1. FireWater

    FireWater Contributing Member

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    Please help me rename my dystopian government prison to something less cliche than "the Sanctuary."

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by FireWater, Feb 13, 2017.

    I'm more than halfway through my YA sci-fi/fantasy dystopian novel. It involves an oppressive, prison-like government facility called -- you guessed it -- the Sanctuary.

    I cannot have this. I just read 2 posts about other people whose stories involve a Sanctuary, and it's the most cliche thing ever. All along I'd vaguely planned to just wait til I'm done and do a find-and-replace, but it's bugging me now and I have to do something about it. Need to change my title (and sig) too.

    And I don't just want to do a synonym. I'm sick of the trope where you call something an ironic lovey-dovey name...like the Sanctuary, Haven, Safehouse, Protection Center, or something too stereotypically clinical like the Facility.

    Also, the regime has multiple Sanctuaries that are connected and controlled by different people, so it's not just one building. Because of this, I have to pick something that could be universal to lots of centers, not something that's based on the physical appearance of this one building (like the Dome, the Gray Box or whatever else it looks like).

    Preferably something that can sound creepy and sinister, but not in a way that's too deliberate or intended.

    Any thoughts? :cool:
     
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  2. S A Lee

    S A Lee Active Member

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    To be honest, clinical names are what I associate with dystopian fantasies. I would've gone with something to the tune of 'Correctional Facility' to suggest that people who are sent there are in some way needing correcting. Individually named after perhaps their first director and going on from there?
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be tempted to glue two or three governmentish words together:

    Council Institute
    Divisional Institute
    Foundation Alliance
    Service Commission House
    Constituency Service Precinct

    I prefer the last one. Or maybe Constituency Service Precinct House.
     
  4. Mental Landscaper

    Mental Landscaper New Member

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    I would suggest using an ordinary name and giving it sinister connotations through the way people talk about it. In my opinion, people whispering fearfully about an ordinary sounding place is way creepier than the old clinical cliche names. Basically, you could call a place Fort Walter and make it creepy through context.
     
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  5. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Contributing Member

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    The Academy

    Institute for Pain Management
     
  6. FireWater

    FireWater Contributing Member

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    Thanks everyone. :)
    The fact that clinical names are "associated" with dystopia is exactly why I don't want to use one - I don't want it to be cliche.

    The head bureaucrat of my MC's Sanctuary is named [Mr.] Krannis. How about calling it the "Krannis Institute," and then other Institutes could be identified by the names of their own bureaucrats?

    The title would have to be changed as well, but I can deal with that later.
     
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  7. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    Numbers are always pretty ominous: Barracks 17, Ward 4, Dormitory 11.
     
  8. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    What was the evolution of the regime? What was the original purpose of these places? They would have likely been set up during the collapse of civilization from existing structures.

    Here's what I mean. I had a post civilization story one. One of the nations was called The Metlifes. When civilization collapse, the group that would evolve into the rulers of that nation had held up in MetLife Stadium where The Giants play.

    It is also likely that those in power will have different terminology for it than those inside.
     
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  9. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe civilians call it basic names like "The Sanctuary" behind the backs of the professionals who insist on the technically-correct official name?
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    What goes on behind those walls? Perhaps that would give us more to go on and inspire more suggestions.
     
  11. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bastille
     
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  12. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Lubyanka, any of them with "New" in front might work too, as nicknames if not official ones.
     
  13. iRoppa

    iRoppa Member

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    The Houses of Parliament (just kidding!)
    Lets see:
    The Reliquary (tongue firmly in cheek)
    The Complex
    Department of Reclamation (this one scares me the most!)
     
  14. FireWater

    FireWater Contributing Member

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    Thanks! I agree that the Dept. of Reclamation has a scary ring to it. The word "Bastille" looks scary on paper, too.
     
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  15. Rahl

    Rahl Member

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    How about "The House of Illumination" or "Halls of Illumination"

    It has a ring of religion about it and the illumination part would be toward sinner who need to be brought to the light.
     
  16. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    I agree with any and all of those ideas. I don't find "The Sanctuary" to be bad. You could go full on ironic and call it "The Happy Place." However, I assume that's not the tone you want. That's my style.

    You could also invoke religion: The Temple. Or medicine: The Clinic.

    Peace, Tex
     
  17. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I tell you story, yes...:P Contributor

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    How about Facility-731? :p
    The Behavior Bureau (AKA The BB)
    Facility of Attitude Management (F.A.M. like family)

    Here is a Prison Name Generator that may help:

    http://fantasynamegenerators.com/prison-names.php


    TearingApart.jpg
     
  18. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Contributing Member

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    How about something using either "clink" or "slammer." You could always go with Alabama Slammer, which would have an ironic, humorous connotation to it considering the circumstances. And as a drink is nearly post-apocalyptic... I've made maybe 3 in the last 15 years
     
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  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    For my distopian thing I'm playing with (working title - the darkest storm) they are simply known as 'treatment camps' and known to the populace as "the camps"

    I tend to think that if you don't want to do the orwellian ironic 'ministry of love' thing then just calling a spade a spade is the way to go - its also worth remembering that prior to the end of WW2 Auchswitz, Treblinka, Belsen etc were just place names
     
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  20. Dnaiel

    Dnaiel Contributing Member

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    This can be a lot of fun.

    Felon Mart
    Dixin Dabbut Correctional Center
    The Fellwater Waste Treatment Facility
     
  21. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    iRoppa and Dnaiel like this.
  22. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In Spanish presidio means both prison and fort. It's an unusual, readymade double entendre. It's a known term in the U.S., having occurrences in at least two places that jump to mind. The Presidio in San Fransisco (El Presidio Real de San Francisco), and the name of the school that @Iain Aschendale and I both attended, The Presidio of Monterey.
     
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  23. Silent Lion

    Silent Lion Active Member

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    You should definitely have a colloquial name as opposed to a correct name. I agree that 'The Sanctuary' isn't the fit, because it's not realistic. Given the style and brand of your dystopian government, what would *they* call it? How would they like to present the concept? Real governments use technical sounding names (like correctional facility) because it makes them sound like they have the technical expertise to handle the situation, and therefore that's why they're in charge.

    And the colloquial name also shouldn't be The Sanctuary imo because the felon sorts don't tend towards fancy poetic names (hence Slammer, Clink etc). Your colloquial name could have an ironic ring, but it needs to be what the inmates call it (eg, "They sent him to the... coffin castle / sty / casket")
     
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  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    I think the sanctuary could be a fit if the OP wanted irony or spin branding (as with Orwells 1984 where the ministry of love are the secret police, the ministry of truth run the proganda, the ministry of peace run the armed forces and so on) however he said he didnt want that take and i tend to agree its fairly over done these days
     
  25. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hey, the student-run newspaper at my university was called The Sanctuary :D

    Anyway, how did this government rise to power? What made the people support this government or the leader of this government initially? Would researching into how party names came to be give you some inspiration?

    You know, like, the Green Party is, well, a party that is concerned with the environment. The Labour Party was originally a party that advocated for the ordinary worker - the labourer. The Conservative Party - well, they hold traditional, conservative values, don't they? (I'm British, hence all British examples lol) UKIP - the UK Independence Party - an English political party that wants Britain to be white again.

    What I'm saying is, the party names usually reflect the party's actual values. What are the values of your government?

    You don't have to make the name sound sinister. If you portray the government and its actions well enough, your reader will associate the name with danger and fear.
     

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