What’s in a name?



As work continues to get The Nostromo Files (TNF) back up and running, much of the artwork and diagrams are being revisited.

(It has been a long time since my days with MS Paint and single-layered graphics.)

My interview with Brian Wyvill and George Mallen spurred me on to re-imagine the graphics, using their work on the film as inspiration.

And an interesting concept has begun to crystalize…that of what to call the places and things that went unnamed in the first film (Alien), but later, were given names in the subsequent films, fan publications, and other officially licensed materials.

I’ve started a short list of things that I want to think about “retro-naming” as I reconstruct TNF.

To avoid being just a carbon-copy of material already out there in a million other formats, I want this site to offer something original — to the extent that is possible — while keeping within the Alien universe.

Taking time to get it right never hurts, and you never know where your work might end up.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my copy of Alien: The Archive and saw a negatived-flop of my Nostromo top plan in the book!  (The plan drawing was created from the Halcyon scale model instructions of their Nostromo kit.  I recognized my work by the “hairy legs” look of the two secondary boosters, sketched in with pen and ink!)

ALIEN: The Archive, page 80


‘Original’ Nostromo plan drawing from The Nostromo Files, c. 1990s, with “hairy legs” secondary thrusters.

But I digress…

So, what’s in a name?

Being a fan of the original film from its beginning, I find that I’m tending toward avoidance of what I’ll dub “post-Alien” nomenclature, as I think you’ll understand as you read the list below.  Some of the it is taken from Alan Dean Foster‘s novelization, some from interviews and others from written production material and not necessarily mentioned on-screen.

The planetoid” or another designation, instead of “LV-426” or “Acheron” (one of three moons orbiting unnamed ringed gas giant).

Derelict” instead of “Juggernaut

Pilot/fossilized alien” instead of “Space Jockey

The unnamed ringed gas giant (seen in the movie’s opening moments, and the backdrop against which three moons and the Nostromo/refinery are shown) will have a different designation instead of “Calpamos” (apparent fourth planet in the Zeta 2 Reticuli system, with three moons: unnamed, LV-426, and LV-223).  I don’t know about you, but I think the brightest of the three moons (and also the smallest) might be the planetoid on which the Nostromo sets down.

The unnamed star system containing the ringed gas giant and planetoid will not necessarily be “Zeta 2 Reticuli“.  (Note that in the movie, Lambert says they are “just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli”, and not “it’s located in Zeta 2 Reticuli”, although it could be they visited Z2R.)

While these mental chases down the rabbit hole make this project take longer than expected, I find that working to infuse the site design with that original sense of wonder and mystery that the film evokes — prior to the terror — to be more fun that I’d imagined.

The journey here is the fun bit, not the destination.  (I think that might even be on a bumper sticker somewhere.)  But when we get to the final release of it, friends of the Nostromo, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




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