Follow TV Tropes


Pun Based Title / Literature

Go To

  • So many novels in the Mystery Fiction genre do this; there are far too many examples to list here.
    • The cozy mystery subgenre takes it further by having the title puns be based off of certain themes such as cooking ("If Onions Could Spring Leeks"), crafting ("Purl Up and Die"), or pets ("Feline Fatale").
  • Every book in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series.
    • He was going to call the first book Another Fine Mess; the editor's wife came up with the pun. Little did she know what she started...
  • Every title in The Clique series of books (except for the first one) is a pun or punny reference to something else: "Bratfest at Tiffany's" "Dial L for Loser" "Invasion of the Boy Snatchers".
  • The book/TV series Time Warp Trio does this for the book/episode titles. Examples: Me Oh Maya; My Big Fat Greek Olympics; You Can't, But Genghis Khan.
  • Many if not most Discworld novels, including Equal Rites, Sourcery, Maskerade and The Fifth Elephant.
    • The French translation of Maskerade has an interesting aversion of the usual Completely Different Title: The French for "mask" is "masque" and the French for "masquerade" is "mascarade". So the French for Maskerade is ... Masquarade.
    • Men at Arms, sort of. It's about the city guards, who are "men at arms," but the Big Bad is a gun (...It Makes Sense in Context), so "at arms" could also be interpreted as "against weapons". It's also a joke on the 'men' part, since a main plot of the novel is how the City Watch is, for the first time, admitting a dwarf, a troll and a woman who's a werewolf, meaning they're not actually men at all.
    • Details for non-native speakers: (The) Light Fantastic: English idiom referring to a dance ("trip the light fantastic")note  but here alluding to magical light. Mort: the name of the human character, who goes to work for Death (mort). Wyrd Sisters - an obvious spelling pun on weird, with wyrd also being an Anglo-Saxon term for fate or (personal) destiny. Also, the three witches are referred to as weird sisters in Macbeth I.iii. Soul Music: the book is really about, er, Music With Rocks In, but the soul is obviously involved. Feet of Clay: cliché "The idol has feet of clay";note  the book's central character is a golem, with feet (and all other body parts) of clay. Interesting Times: possibly apocryphal Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times"; the story is set in the Discworld's analogue to East Asia. Going Postal: English expression "go postal" = go crazy; story is about the postal system. Monstrous Regiment: famed quotation "this monstrous regiment of women"; at the time (16th century) the meaning was closer to modern "regimen" (i.e. government), but the book spins it literally.
  • The Dresden Files novels tend to this when they're not Double Meaning Titles (and sometimes when they are). Most obvious is the second book, Fool Moon.
  • All of the titles of The Savannah Reid Mysteries are puns relating to food. For example... Just Desserts, Killer Calories, Cooked Goose, Corpse Suzette, Death by Chocolate, Cereal Killer....
  • According to Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game has one of these—in the original short story, the character was named "Ender" solely so he could use that title, a pun on "endgame".
  • The even numbered Honor Harrington Books are a pun on Honor.
  • Many of the books in the Xanth series are like this. Currant Events, Faun and Games, Cube Route (Book 27, the end of the first 'trilogy'), Crewel Lye, Swell Foop, Two to the Fifth (Book 32)...
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer and the Animated Adaptation of it is a pun based on the line "All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names" from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • The first book of a certain fantasy trilogy by Esther Friesner was called Gnome Man's Land.
  • The title of every single book in Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffry series is a pun on a much better-known literary work, such as Mulch Ado About Nothing, Silence of the Hams or A Farewell to Yarns.
  • Heart In Hand:
    • The title refers to the climax, where Darryl approaches Alex with the Hart trophy in hand. It represents his apology and his "heart" (or love) for him.
    • The Show Within a Show's title styles the two protagonists' names into gun models: "AK-47 [Aleksey Kuznetzov] & Colt 45 [Darryl Colton]".
  • The name "Finnegan" in Joyce's Finnegans Wake is a play on the words "fin," meaning end, and "again," a reflection of the book's highly cyclical nature.
  • Collection of humorous mathematical stories written by Ian Stewart for the French edition of Scientific American:
    • Game, Set, & Math. The jacket copy points out to anyone who misread the title, "Well, there is a chapter on the mathematics of tennis..."
    • Math Hysteria
    • Another Fine Math You've Got Me Into...
  • Robert Rankin's books are frequently examples, such as Raiders of the Lost Car Park and The Brentford Chainstore Massacre.
  • Fancy Apartments is a pun, although it's a bit hard to notice; and is only alluded to in the story itself. (Try pronouncing it with a 't' between the 'Fan' and 'cy'.
  • Frostbite is about a bunch of vampires going to a ski resort.
  • The Squares of the City is full of chess motifs, and uses the metaphor of the city being an enormous chess board with the citizens as pieces, but the title also refers to city squares as in public gathering places.
  • Marc Almond's autobiography is titled "Tainted Life", a play on Soft Cell's breakthrough hit "Tainted Love".
  • One of Lawrence Block's Evan Tanner novels is called The Canceled Czech.
  • The world of Worm contains a talk show called "Mornings with O, J and Koffi".
  • Ella Minnow Pea is named for its protagonist, whose Punny Name sounds like the sequence of letters L-M-N-O-P.
  • The Doctor Who Universe Concordance Ahistory kind of has the same meaning twice - it is a (rather than "the") history, but it's also a play on "ahistorical". Either way, the message is "There Is No Canon, but here's one way it could all fit together".