WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

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WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:53 am

Thus far, I have avoided saying too much about money in my webcomic; from how much things cost to what money is called, I've more or less gracefully side-stepped it. But I can't do that forever, nor should I.
And so, I should probably figure out whatinhell money is called in the Kanira Baxter universe.

Sci-fi has a lot of different names for money. 'Credits' is very common...I'd like to avoid that if I can. Other types of sci-fi money I can think of off the top of my head:

Buckazoids (Space Quest series)
Dollar-pounds (Red Dwarf)
Space bucks (Spaceballs)
Gold press latinum (Deep Space Nine)

And I'm sure there'z others; I remember something bizarre from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy about some currency that was the size of a small city in its smallest denomination, and hardly anybody had been able to collect enough of them to get the next denomination up, which was pocket-sized... but my webcomic isn't supposed to be silly, so that's out.

I could, I suppose, simply appropriate and modernize the name of a current monetary unit: rubloids instead of rubles, maybe, or astro-shekels. I d'know.
I'm looking up synonyms for money:

Buck
Capital
Funds
Bill
Dough
Cash
Coin
Bread
Mintage
Net
Moolah

Al lot of these are slang. Not sure that I necessarily want to go with slang...
Still...feeling a bit like my imagination has dribbled out of my ears on this one; I'm not sure what to call money in the Kaniraverse; anyone wanna help me out with a name for sci-fi moolah, here?
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Wendybird on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:13 am

A lot of sci-fi uses credits because they make sense in a culture with a virtual or "plastic" monetary system - everyone uses cards rather than cash. "credit" is already a term for a virtual amount of money a person is authorized to spend.

Names for physical money come from all different places. If you don't want a connection to a specific culture that exists here on Earth by using one of our currency names, but you also don't want to use the general term "credit," you'll probably have to come up with something pretty original.

Here's a thought - often people refer to a unit of currency by what image appears on the coin or bill - from American Benjamins to Narnian trees and lions. What does the currency in your universe have in terms of imagery?
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:29 am

Hrm...I haven't actually made the cash yet; my world is sci-fi, so all funds transfers (and there've been a few already) have been electronic thus far. But that IS a good idea, and I should come up with what hard currency looks like in my universe. Though, hey...if all money is electronic, I could call it "bits". I mean, we already have "bits" as a slang term for money: "Shave and a hair cut, two bits." It makes a perverse kinna sense.

Someone else on my LJ suggested "marks", which I rather like too.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Jin-roh on Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:18 pm

I like "marks" too.

I imagine, a good slang term, might be "digits" since probably most of the money is transferred electronically.

Another thing, is given the history of your series (which I admit, I haven't read) there was probably a period in which all currency was lumped into one. So people might speak of the "universal dollar" or the "universal note." You might even use "standard dollar" which everyone calls an "esdee" given its obvious acronym.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Jin-roh on Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:26 pm

I'm browsing through your comic right now. what programs are you using?
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:59 pm

Jin-roh wrote:I like "marks" too.[


Yeah, that's definitely the front-runner right now.

I imagine, a good slang term, might be "digits" since probably most of the money is transferred electronically.


Well, that's why I thought "bits" might be a good one, since it already means money AND data...

Another thing, is given the history of your series (which I admit, I haven't read) there was probably a period in which all currency was lumped into one. So people might speak of the "universal dollar" or the "universal note." You might even use "standard dollar" which everyone calls an "esdee" given its obvious acronym.


Actually, Earth is not completely united in the Kaniraverse; all too often that's the case in sci-fi, and I admit that it's simpler, but I like the idea of an Earth that may not be in conflict but which is not a single unified government yet either.

I'm browsing through your comic right now. what programs are you using?


3D Studio MAX, and Photoshop for compositing the pages together. And before you ask, yes, every last scrap of the 3D modeling is mine; I'm not using a program like Poser to create the characters.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Jin-roh on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:05 am

3D Studio MAX, and Photoshop for compositing the pages together. And before you ask, yes, every last scrap of the 3D modeling is mine; I'm not using a program like Poser to create the characters.


That's pretty hardcore. Quite a bit of work.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:09 am

Jin-roh wrote:That's pretty hardcore. Quite a bit of work.


Well, the initial set up of characters and environments WAS quite a bit of work, yes...but now, it's mostly kit-bashing. That is, taking existing geometry and modifying it or combining elements from existing items to form new items, that sort of thing.

The actual posing of characters is cake; I can do two pages a day if I put my mind to it.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Black Sparrow on Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:21 am

If I remember correctly, my comic used something like "Currency Units" or "Universal Currency Units"... shortened to CUs and UCUs respectively for common reference. Sounds very official.
This is going in my notebook titled "Things I Didn't Know about Surface Dwellers."
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Menelaos on Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:36 pm

My favorite fictional currency of all time was C-Bills from Battletech. Basically, at it's core it measured the amount of time you could talk to someone via superluminal communication. Maybe something like that, something really creative that isn't based in gold. As for what to call it, maybe a simple three letter initial. Although, people might have no idea what you're talking about if you take my advice.
GSC=Galactic Standard Currency?
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:28 pm

Menelaos wrote:My favorite fictional currency of all time was C-Bills from Battletech. Basically, at it's core it measured the amount of time you could talk to someone via superluminal communication. Maybe something like that, something really creative that isn't based in gold. As for what to call it, maybe a simple three letter initial. Although, people might have no idea what you're talking about if you take my advice.
GSC=Galactic Standard Currency?


That is exactly what I was going to say. That's even pretty much how I was going to phrase it. When I first looked at this post I thought I had posted earlier and forgotten about it, that's how close it is.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:49 pm

Well, money definitely won't be based in gold in the Kaniraverse. It'll probably be based on energy, actually...I haven't quite worked out what the kind of energy used by spaceship is yet, but if one were to think of dilithium crystals from Star Trek as the base unit, and money represents the amount of potential work that could be done per crystal, or something like that...this would probably be what people are using for currency. Earthlings in the Kaniraverse are very science-minded, and this system of money would appeal to them.
But in some ways, it doesn't really matter, at least not yet; my comic is largely cheesy Space Opera (though with a message behind it, ultimately) more than hard sci-fi, so having an explanation for money's base is actually a bit less important to me than how it is referred to socially. I mean, like I said in the OP, having a name like "Buckazoids" is actually something I'd go for if it weren't already taken; I'll quite cheerfully use a suggestion that would hint at the kind of pictures-of-Saturn and rings-and-fins-on-clothing style of sci-fi, since that's more or less what this comic is.

Right now "bits" and "marks" are the front-runners; I might use both, "bits" as slang, like "bucks", and "marks" as the real name, like "dollars". That is, if there are no better suggestions.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Menelaos on Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:14 pm

Alias Pseudonym wrote:
Menelaos wrote:My favorite fictional currency of all time was C-Bills from Battletech. Basically, at it's core it measured the amount of time you could talk to someone via superluminal communication. Maybe something like that, something really creative that isn't based in gold. As for what to call it, maybe a simple three letter initial. Although, people might have no idea what you're talking about if you take my advice.
GSC=Galactic Standard Currency?


That is exactly what I was going to say. That's even pretty much how I was going to phrase it. When I first looked at this post I thought I had posted earlier and forgotten about it, that's how close it is.


There are a lot of really cool ideas in battletech. I looked up how much a C-Bill was worth after I posted this. 1 C-Bill is equal to one page worth of text, and takes some fraction of a second to send. Up until the Dark Age, the exchange rate was something like 1 C-Bill to every ten dollars. Then ComStar's FTL array got romped and now it's only worth about two US dollars.

Anyway, what to call it. Think of your base value first, and THEN decide on the slang. C-Bills are ComStar's currency (get it, sort of like ComStar-Bill). If you're dealing with energy (or maybe just the fuel) why not just go with Moles (not the animal). Really, like this is worth one mole of FTL fuel. A mole is 6.022x10^23 molecules or atoms in a substance BTW.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:33 pm

That's more of a hard sci-fi monetary scale, though. I don't think this is a hard sci-fi story we're talking about here.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:33 pm

Alias Pseudonym wrote:I don't think this is a hard sci-fi story we're talking about here.


No...no, we're not. My comic has a lot more in common with cheesy Space Opera than it does with, say, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Besides, I'd not JUST looking for slang. I'm also looking just for what to call the unit of currency officially. I've just apparently completely run dry on good ideas in that regard. Like, I know they HAVE money in this universe, and it basically works like money does today--how often do you think about the basis of cash in your daily life, REALLY?--but it needs a sci-fi name like "Buckazoids".
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Menelaos on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:51 pm

Just an idea.
Credits seem to be the default, but that's not very creative. Maybe something with bucks then, since people will understand that immediately. Galaxy-Bucks, Space-Bucks, Star-Bucks (No pun intended), Cyber-Bucks. Buckazoids was good.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:23 am

Menelaos wrote:Just an idea.
Credits seem to be the default, but that's not very creative. Maybe something with bucks then, since people will understand that immediately. Galaxy-Bucks, Space-Bucks, Star-Bucks (No pun intended), Cyber-Bucks. Buckazoids was good.


Hee! Actually, Star-Bucks AS a pun tickles me...but, alas, as cheesy as I'm going for with this comic, I DO want people to be able to take it seriously. Also, I made a command decision a while back that 'star-' is never used as a prefix; that's far too modern these days and my comic is trying to call up a certain nostalgia. I use "space-" as a prefix for a lot of things tho. For example, nobody has a starship but everybody has a spaceship.

Heck, I'd almost be willing to use "credits" it if were "credit-bucks" that people had. It's a bit clunky, but...I kinna like the sound of it. It could be abbreviated as "c-bucks", maybe.
But previously, I liked "marks" best...hrm... "mark-bucks"? "Buck-marks"? "Credit-marks"? "Mark-credits"? Hrm...
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Menelaos on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:30 am

So space-ship instead of star-ship? Interesting choice.
C-Bucks sounds just a little too much like C-Bills, but it does roll of the tongue cleaner than Buckazoids. Space-Bucks, S-Bucks would be good choices. Something with "space" and "Bucks (or any other term for cash)" sounds like where you're headed. What about Buck-Marks?

I'm not done with the Star-Bucks pun, I think I might use it for the currency of some alien world that my characters encounter. They named their currency after a famous viper pilot and coffee shop.
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby BionicDance on Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:37 pm

Menelaos wrote:So space-ship instead of star-ship? Interesting choice.


It's a space opera thing; I'm tryign to conjure up a kind of "pulp" vibe that I feel has been eschewed by sci-fi in recent years.

C-Bucks sounds just a little too much like C-Bills, but it does roll of the tongue cleaner than Buckazoids. Space-Bucks, S-Bucks would be good choices. Something with "space" and "Bucks (or any other term for cash)" sounds like where you're headed. What about Buck-Marks?


Hmmm...well, it doesn't have to have "space" as a prefix. "Cosmicredits", "Starbacks" (like 'greenbacks'; from one of my favorite movies, StarChaser: The Legend of Orin), etc...if it merely suggests space, it's probably a candidate. "Spacemark" might not be a bad one; I do still like "mark" as the term for money...

I'm not done with the Star-Bucks pun, I think I might use it for the currency of some alien world that my characters encounter. They named their currency after a famous viper pilot and coffee shop.


Starbucks at Starbucks:
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Re: WRITING: What to call sci-fi money

Postby Jameslong on Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:36 pm

i use 'cred' short for credit... but that's a currency type that's tied in closely to the type of economy in the Forsaken universe. And, as someone else mentioned, it's not all that original. Don't forget the ubiquitous "E" monicker. Suddenly boring 'cred' turns into a much more original 'e-cred'. Or, for my own comic, I-cred (interactual credit) would probably be more relevant.
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