The Namesake of a story can be all kinds of things: a person, a symbol, a weapon. Sometimes, in just a touch of meta-fiction, the Namesake is a book within the book or a show within a show. Sometimes, as in The Way of Kings, this is a holy book. Sometimes, as in The King in Yellow, it's a distinctly unholy book. In any case, it's very important in some way to the story, although how is not always clear at first.
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Anime & Manga
- Nami yo Kiite Kure (Wave, Listen to Me! in English), which is the name of the radio show Minare hosts in the late night slots every day.
- Similar to The Krypton Chronicles was The Atlantis Chronicles, which explored Aquaman's ancestry through The Atlantis Chronicles, the collected archives of Atlantean Royal Historians.
- Marvel Comics published Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins in which a group of heroes tried to find the lost pages of the eponymous Darkhold. (The Darkhold is basically the Marvel Universe's equivalent of the Necronomicon.) A later miniseries is just titled Darkhold.
- Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography is a graphic novel about a reporter trying to write an unauthorized biography about Lex Luthor.
- The Life Story of the Flash is based on the book that Iris West will write about The Flash in the future.
- Marvels is about a Muggle Daily Bugle photographer named Phil Sheldon, who documents the activities and reputations of the Marvel Universe's superheroes. Near the end, he publishes a book called "Marvels".
- Silverblade takes its title from the In-Universe movie The Silver Blade: Jonathan Lord's most famous film, in which her plays a character called 'Silverblade'.
- The Krypton Chronicles was DC Comics' mini-series exploring Superman's ancestry. In it, Clark Kent is commissioned to write a book about Superman's ancestors called The Krypton Chronicles.
- Under a Yellow Sun was a graphic novel about Clark Kent trying to write a novel. It was also the title of the novel.
- In the Skyhold Academy Yearbook series, there are a few of these. Most are chapters within the various installments, but a couple - I Must Be Going and Beauty and the Bloodsucker - are full installments themselves. All of them are fan fics written by various characters about one another; Varric is the most prolific offender, not that his friends are surprised.
Films — Live Action
- 2046 is the name of the science fiction serial Chow is writing. (Amongst other things. The number crops up a lot in the movie.)
- All Too Well: The Short Film: By the end, "Her" has written a book titled All Too Well, presumably about the heartache of her youth, as "Him" looks on from outside a book reading.
- Amazon Women on the Moon takes its name from the cheesy 1950s B-Movie being shown on late night TV within the film.
- Argo is based on a true story. However, the title refers to the fake film script that is used as a cover to get American hostages out of Iran.
- Bruiser is the name of the magazine that Henry (and most of his victims) works for.
- Cemetery Gates is the name of the student film Hunter is shooting in the cemetery before he and his friends are attacked by the giant genetically mutated Tasmanian devil.
- In Crime Wave, Crime Wave is the title of the screenplay Steven is attempting to write.
- Death Trap the film is about two guys writing a murder mystery called Death Trap who indulge in some murder themselves.
- The Evil Dead (1981) was originally named Book of the Dead after the book of the same name, which appears in the movie. The name was changed because the executives didn't want people to think it was a movie about a book.
- A Face in the Crowd is a backstage drama about a fictional radio and television show of the same name.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an unusual example because the book which the protagonist is writing has been defictionalised... and this defictionalised book came out years before the film.
- Foolproof is the name of a game Kevin, Sam and Rob invented in which they create working plans to infiltrate and burgle various targets.
- While The Gallows refers to the physical gallows on stage, the play that is being performed is also titled The Gallows
- The title of The Hills Run Red comes from the lost eighties Slasher Movie that the cast is looking for. Little do they know that it is still being filmed, with them being the next unwilling participants.
- I Am Not an Easy Man is the name of the novel that is written in the film by the secondary protagonist, Alexandra.
- In the Mouth of Madness the main character is tasked with finding the writer behind the titular book. It turns out we've been watching the Film of the Book of said story.
- Jumanji is the name of the board game the characters are playing; that comes alive and starts intruding on the real world.
- In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the board game has become a video game that traps the characters inside the game world.
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is the name of Toby's student film: the making of which sets in motion the events which will catch up with him 10 years later. Scenes of it appear as a Film Within a Film when Toby discovers a bootleg DVD of it.
- In The Man Who Loved Women, the protagonist writes a book named The Man Who Loved Women.
- Naked Lunch turns out to be a novel Lee is writing throughout the film.
- In Necronomicon, Lovecraft reads the fictional occult book The Necronomicon to access the stories which make up the Anthology Film.
- The A Prairie Home Companion film is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a fictionalized version of the A Prairie Home Companion radio show.
- The Purple Rose of Cairo is about characters in the titular film and how they interact with their viewers.
- Raising Cain gets its name from the book that main character's father wrote while experimenting on him.
- Scare Campaign is the name of the prank TV show the protagonists work for.
- Serial Killing 4 Dummys is the title of the paper Casey hands in to Mr. Korn.
- Seven Psychopaths is about a guy trying to write a screenplay called Seven Psychopaths, and how he gets involved with several himself.
- Slashers is the name of Japanese game show that the film follows an episode of.
- Son of Rambow is about two kids who, after watching bootlegged Rambo movies, are inspired to make a sequel. Because the kids can't spell, it's also an Inherited Illiteracy Title.
- Stay Alive (2006) is the name of The Most Dangerous Video Game the film is about.
- This Is Your Death is about a television programme titled This Is Your Death where people commit suicide live on air.
- ¡Three Amigos! is about a trio of actors who star in short silent films with that title.
- Vigilante Diaries is the title of Mike Hanover's web video series about the Vigilante.
- 36 Arguments for the Existence of God refers to an appendix within the protagonist's book within a book The Varieties of Religious Illusion. However, self-referentially, the novel itself appends the (or a) similar list after the last chapter of fiction.
- Stephen Manes' Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!
- The Book of Ultimate Truths by Robert Rankin, the first novel in the Hugo Rune/Cornelius Murphy saga, is named after Rune's greatest work.
- The first book of The Chronicles of Prydain, The Book of Three, is named for the magical book that serves as a MacGuffin for the plot. The book continues to be an important item throughout the rest of the series.
- The City & the City
- Cryptonomicon: Inside the story, the Cryptonomicon is a comprehensive study of cryptology, both for making and breaking codes.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The most important reference work for any hoopy galactic traveller. The entry for Earth consists entirely of the words "Mostly harmless."
- House of Leaves
- Infinite Jest: The Fictional Document is, in this case, a film so mesmerizing that the U.S. government is interested in weaponizing it.
- The King in Yellow: A play that, when read or performed, drives the audience violently insane.
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen which the Crippled God writes in tribute to all those who died in the course of his healing and liberation.
- The Manual of Detection: The book in question is a handbook for the detectives of The Agency. Almost all extant editions appear to be missing a chapter.
- Misery is named after the fictional best-selling novel series starring Misery Chastain written by the protagonist, who is an author.
- The Myst novel The Book of Atrus is named for the journal of Atrus which is found near the end of the story.
- A Necklace of Fallen Stars derives its name from the final story the main character tells to her companion.
- The Neverending Story: Not only does the whole premise revolve around Bastian reading a book called The Neverending Story, but even within that book is another book called The Neverending Story, which has the same exact words as the book that the audience is holding in their very hands. Later, Bastian even lampshades this, as he ponders the possibility that everything he is doing now might be read by somebody else reading The Neverending Story.
- Kim Newman:
- Where the Bodies are Buried (a set of linked short stories later published as a collection) takes its name from a horror film (and its sequels) that has a disturbing effect on reality.
- The novella "Teddy Bear's Picnic" takes its title from an In-Universe novel that is being made into a film.
- The Path of Flames shares its title with a philosophical text that a character finds in an abandoned castle.
- So You Want to Be a Wizard is the first book in the Young Wizards series, and also a title of the main character's wizards' manual that appears in it. Later books in the series imply that the fictional book looks like a real-world book to anyone unauthorized who tries to read it. In the same series, Book Of Night With Moon.
- Each book in The Stormlight Archive shares a name with an in-universe book:
- The Way of Kings is named after a collection of parables written by a legendary king, which serves as some combination of holy book, philosophy text, and code of chivalry.
- Words of Radiance is named after a history of the Knights Radiant, the legendary orders of Magic Knights who are resurfacing in the present day.
- Oathbringer is named after the memoir that Dalinar begins writing at the end of the book, which in turn is named after Dalinar's Shardblade, once wielded by the founder of Alethkar.
- Rhythm of War is named after the research journal produced by Navani Kholin and Raboniel, Lady of Pain, chronicling their research into the properties of Light during the occupation of Urithiru.
- The Robert Rankin novel The Suburban Book of the Dead: Armageddon III: The Remake is named after The Suburban Book of the Dead, a religious tome within the book... but which turns out not to be the same Suburban Book of the Dead that appeared in Armageddon: The Musical.
- The Twilight of the Vilp by Paul Ableson is about the surreal misadventures of a novelist attempting to write a novel titled The Twilight of the Vilp.
- The Two Georges is the name of a painting depicting the reconciliation of George Washington and King George III at the end of an alternate American Revolution, which ended with a compromise making North America a British dominion. The theft of the painting kickstarts the plot.
- The Unstrung Harp is about a novelist writing another cheap potboiler called The Unstrung Harp. The actual book is a short illustrated book, but the metafictional one, a Doorstopper of dubious quality with a nonsensical title. The covers are identical, too.
- The Discworld picture book Where's My Cow? is about Sam Vimes reading a book called Where's My Cow? to his son.
- The Big Leap is a series about a reality show titled The Big Leap and the dancers who are part of it.
- Cult is about a cult which follows the TV show within a show called Cult, which features a cult. To pile on top of that, the show within a show was based on a cult within the main show. One only wonders what would have happened if the show had been a hit and developed a fanatical cult following.
- Frontline is the name of the Show Within a Show that the actual Frontline is a Faux Documentary about.
- Pulaski (a.k.a. Pulaski: The TV Detective) was series about Larry Summers, an actor who plays the title character (a former priest turned PI) on the Show Within a Show Pulaski, and who keeps getting caught up in adventures that would be more appropriate for the character he plays.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, the Book of Vile Darkness and the Book of Exalted Deeds are a pair of magical books, the former being usable by Evil characters and the latter by Good ones. During the 3.5 era, they were also the titles of a pair of sourcebooks which delved into topics and game mechanics geared towards characters of the appropriate alignments.
- The Real Inspector Hound is a play about two theater critics watching a production of The Real Inspector Hound.
- Dandy Dungeon is both the name of the actual app and of the game main character Yamada is working on, and that we're going to play since he asked us to debug it for him. So we're playing both Yamada's life and the game he's making, and they overlap in several ways...
- The Elder Scrolls series gets its name from the Elder Scrolls, a form of Tome of Eldritch Lore referred to as "fragments of creation." They're indisputable recordings of what happens, what could have happened, and what may happen, being heavily associated with prophecy. Reading them also usually comes with a heavy dose of blindness and madness, and they're also known to have some Reality Warping powers. In the fifth game, one character describes them by saying, "They do not exist, but they have always existed." In a twist on the trope, the name was chosen as a sur-title to Arena because, according to the developers, "it sounded cool", and it was only after that they figured out what the Elder Scrolls would be in-universe.
- Uriels Chasm's story is told through cutscenes of the video team Shovelware Queens making commentary on the game Uriel's Chasm.
- Marble Hornets is named after the unfinished student film project Marble Hornets.