The Last Name

Well, this is an embarrassing confession.

Here I am, on page three hundred thirty-four of the first half of the novel, when I encounter a little reminder to insert Brett’s last name. So, being a semi-pro, I open up the novel’s bible to look it up.

Damn if it’s not there.

I know I used it at least once elsewhere in the novel. Of course, this is a sequel, so the last name was used in the first book. But searching for it has proven daunting.

I’m surprised this happened, and it’s irking me. I keep documents to help me remember and understand who’s doing what to who, and what’s happened to everyone, to sustain internal logic. I can’t believe I can’t find his last name.

In my defense, this is a science fiction novel. Although the majority of space-travelers and colonists have westernized their names for public use, names aren’t critical in the future. Digital personal identifiers are what identify you and socialize who you are. You P.I.D. is constantly being broadcast and scanned. The P.I.D. defines you. Based on your birth date, time, location (including planet), universal master number (U.M.N., which includes your cultural and ethnic heritage, and is assigned sequentially), and D.N.A., it’s generated when you’re born. While first names are used in conversations, the last names are generally superfluous. There are cults that hold to traditional norms, bandying their last names about as though they’re greatly important, but you don’t need them.

It’s the second day of the search. A rational internal section cheers me to ignore it for now, that this can be found later, but finding it has become an obsession. Tangentially, I believe my writing soul is enjoying the departure from the editing routine. Plus, fortified with a quad-shot mocha, my confidence about finding it is racing along on wings of caffeine, sugar and chocolate.

Let the search commence! Or, recommence.


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