Are you a science fiction writer looking to add some new object to your fictional universe? Maybe a culture in your story needs some kind of unique dish that is mentioned in the story to help flesh out that world. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to create a long list of names for objects in a story that are completely alien and that are at least somewhat decipherable. This leads to a common theme in many science fiction franchises with an alien species that gets explored in great detail. Eventually you’re likely to see something along the lines of [Species Name here] [Human Noun here].
Star Trek has created a long list of original names for things in the many alien cultures that exist in its universe. In fact, Star Trek boasts one of the most comprehensive languages featured in fiction, Klingon. Still, it is quite easy to see examples of this simple formula all over the Star Trek universe. Romulan ale, Saurian brandy, and Bolian soufflé all being examples in terms of foods and drinks. There’s also the difficult-to-acquire Tholian silk, Cardassian pinochle, and all kinds of variants on Earth diseases such as Ankaran flu or Rigelian fever.
This week’s poll asks you what you think of this common naming convention. Is it just a simple trick used by writers that is understandable, or does it break your immersion? Coming up with an entire alien lexicon is a worldbuilding task that not every writer or author will find to be worth the cost.