'
s Wife" (A A Attanasio), "The Reluctant Widow" (Georgette Heyer) - or titles
that seem to invite you into another world - "The Spellcoats", "The Winter
Players" (Tanith Lee again).  Terry Brooks's "Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold"
works this way, but is a little ponderous.

Quotations - like the Vaughan above, or "A Tale of Time City"  - can work if you
can rely on potential readers to recognise the quote.  In general, I don't
approve, though.

Must go.  More replies next week - I hope!

Philip.






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