« on: November 01, 2013, 01:41:47 pm »
Bump, because this is going to be the basis of my NaNoWritMo. They say write what you know, so....
In this version of the world/universe, Names have power. The ancients knew it, it's a long standing thing. Aristotle wrote of it in detail. But, Names are tricky. They have to actually be Bound to something in a universal way and based around actual knowledge of the thing. Names of individuals are pretty much impossible to work with. But Names of species are within the realm of possibility.
In this world, Linnaeus is looked upon as almost a demigod like figure due to his figuring out the solution: the creation of universal names, Binomial Nomenclature. The universal Binding meant that the names could be used over time. After 200 years there were many Naming Universities, which are very much like natural history museums. Taxonomy had become extremely important, since species are constantly changing (Darwin, a great Namer himself, and Wallace, figured this out). You not only needed to know how to Bind, but to Unbind names so that groups could be revised. And you needed taxonomist scholars to do this.
There's also the practical sense of Naming, which is called Guiding. It's not quite control, more like suggestion. By using the name in combination with intent, Guiding could attract, repel, and suggest organisms into growing or behaving a certain way. I should add, all of this is not treated as mysticism, but as a science, though not all the fundamentals are understood. One could talk about how to Bind a Name with description to a particular species, how to determine the Name of species that an individual belongs to via knowledge and practice, how to Guide organisms with intent and words and Names, and it was all very organized despite not knowing how the fundamental physical interactions made it so. Science had also progressed, and technology was about at 1980s stage, but that doesn't mean that what Naming was doing was understood. And technology and Naming are not at odds. Governments are of course very interested. Thank Linnaeus that the name for the human species is incredibly complicated and difficult to Guide, and that only a few are skilled enough to do this on a very local level. But biological warfare is a distinct possibility, and has been used in the past.
So, in this world you have the Heroine, who something like a PhD student at a Naming University, pretty much a natural history institution. And she's working on Binding and Unbinding, and very much a taxonomist and entomologist, focusing on Syrphid flies. Part of the conflict I think is going to be based around the "megafauna bias", and her proving her worth, maybe some Old Order vs New Order, maybe some romance, probably not fulfilled romance. Overall, just a story about an insect taxonomist grad student in a world where Names hold power.