Created By: BlueGuy on September 21, 2012 Last Edited By: BlueGuy on October 20, 2012
Troped

A Planet Named Zok

Pronounceable alien planet (and other) names that use high-scoring letters in Scrabble.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Oftentimes, fictional aliens have bizarre names with Z's, G's, and apostrophes. So it should come to no surprise to any Genre Savvy Science Fiction viewer that the planets, moons, stars, and other celestial objects from which the aliens hail from carry on this strange tradition - despite the fact that they still use the human alphabet and can still be pronounced by English speakers?

Most of these planets use lots of "weird" letters (ones that are often utilized in Scrabble Babble), like X, K, Z, Q, R, and N. - given their underuse in regular words, using them in alien contexts works all the better for writers.

Among other variants include planets that follow the "X-tar" or "X-lar" pattern. A few planets end with "I". Oftentimes, they're Punny Names.

Sometimes, it becomes a Brick Joke when a planet like this is first introduced, then finds itself utilized in Scrabble Babble (as mentioned above).

While the trope may seem a bit hypocritical on the part of us humans, given that Mars (for example) is kind of a strange name, bear in mind that it has roots in Roman mythology, and the term has managed to become a standard term to our species.

A Sub-Trope of Law of Alien Names. Compare Numbered Homeworld. See also Xtreme Kool Letterz.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • The late and ever-iconic Krypton counts.

Fan Fic

Film

Newspaper Comics
  • The original Calvin and Hobbes also had this in the various alien worlds that Spaceman Spiff found himself crash-landing on.
  • The Zorgons of Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, who come from the planet Zorgo.
  • An extremely early Dilbert strip has cow-looking aliens from the planet Moothron visit Dogbert.

Literature
  • Planets mentioned in the Cthulhu Mythos have especially weird names, the most obvious example being Yuggoth.
  • Some of the planets in Outernet, like Vered II, fit.

Live-Action TV
  • Downplayed example: Alf's recently-destroyed home planet was named Melmac, which was also an old brand of plastic dishware.
  • Rita Repulsa and her crew, when making some monsters to combat the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, would sometimes comment that they had done well in committing genocide on a certain planet named like this.
  • When Russell T Davies was talking about a more Earth-bound Doctor Who, the widely distributed pull-quote was something like "The audience doesn't care about the Zogs from Planet Zog". And then he gave us the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius.
    • In-series, several planets fit the convention (like Skaro, the Daleks' home planet).

Video Games

Web Animation

Web Comics
  • Downplayed quite a bit in Homestuck with the troll planet Alternia.

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life
  • According to Scientology, the planet we live on was previously called "Teegeeack" before Xenu deposited humanity there.
Community Feedback Replies: 82
  • September 21, 2012
    MrRuano
    The Neverhood has planet Idznak, home of the Skullmonkeys. (Where the sequel takes place)
  • September 21, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    That's not a good name, since merely having a bizarre name doesn't indicate that it's about bizarre names. The laconic actually makes a better title.

    Then again, what makes an alien world have a bizarre name or normal?
  • September 21, 2012
    aurora369
    Planets mentioned in the Cthulhu Mythos have especially weird names. The most obvious example is Yuggoth, but it's not the only: our own Uranus, for example, is called L'gyhc.
  • September 22, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^^ Personally, I like the former title more. I titled it "A Planet Named Zok" to convey that it's about bizarrely-named planets. Besides, if we're not talking about Earth or any of the known planets, then it's implied that it's an alien one! It all makes sense!
  • September 22, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ The point is that alien worlds have odd names, and that doesn't say "this trope is about weird named of these worlds"
  • September 22, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ Would "An Alien Planet Named Zok" work? Or is that too lengthy and I should just go back to "Bizarrely-Named Alien Planet"?

    (Honestly, I think "Zok" is a pretty strange name, and it was intended as such by the author of the trope-naming work.)
  • September 22, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Being something is not an indicator that the trope is about that thing. That's why character named tropes are discouraged, and place named tropes aren't much better.
  • September 22, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ At this point, I'm kind of torn between adamantly defending the original name or giving up and altering it back.

    I'll reiterate: the name shows that it's about a planet that is not in our solar system (i.e. alien) with a strange, non-standard name. That is what the trope is. If others disagree with me, I'll gladly change it back with no further discussion.
  • September 23, 2012
    Telcontar
    Zok is an alien name; I got the trope from A Planet Named Zok instantly. It's also a far better name than Bizarrley Named Alien Planet, since that is longer and not catchy.
  • September 23, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Not sure Zok is "bizarre" enough to get the point across. Planet Zkqqxfp? Although that might cause a problem with getting the links right.
  • September 23, 2012
    Telcontar
    Hm. We could redirect farm and have A Planet Named Zok and Bizarrley Named Alien Planet as redirects, making it easy to find and link to, with the main title as A Planet Named Zkqqxfp for fun.
  • September 23, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Personally, I'm in the "Clear, Concise, Witty" camp, and A Planet Named Zkqqxfp has two things against it:

    1) The redirects would have more wicks than the actual page, making it pointless to have the page named as such.

    2) It's too... word-salad-y to be a good title. We renamed Yes But What Does Zataproximetacine Do to Side Effects Include for this very reason.
  • September 23, 2012
    Telcontar
    Point and point. "Zok" is fine.
  • September 23, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Zok" still doesn't indicate "this trope is about how alien planets have odd names".

    Then again, don't most aliens give their own stuff off names?
  • September 23, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Does the planet Irk from invader aim count? Also I am not sure how clear if a planets name is "bizarre".
  • September 23, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ 1. Yeah, that counts.

    2. Generally, the trope's about alien planets with strange names (by our standards). As the description says, they generally have Z's and K's in their names, and sometimes follow the template of "[something]-tar".
  • September 23, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Still, merely having those letters in the name does not indicate that it's about having those letters.
  • September 24, 2012
    Ryusui
  • September 24, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    'Bizarrely-named' is more than a little broad compared to the trope, isn't it? If there's even a trope in this at all.

    What you're basically talking about is that writers want to convey that a planet is not Earthly very quickly, so they'll name it something that looks or sounds alien - using letters that their own language doesn't frequently use, or sprinkling it with apostrophes and hyphens in places that look odd to humans. That basically is the same principle at work behind the Law Of Alien Names.
  • September 24, 2012
    Quatic
    Highlander II had Planet Zeist. As it happens, that's the real name of a town in Germany.
  • September 24, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ So we already have this?
  • September 24, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Not exactly, but only because Law Of Alien Names restricts itself to the names of individual aliens rather than anything named by aliens. This could be folded into it without even having to rename it, though.
  • September 24, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Although if it's about particulars of names ("As the description says, they generally have Z's and K's in their names"), it need not be limited to planets, but anything alien that have certain letters.
  • September 24, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Exactly.
  • September 24, 2012
    DaibhidC
    When Russell T Davies was talking about a more Earth-bound Doctor Who, the widely distributed pull-quote was something like "The audience doesn't care about the Zogs from Planet Zog". And then he gave us the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius.
  • September 25, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ I meant this could be a trope about that. Not sure what you thought I meant.
  • September 25, 2012
    fulltimeD
    The laconic is bad. "Bizarre" doesn't describe this naming scheme, which is actually BOG-FRICKING-STANDARD since the 1950's and these days is just as often a humorous homage as it is intended seriously; "Zok" and "Zkqqxfp" are on TWO OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM; THEY ARE TWO OPPOSITE TROPES: one which is basically a Law Of Alien Names variant and another spans the spectrum from The Unpronouncable to Starfish Language.
  • September 25, 2012
    fulltimeD
    C'mon, "Zok" is what the audience expects alien planets to be named. It's no more "bizarre" than a "green skinned alien" or an ISO Standard Human Spaceship.
  • September 26, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    ^^^ They're the same trope operating on the same principle, so we might as well talk about all Alien Things With Unearthly Names under one title and not two. Law Of Alien Names is about individual aliens, but it could easily be broadened to alien planets, alien species, etc.
  • September 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Didn't notice spelling was already listed on that page.

    That description does need work though.
  • September 26, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Yeah.

    I would recommend taking it to TRS or Trope Talk to discuss rewriting and expanding it.
  • September 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ There is a thread on Special Efforts for trope descriptions.
  • September 26, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • September 26, 2012
    fulltimeD
    But seriously, "We are Zogs from the Planet Zogon" is definitely not the same trope as "the true name of my planet is unpronouncable by your tongue" or "alien names that don't conform to audience expectations like a lot of planets in the Star Wars expanded universe (Malastaire, anyone?)
  • September 26, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Whatever we decide to do, I'd say this is reasonable to keep as a Sub Trope.

    Since most of the examples can at least be pronounced (how could they pronounce it in verbal media?, I went and rewrote the description to clarify that the trope's about alien planets that sort of make sense.
  • September 27, 2012
    fulltimeD
    the description's good now but a lot of the examples don't fit, and/or are actually aversions.
  • September 28, 2012
    Frank75
    Specify this a bit: "pronounceable by English speakers".
  • September 28, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    ^Yes, specify. Also adding that the trope is more explicitly focusing on when a writer will feed us an alien planet name that, yes, we (English speakers) can attempt to pronounce and is bizarre, not in that we'd say "Oh that's weird" to an alien planet being named that way, but to something being named that way, as we wouldn't really opt to call a place that on Earth, choosing more Earthly terms. Yes, 'Zok' and 'Mars' are as easily pronounceable as one another but Mars sounds Earth-y and isn't buffed up on scrabble points.
  • September 28, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Other languages can count, if we explain the context (as in why a name would sound alien to French or Arabic speakers).
  • September 29, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    ^Explaining needs to be done for that part, then, right?
  • September 29, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ If you look at the source you'll find that I'm planning to add that in once it's launched, as the labelnote doesn't work in YKTTWs.
  • September 29, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Very good, all.
  • September 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Again, why limit this to planets?

    And the name still doesn't indicate the form of the trope. How does the word "zok" indicate that the trope is about specific kinds of names?
  • September 29, 2012
    LobsterMagnus
    So, any planet not named after someone from Classical Mythology (or, if you are generous, from any Earth mythology) fits into this trope??
  • September 29, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ As a downplayed example, yes.

    Straight examples mostly have letters that are Game Breakers in Scrabble - X, K, Z, and such. They may also have numbers at the end.
  • September 29, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ On that note, that would make a great laconic: Alien names use high scoring letters in Scrabble.

    I still say this shouldn't be limited to planets. Also, Q is another popular letter.
  • September 30, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Babylon 5--Z'ha'dum (also has apostrophes!), and in The Technomage Trilogy, the Rim planet and Shadow/Drakh stronghold Thenothk.
  • September 30, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    ^^ and ^^^ I'd just like to say, I firstly mentioned Scrabble. 10 comments up.
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ A little lengthy.
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Still more clear, and doesn't limit this trope needlessly to planets.

    Seriously, why limit this to planets?
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I personally think that this is notable enough to be a Sub Trope.
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's more narrow than it needs to be. Being anything with those letters to sound alien still makes a sub trope.

    Limiting this to one section of alien names, when it applies to them all, is not a distinction. That's just splitting needlessly.

    Law Of Alien Names covers several types of names, not just the lesser used letters. Therefore covering all alien names that use lesser used letters, not just planets, is what makes the sub trope here.
  • October 1, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Where you say 'Also, you can legally play it in Scrabble' - Scrabble should be linked to Scrabble, not Scrabble Babble.
  • October 1, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Does the Daleks' Skaro count? There's a 'k'. And Raxacoricofallipatorious, home of the Slitheen. And Saturnyn (though, frankly, that's Saturn with a 'y' and 'n' shoved on the end. Hey, that could be part of the trope - taking actual words that sound space-y and shove letters on. Or 'Parallel Earth' best invented name ever, there). Erm, Doctor Who. Well, the Doctor's from Gallifrey. There's the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. The planet being 'the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe'. (Remind me why on Zok I remember all these).

    Interesting trivia: the Daleks (or the main ones, at least) are actually Kaled mutants (rearrange 'dalek', you get 'kaled') in pepper shakers. They appeared in the first ever Doctor Who episode, in 1963.
  • October 1, 2012
    fulltimeD
    this looks much better now; even the examples list (from my skimming, I didn't look too hard) looks better
  • October 3, 2012
    BlueGuy
    That's odd - after a good while of steady replies, now the entry's being starved of them (even as I bump it)!
  • October 3, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ It happens. Sometimes users just run out of things to say. So either you wait until they are in the mood again, or see if it's ready to launch.

    But I still say this shouldn't be limited to planets, but the spelling form. Otherwise you look like splitting for an arbitrary reason, and a Sub Trope has to have a better distinction than "It's just like the Super Trope, just limited to happening to these things".
  • October 4, 2012
    m8e
    Maybe we should extend this to space stations, moons, planets and star systems?

  • October 4, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    So anything alien, except aliens (and their guns)
  • October 4, 2012
    m8e
    How about moons, planets and stars? Star systems is usually named after the star anyway.

    But Law Of Alien Names already cover locations, at least according to the description. I'm adding the "Already have?" tag
  • October 4, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 'That's'' why I say this should be about using lesser used letters, as that's a better distinction for a Sub Trope.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    Little correction on the Alf example - his planet is Melmac, which was also an old brand of plastic dishware.
  • October 6, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ Ah. I should have known not to trust Cracked on that.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    ^ I remember watching the first episode with my father and him laughing at the name -- he was probably the only viewer that got the joke... my dad's sense of humor was like that.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
    I wish snowclones werent banned so you could use Silly Name For A Planet.
  • October 6, 2012
    JMQwilleran
    Unless you hadn't told me, I never would have immediately pegged "Silly Name for a Planet" as being a snowclone, though I might have picked up on the reference immediately. Perhaps an exception could be made? Just because a name sounds like a snowclone doesn't mean it actually is one. The name fits.
  • October 6, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Alright, I've gone and (somewhat) dramatically edited the page so that all low-scoring planet names are removed (special mention must go to Alternia of Homestuck, which is composed entirely of 1-point-scoring letters).
  • October 6, 2012
    spacemarine50
    ^You can have weird names with the most common letters. Like a name with no vowels (including Y's) and multiple A's and E's; bonus if they're next to each other (got no examples)
  • October 6, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ Thanks. I don't really play Scrabble, but eh.

    Any further suggestions will be welcomed warmly.
  • October 6, 2012
    PhysicalStamina
    I'd like to propose a title change, as well. Maybe something like Scrambled Planet Names?
  • October 7, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Just out of interest, what does Raxacoricofallapatorious score?
  • October 7, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ^ Assuming there aren't any double/triple word scores or other score enhancers, it scores about 35 points.

    That's a lot in Scrabble, right?
  • October 8, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    If you're playing against my sister, who scores about 4 every round. Last time we played I scored nearly 200 placing 4 or 5 tiles :D

    About to get the Doctor Who Scrabble dictionary and rules, make her play by that :)
  • October 9, 2012
    Boston
    What, really, does Scrabble have to do with this trope?

    If a sci-fi film had two scientists receive a broadcast from an alien planet, and then one looks at a nearby Scrabble board (from a game they were playing at lunch) at arranges the tiles into the planet's name and adds up the score, then I see this laconic applying. Otherwise, it's a distraction and should be re-done.

    This is Law Of Alien Names, applied to planets instead of individuals. The same subtropes apply to this as well.
  • October 10, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    As a way to define what kind of alien planet names are appropriate, seeing as 'weird' or 'odd' could be interpreted differently, though the fictitious word can still be (at least) attempted to be pronounced in English, so saying that it uses high-scoring Scrabble letters (i.e. not that commonly used in English words) and was pronounceable is the way to define them.
  • October 10, 2012
    m8e
    This is really just a different Law Of Alien Names(scrabble law) applied to planets. If the scrabble thing is just arbitrarily chosen to narrow down a list of planets this isn't really a trope.
  • October 10, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    It's also a terrible Brick Joke. I have seen it happen, though, where an alien planet is mentioned and is later (or just after) played in Scrabble.
  • October 17, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Anything else? Hello? Any more feedback?

    I'd like to launch this, but it only has one hat.
  • October 19, 2012
    BlueGuy
    ...And now it has three. Thanks, whoever added those hats!
  • October 20, 2012
    BlueGuy
    Now four?! Well, thanks to the guy who's doing this!
  • October 20, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=l1miewz254hlvfzvmc1cfmcm