Many people, myself included, have thought that the book of Middle Eastern fantasy tales, One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, is a unified work of one author or compiler from the 16th century, ala The Brothers Grimm. But it isn’t. It’s a far older collection of folk tales and poetry from a far wider range of cultures — Persian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Jewish, even Egyptian — compiled and translated by as many diverse scholars. The tales the Western World is most familiar with are Aladdin and His Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Sindbad the Sailor, but there are many more, some with talking animals, Aesop-style, while others are erotic or incorporate medical advice. The whole is unified within the framing device of a young bride telling her husband one tale a night, and leaving at a cliffhanger, to prevent him from killing her. It’s inspired authors from Tanith Lee to Steven King, and even myself (admittedly second-hand, as I’ve yet to find a translation that is easy to read yet not too colloquial.)
One plus it has is a lot of exotic names with a Middle Eastern/Central Asian feel that is not pinned down to one place in particular. Likewise, so are my names, randomly generated for your writing use.
(A note on naming conventions. Very broadly, Muslim names are typically the proper name, then father’s, then the grandfather’s, then the great-grandfather’s, etc. ending with the family name. A prefix before each male ancestor’s name, bin, indicates “son of.” (Bint means “daughter of.”) Other prefixes before names are often used, such as abd, “servant of/slave of.” As these names are intended for pseudo-Arabian Nights worldbuilding, and not actual cultures, feel free to make up whatever connecting syllable you want to give the name that kind of feel.)
Arabian Nights Names
[…] trove of literature of the fantastic. I’ve randomized its pseudo-Arabic names and places here, and the titles of the stories themselves also make for an interesting randomization stew. They stick […]