Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From the desk of N. Cognito

As it turns out, neither of my publishers wants there to be confusion between David Isaak and David Whoever, so we're back on the pen name trail again.

So, what are the names of some pens? David Sheaffer? David Cross? David Biro? David Bic? Or, to take a page from Len Montblanc-Meisterst├╝ck (nee LC Tyler), David Montblanc? Other pen possibilities:


David Yard-O-Led is appealing, but perhaps a bit distracting.

There are also the generic foreign-language terms for pen:


but they all sound a touch, well, foreign.

Quiller? Penner? Scribner/Scrivener?

I've always admired Anne Rice's pen name for her S&M porn, AN Roquelaure, which is a slightly archaic French term for "cloak". And perhaps I could get somewhere with "Henshin" which sounds valid enough but is Japanese for "disguise". Anyone have any obscure and interesting words for "disguise," "cloak", or "mask"? (No, David Persona doesn't seem to work.)

Anagrams are always good, but I think "Isaak" has too many vowels. I can't turn it into anything. Maybe I could adopt Iain Banks' first name and add that into the mix: Iain Isaak = aaa iii k n s. If nothing else, I could form a Hawaiian place name, like Ka'a'ani'isi. (Not quite right--Hawaiian has no "s".)

Though "Sanders" was good enough for Pooh, it's a little generic.

At the moment, I'm leaning towards a tip of the hat to JRR Tolkein: the name Isaak isn't to be mentioned outside The Shire, so I'll go traveling by the name of Underhill. David Underhill. DT Underhill.

Or, since so many fantasy writers have three first names (JRR Tolkein. George RR Martin, MFW Curran), maybe I need three initials: A.B.C. Biro. David R.R. Montblanc. I.M.A. Yard-O-Led.

I always liked George Harrison's pseudonym when he played on the Cream song Badge: L'Angelo Misterioso. But it's been done.

Or perhaps the name is Bond. James Bond. That's got a certain ring to it.


Faye L. said...

Sad but true - I'm pretty sure I already know my alias. It's amusing on a couple of levels, because the first part of it is the same as a character I've created (pure coincidence, as it happens), and when spoken out loud as a whole it forms a cheesy Victorian pun that sounds like something a showgirl would adopt. I figure I'm bound to end up writing some pseudonymous out-and-out erotica on eventually anyway (on the side - ooer), so I might as well have the sleazy name to go with it.

Rob in Denver said...

How 'bout Bic Flicker? Or P. E. Nname? Or Irwin M. Fletcher? Scratch that one. It's taken.

Riffin on "pen name":
Nam Neep? Peen Man? Pee Mann?

D. I. UseYourMiddleName?

Stephen King?

Janet said...

My vote has already been cast.

David Isaak said...

Hi, Faye--

I'm sure we all look forward to your erotica, so don't keep it too big a secret--at least give your fans here some advance notice.

My sister was always threatening to change her name to Peaches Flambeau...

David Isaak said...

Hi, Rob--

"D. I. UseYourMiddleName?"

I guess that would be DI Thomas. (Sort of reminiscent of DM Thomas of "The White Hotel".) Isn't "DI" an acronym title of some sort--Detective Inspector or something?

"Stephen King?"

Now there's a thought...

David Isaak said...

Hi, Janet--

Isaac Davidson is still in the running. I always admired sci-fi writer Avram Davidson (author of the wonderful short story "Or All the Seas WIth Oysters"). Maybe people would think we were related?

Alis said...

Can i vote for I.M.A Yard-o-Led? Just because it makes me chortle every time I think of it!

Matt Curran said...

Mmmm… Tricky one. I would still go for something based entirely on your own name. Harking back to Isaak Davidson, how about I.David? I know that sounds a bit like I-Pod, or I-Mac, or even I, Robot, but...

Nikwdhmos said...

David Stylo or Isaak Stylo are pretty ... um ... stylish? :)

Scribner's funny but obvious.

Quiller is kind of cool. Might steal that one myself.

David Thayer said...

When in doubt always consult The Big Lebowsky. You're pen name is The Dude.

David Isaak said...

At the minimum, Alis, I'll try to locate a Yard-O-Led pen. And if I decide to go with three initials, they might well be Y.O.L.

Matt, do you think even more than one "I" might work? I.I. Davidson? Or does that sound like a stutter? I.I.I. Davidson? Or does that sound like a Mexican folk song? (Arriba!)

Nikwd, you're welcome to "Quiller." If I decide to use it too, we'll just claim to be related.

Ah, Mr. Thayer--count on you to reach for the classics. If I recall Lebowsky's rules, that would also allow me, "if you're not into the whole brevity thing," to be refered to as "Your Dudeness" and "El Dude-a-rino." So E.L. Duderino? (Nah--sounds too much like E.L. Doctorow.)

Jake Jesson said...

"Henshin" actually refers to transformation. The word is used approximately 5 million billion times in various Japanese-imported TV shows (including anime, etc). People sometimes even yell it as a sort of catch phrase when changing into their super-powered forms.

Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IfKoOluHRo

Believe it or not, the show that clip comes from - Kamen Rider Blade - is actually pretty good. That's the word for mask in Japanese, by the way - "Kamen". ("Masked Rider", in this case. Yes, "Rider" and "Blade" are in the original title, in one of many Japanese uses of Gratuitous English.)

As for psuedonyms - just add apostrophes and stir, right? Oh, wait, that's the rule for Really Authentic Sounding Alien Names... got mixed up there a moment. I'll get back to you on that. Though if you want to keep a Coherent Identity thing, why not use the "D. I. SurName" construction?

David Isaak said...

Ahem. "Transformation" is ONE meaning of "henshin", and certainly the one more Americans would be familiar with.

The word has seven or eight major meanings. Transform, metamorphose, and disguise are related meanings.

It can also mean turned aside or deflected. It can also mean "to answer" or reply.

It can also mean unreliability, wishy-washy, or renunciation of belief.