Titles, Titles

As I said in the previous post, I’m debating whether to change the title of the book I have been writing all these many years as Sunborn. The main reason is that another SF novel was published in the last year or so called The Sunborn. Now, you can’t copyright titles, so that’s not the issue. Causing confusion among readers and booksellers, however, might be an issue.

I’ve always liked the title Sunborn, and it’s one of those rare cases where I actually thought of a title I liked right off the bat as I sketched out the idea for the story, so that makes me reluctant to let go of it, also. On the other hand…there is that confusion thing.

So I’m thinking of calling it Starborn instead.

(The story is set in the star nursery of the Orion Nebula, where stars–suns–are born. And where there is trouble in Star River City.)

If you folks out there in blogland would like to be my focus group and weigh in with your opinions, I’d be glad to hear them.

0 Responses

  1. Charlza
    | Reply

    I like Starborn.

    When I think of a Sun, I automatically think of our Sun. You know, the one right outside. The one you see day in and out.

    Yet, when I think a star, I think of Sagan’s ‘Billions and billions’ further out there just dying to be explored.

  2. tsmacro
    | Reply

    Well I do like Sunborn better than Starborn, for some reason Sunborn just “feels more personal” to me somehow. Maybe it’s just my warm fuzzy memories of nice days under in the sunshine, where stars make me think of night time and darkness. Of course you could try something completely different like “Born of Fire”. On the other hand that sounds more like a title for fantasy book. Oh well now i’ve just rambled on and probably haven’t helped at all! *L* Sorry!

  3. substandardTim
    | Reply

    When I started reading your post I thought “what about Starborn?” and then 2 sentences later there it was.

    I like it but for whatever reason I catch myself thinking “Stubborn” instead. But I might be crazy too.

    How about the “The Cradle of Stars”?

  4. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Thanks for the comments; still thinking and gathering opinions.

  5. Anonymous
    | Reply

    I too would endorse Starborn, though a slight modification of someone else’s suggestion, A Cradle of Stars, sounds appealing too.

  6. Kitty
    | Reply

    I came up with the same thoughts as Tsmacro (independently). So I agree, Sunborn seems “warmer,” and Starborn sounds more “cool” and starry nights.

    “Star daycare” probably doesn’t cut it, huh? 🙂

  7. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    I actually have the same feelings re Sunborn more personal, Starborn more “cool” and far off. But then, of course, they are far away. On the other hand, they’re sentient, which makes them more personal.

    Tim’s suggestion of Cradle of Stars is on the table, also–my editor liked it a lot. In fact, it was his top pick. I like it, too, though I’m a little concerned that it sounds too nice and cozy–whereas there’s danger in them thar nebulas!

    Here’s the current short list:

    Cradle of Stars
    Really Cranky Stars Go to Their Deaths–Or Do They?
    Bad RAM from a Faroff Place, a Long Time Ago

    All can be considered to be, in some fashion, true to the story. 🙂

  8. Kitty
    | Reply

    Now, I know that this would be too cutesy: you could keep “Cradle of Stars” and hint at the danger using Rockabye Baby as your epigraph…. 😉

    Even less serious: Call it “A Star is Born” and end it with “Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Bandicut!”

  9. substandardTim
    | Reply

    I feel honored that my suggestion is in the running. 🙂

    Personally I like a title that gives the impression of warm fuzzies but hides danger underneath. Kind of like in dramatic movies when they are playing a happy upbeat song in the background that shouldn’t fit but somehow makes it even scarier. Also there’s a bit of something mystical in the idea of a “star nursery” I think.

  10. Charlza
    | Reply

    I’d like to change my vote now 🙂 Cradle of Stars does sound pretty cool!

    SubstandardTim: I’d sure hate to be anywhere near a baby sub who threw a tempertandrum!

    Here’s a link to an article I read last week about the most massive solar flare ever seen. It came from the Pegasus Constellation.


  11. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Thanks, all. I’m leaning toward Cradle of Stars, which here and elsewhere has been the leading contender. One reason I’ve decided I like it is that it echoes (for me, anyway) the familiar phrases Cradle of Mankind and Cradle of Civilization. And when you line it up with the previous 3 titles, it seems to work well:

    Neptune Crossing
    Strange Attractors
    The Infinite Sea
    Cradle of Stars

    I’ll let you know. (Meanwhile, I’ve got to get the revisions finished!)


  12. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    A new entry I’m seriously considering:

    Crucible of Stars

  13. tsmacro
    | Reply

    Definitions of ‘crucible’
    (krūsə-bəl) – 3 definitions – The American Heritage® Dictionary
    crucible (n.) A vessel made of a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain, used for melting and calcining materials at high temperatures.
    crucible (n.) A severe test, as of patience or belief; a trial. See synonyms at trial
    crucible (n.) A place, time, or situation characterized by the confluence of powerful intellectual, social, economic, or political forces:“Macroeconomics . . . was cast in the crucible of the Depression” (Peter Passell)

    Pretty powerful defintions there for “crucible”. Definitely gives the title a different feel than “cradle” to be sure.

  14. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Yes, it does. But would it make you more likely to pick the book up and look at it?

  15. substandardTim
    | Reply

    I still lean towards Cradle of Stars but I might be biased 🙂

    In my best attempt at being unbiased….Crucible has a bit of the more serious tone I think that you seemed to want. At the same time though I think it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Cradle of Stars.

  16. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    That is precisely my feeling, Tim. Cradle of Stars rolls off the tongue very well. Crucible, not so much.

    But Crucible has a suggestion of fire, pressure, intensity that I like a lot. (And appropos, given that my crew wind up in a star, trying to keep it from blowing up.)

    They’re both appropriate. But which would attract more readers (readers who would like the book) — that’s the question!

  17. substandardTim
    | Reply

    That is a tough question. Does wrapping your tongue around a title make people more likely to wrap their hands around the book? I don’t think anyone’s done a research project on that yet.

    Crucible would fit the storyline a bit better, but in reality who would read “Cradle of Stars” and get to the end of it and say “man if only he had used crucible in the title”

    Again, I feel like I don’t have unbiased thoughts on the subject.

  18. tsmacro
    | Reply

    “Cradle” does roll off the tongue easier . Personally if I saw “Crucible” on the cover instead it wouldn’t make me say “ooooh a more interesting and/or intense word in the title I must pick it up”. I suppose if you’re really liking the word crucible though you could always try some combination like “Crucible Cradle of Stars”. In any case you’re going to have to find someone who isn’t planning to buy the book to get an honest/unbiased opinion as to which title “grabs” them. After all probably everyone here would buy the book no matter what you call it.

  19. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    My family is divided. My agent and editor both slightly prefer Crucible. But I just did a search on Amazon, and there are about a thousand books, some of them SF, with Crucible in the title. (I had no idea.) Actually, there were 29,729 results when I searched “crucible” in books!

    I’m now leaning back toward Cradle.

    I’ll probably make up my mind in the next few days.

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