In discussing bad (and good) titles for science fiction and fantasy tales, the question came up as to whether one-word titles can make up in brevity and ‘punch’ for their lack of informativeness or poetry or whatever it is that long titles have that short titles lack: TIME CONSIDERED AS A HELIX OF SEMIPRECIOUS STONES or REPENT HARLEQUIN! SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN versus DUNE or FOUNDATION or CHTHON.

I submit that there is an easy way to make any title into a science fictional title, make it evocative, and yet keep the brevity that fits on the spine of the book. I call it, the ‘Rule of World’! Any word can be made as if by magic into a perfectly serviceable science fiction title merely by tacking the word “world” to the end.

Let us attempt the experiment!

Ringworld (Niven)
Deathworld (Harrison)
Discworld (Pratchett)
Wheelworld (Harrison)
Westworld (film)
Waterworld (bad film)
Showboat World (Vance)
Eyes of the Overworld (also by Vance)
Shadow World (role playing game)
Riverworld (Farmer)
Rocheworld (Forward)
Well World (Chalker)
Witch World (Norton)
Computerworld (van Vogt)
Rimmerworld (from RED DWARF)
Warworld (from DC Comics)
Ghostworld (a comic by Clowes or a film by Zwigoff)
Cool World (Bakshi)*

So far, the experiment is a success. Nearly any name can be added to the word world to make an instant science fictional title!

Autumn World
Vengeance of the Nosferatu Samurai Brides of Mars

See how easy it is! What about more ordinary words? Any word will do! You do not need any artistic judgment. Merely tack the word on the end!

Woadwoldworld — a world where many wolds contain woad.
Woadwoldroadworld — a world where many wolds to which roads run contain woad.

Uh. Okay maybe you still have to use a little judgment as to what to pick for a title.


* NOTE: this is one I forgot. Added by Professor Victor Whimsey.