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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.


Sun 03

Baby, I love your name

Max Yes! It is only a month and a half until Baby Barry is due. Which means it’s really time for Jen and me to come up with a name.

You’d think this would be right up my alley—I mean, I name characters all the time. But is it really ethical to give a kid a name just because I find it amusing? This is the dilemma I face as I consider such favorites as “Binky,” “Fizz,” and “Alan.”

(Okay, that’s just a joke. The “Alan” doesn’t mean we’re having a boy. I need to be clear about this because we’re keeping the sex a secret, and we have a lot of relatives watching keenly for any slip-up. That would spoil the betting pool—which, incidentally, is currently running 2-to-1 in favor of a girl.)

I know some people say you should wait and see what they look like before naming them (“We were going to call him Sam, but when we saw him we just knew he was a Horatio!”), but I don’t know about this. I’ve seen pictures of newborns, and they all look like aliens. If I named our kid based on what he looked like after birth, I’d probably call him, “Krxz’ll Ak Ak Hrgggggg.”

My other problem is that “Barry” really sucks as a surname. I never realized this before; until now it’s been fine. But just try to put a first name in front of that thing! For boys, anything unusual sounds like we got the name backwards (my Dad went his whole life being called “Barry Hamilton”). Girl names sound ridiculous if they’re two syllables and end in an “ee” sound, and that’s practically all of them. Also, anything that starts with “B” is definitely out.

I tell you, “Barry” makes it tough. And the clock is ticking.

Incidentally, Jen has started referring to herself as “we.” As in, “We’re hungry,” or “We want to lie down now.” It’s little unsettling. She’s become a hive mind.


This is where site members post comments. If you're not a member, you can join here. There are all kinds of benefits, including moral superiority!

Matthew (#16)

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Quote: "Unicorn on mountain top. Wind blowing through mane."
Posted: 5162 days ago

The baby will soon have complete control over you, your house, and maybe even your whole neighborhood soon. Then possibly the whole world.

I, myself, welcome our new fetus/baby overlord.

Machine Man subscriber Grant Henninger (#1438)

Posted: 5162 days ago

I think Blue would be a great name. Or maybe Raz... How about Straw? Boysen would make a wonderful girls name and I think Cran would be quite fitting for a boy.

In high school there were two brothers, one was named Sam U and the other was Max. Their last name was Well. So I think you could find a perfectly good name that would work well with Barry, you just have to make sure you work with it's strengths.

Bryan McConnell (#1436)

Location: CGY, AB or SPI, IL
Posted: 5162 days ago

Goodness Grant, I must need sleep. It took me two readings to get your joke.

Good luck with the baby!

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @:"
Posted: 5161 days ago

how about along the lines of scientology and just name him/her:
Thetan Four
that's the "level" that Tom Cruise is...
imagine the things he would accomplish in life if you start him off from day one at level four of scientology... :)

or name him/her after a favorite director/writer like how bout:
Paul Thomas Anderson Barry
or Paula Ann Barry

or if Jen was messing around w/ the black gardener just name him: Jerome
i kidd i kidd...

btw did you hear about Teller from Penn and Teller naming his kid: Crimefighter ---so when he got pulled over in the future he could get out of getting a ticket but just telling the cop that he's "on his side"... :)

Allison Maxted (#327)

Location: Caledonia, Ontario, Canada
Quote: "Why do the mice keep voting for the cats?"
Posted: 5161 days ago

I think you should name her Evelyn Barry if she's a girl and... Loyd Barry if he's a boy. I think they sound good.

Adam (#580)

Location: Hotel Lobbies (with Winona Ryder)
Quote: "I want to be famous. Really famous."
Posted: 5161 days ago

Considering your title, you should name it Victor Ward Barry, or, if a girl, Chloe Byrnes Barry.

Tim Ashwood (#595)

Location: Sydney
Posted: 5161 days ago

What's wrong with Max?

Maxwell or Maximillian if it's a boy (which ever one you are not), and Maxene if it's a girl.

I, for one, welcome our new Maximum overlord.

Teri (#1189)

Location: Chicago
Quote: "Perception is 9/10ths of Reality."
Posted: 5161 days ago

One of my nicknames is Teri-Beri. If you did have a girl, (or a boy for that matter) you could name it Teri/Terry. Teri Barry is a cute name! :)

Rob2Kx (#1125)

Location: Canada
Quote: "Anything for laughs even if it kills you"
Posted: 5161 days ago

You could always take a pop culture phenomenon that's at the height of its popularity and name him(?) accordingly. That way in like 10-20 years people will always be asking him what the hell his name is all about. ie: Darth Barry.

Andrew (#1279)

Location: Texas
Posted: 5161 days ago

Where can i join this beting table at :D

JacksSmirkingRevenge (#1324)

Location: That place where Billy Elliot was comitted, England
Quote: "What can the harvest hope for if not for the care of the reaper man?"
Posted: 5161 days ago

call the tyke barry (even if its girl). If were being serious, how about terressa, if its a girl. You could also call a boy Xam, and then walk around as Xam and Max.

Tony Quin (#1310)

Location: Plymouth -urgh
Quote: "Yoga is NAILS"
Posted: 5161 days ago

How about Robin. Traditionally it's a boy's name, but it doesn't sound bad on girls. I have heard of girls with the name as well, so I'm sure you can find precident.
It also doesn't sound silly in front of "Barry", so you're ok on that count too.

I agree about the alien thing, babys can look quite repulsive. You know, "Horatio/a" wouldn't be so bad either! ;)

Tony Quin (#1310)

Location: Plymouth -urgh
Quote: "Yoga is NAILS"
Posted: 5161 days ago

Allison Maxted, you know it should be "Lloyd", yes? It is also a surname though. Might make them suffer as did Mr. Hamilton.

Barry is not a bad surname, at least you can reasonably expect it to be pronounced/spelt correctly. Not so Mr. Atkins. Sorry, Apquins. No, that would be Aquining. *sigh*

Henry T. Monkeypimpenstein (#1212)

Location: Wellington, NZ
Quote: "Monkeypimp: Geeky enough to use his lame NS forum name here too."
Posted: 5161 days ago

'The' something is always good.

Adam A. (#256)

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Quote: "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." -George Carlin"
Posted: 5161 days ago

Barry's a cake name compared to mine. There are very few names in the human language that sound good with it. Our new spawn is due at the end of August. It's probably a girl, and we've got a good name picked out, but I won't share. It's mine! I mean ours!

Myrth (#22)

Location: London, UK
Quote: "A quote must have a beginning, a middle and an"
Posted: 5161 days ago

If it's a boy you could just call him 'Barry'. That way he only ever has to remember one name!

Toni (#1195)

Location: Boston
Quote: " Mr. Meany says, "Hey!", "You look like shit today!""
Posted: 5161 days ago

I think Horatio is an awesome name. Also, since your last name is Barry a first name that begins with an H will really roll off of the tongue well and it has a pleasing sound. "Horatio Barry". The fact that its polysyllabic is better too. Horace Barry doesnt sound so good or Henry Barry either. I think a name that starts with an I, A, L, M, N, R, S, T W first names will sound really good too.
But who am I. Don't listen to me. I'm just some faceless geek who reads alot. lol. I don't believe the whole, see your baby first and then name him because kids grow into a name. If you name him Horatio, when he's older people will say, wow he looks like a Horatio.........Because He IS a HOratio. lol

All the best and congratulations!!!

Jonathan (#1209)

Location: Niskayuna, NY (USA)
Quote: "Quamquam Max Barry fuit molestus, servi eum non verbererunt."
Posted: 5161 days ago

Why not look at some Deutsch names?

Adolph Barry
Bertha Barry
Giesela Barry
Ludwig Barry
Otto Barry
Ottokar Barry
Wolfgang Barry

Personally, I think the best is "Bertha Barry" (for a girl) or "Adolph Barry" (for a dictator boy).

Joscelyn (#754)

Location: California,USA
Posted: 5161 days ago

Barry is and excellent last name, it is my maiden name. lots of names roll of beutifully. kevin, susan, Joe,Mckenna,Dane and of course Joscelyn!

Machine Man subscriber Danni (#357)

Location: England
Quote: "Eagerly awaiting the European Tour."
Posted: 5161 days ago

I told my partner that my baby was going to be called either Christopher or Samantha Caitlyn during labour. He wasn't going to argue then and now Samantha Caitlyn Backhouse is doing very well ;)

Oh, and just another thing- you may have less time than you think. Sammie was 3 weeks early, being born Boxing Day after I went into labour Christmas Day. The right name will come to you, though looking in baby books won't hurt :)

Good luck, and tell Jen I'm thinking of them ;)

OverlordBill (#1197)

Location: ~2B, -4B
Posted: 5161 days ago

The neighbors down the street are named Cane. They had twin girls that they named Sugar and Candy. You can't be a worse parent than that.

You could by naming it Very though. That would be bad. Very bad. (Ho ho wit.)

Allison Maxted (#327)

Location: Caledonia, Ontario, Canada
Quote: "Why do the mice keep voting for the cats?"
Posted: 5161 days ago

Tony Quin.. yes I do know that it is Lloyd.. that was just a typo. It was my grandfather's name and I have come to like it a lot. I think it suonds really good with Barry.. but you're right about it being a last name also. How about... Nathanial Barry?

Cotland (#1325)

Location: jippi
Posted: 5161 days ago

How about you name him Hack if its a boy? Hack Barry... It sorta has a ring in it, and it's a homage to your books! Go with Hack mate.

Machine Man subscriber Bushra (#36)

Location: Fremont, California
Quote: ""
Posted: 5161 days ago

A few boys names I've always liked:


Can't think of any girls names.

Luckdragon (#1116)

Location: Connecticut, USA
Quote: "Totally addicted to the online, all the time, never gonna go outside."
Posted: 5161 days ago

Name it after a month, those are always semi-neutral names:


Or try some "O" names

Oswald (so the nickname can be Oz, sweet)

Or as stated before, after some dangling bit of pop-culture:


RuPaul Barry? (ok, I think I crossed the line).

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 5161 days ago

How bout Crash? Or, better yet, Krash. Cool and sophisticated at the same time.

Yeah... Krash Barry in da house, yo. Didn't like that Adolf idea too much, though. Probably Benito, that at least got a little sound.

Robert (#413)

Location: Los Angeles
Quote: "A positive attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Posted: 5160 days ago

Eric Barry or Jessica Barry sound nice to me.

Machine Man subscriber Grant Henninger (#1438)

Posted: 5160 days ago

I've always wanted to name my kids, especially if it's a boy, with a name that starts with either a 'Q' or an 'X'. That way you could just call them 'Q' or 'X'. You know, it can't be any more pretentious than Maxx, right? ;-)

lyssabits (#1444)

Location: San Francisco, CA
Quote: ""Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.""
Posted: 5160 days ago

I've always apalled my child-minded girl friends by stating that pregnancy has never appeared to me to be a natural process that I wish to experience, but instead, was clearly some sort of parasitic/alien invasion. So I have to agree with your assessment that Jen has become some sort of hive mind that will soon give birth to its wrinkly alien offspring.

How do you men trick us into having these "babies" in the first place? ;)

colette (#1361)

Quote: "What just happened?"
Posted: 5160 days ago

Jonathan's suggestion sounds good: Otto Barry. But not. I think you should go to the ancient Australians and seek their help in the naming of your personal alien. JacksSmirkingRevenge stole my idea of Xam. Or, for variation, and to drive the kid nuts in junior high/high school, Xxam. Learning cursive shall be a pain to your kid.

Tell Jen the secret plan of world domination has begun. It is now her turn to ensure the success of our species.

Ari (#1107)

Location: somewhere around California
Quote: "Can I be a random member of the moment?"
Posted: 5160 days ago

I don't know what to say about boys' names, but for girls, names that end in an "a" (like Julia or something) seem to sound good. That's just a suggestion, though. I personally like "Alice."

Boys' names are tough....

Rowan (#1446)

Posted: 5160 days ago

You could always go for the really cheesy route and name the child, assuming the pot runs right, Halle Barry...

You have to admit you'd get some laughs.

Mincetro (#584)

Quote: "This isn't skiing"
Posted: 5160 days ago

Talking about World Domination...
Resputine? or if its a girl, Resputina.

I recently named my dog Vlademir...
Russian names are always good for everyone.
Or a klingon name... Kh'tah is a powerful name don't you think? What about Beh'Lh'anah. That fits nicely on a Marquee.
I've known people called Dax and Jester...

Blair Yacishyn (#1447)

Location: Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
Quote: "Well, School is hockey since it's never nice to talk about water."
Posted: 5160 days ago

What about Sebastien? Has a nice ring to it I think. In addition I'd also reccomend Conrad, Jerrid, Jacob and Vincent. For girls? hmm, Jessica, Andrea, Vanessa and Annika.

Ams_S.o.E. (#1425)

Location: Naptown
Quote: ""I'm dancing for you Kyle(?)" if someone can name the actor who said it and which movie its from (and possibly correct the quote) ill give them monies"
Posted: 5159 days ago

i think its kinda wierd to see all these people fantasizing about your fetal child.... but u should nbame it jude!! or perhaps ashley.....maybe taniqua (pronounced tah-nee-kwa)!!

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 5159 days ago

Taking world domination into account, you should name it Muhahahhaahaaa, like evil laughter. If he/she ever finds him/herself projected on a big LCD screen in front of the UN Assembly, he/she can combine name and signature laugh.

Machine Man subscriber Adam (#24)

Location: Morristown, Indiana
Quote: "Why do I blog? Simple, because Max Barry blogs."
Posted: 5159 days ago

Wed. 6 July 2005

Why can't people give their kids normal names like Jeffery or Jonathan? Or if it's a girl, Rachael or Rebbecca? Too many people torture their children by giving them weird names like Apple and Radioscience. By the way, I think you should name the baby Desklamp. Or if it's a girl, Rippleffect. Speaking of names, Why the crap is there another guy named Adam on here,Adam(#580)?

And now time for something completely different.
So I was jogging the other day and I began thinking about world hunger. I came up with a plan to end it, but then I forgot and life went on. End of Story.

The next chapter in the Panda Chronicles...


So the Mecha-Walrus and Electrik began swimming the Bering Strait. It was a long and enduring swim. As they drew closer to Russia, they encountered a large sign.
Electrik began reading the large sign sticking out of the water(good thing he took Russian in High School)," SORRY, RUSSIA HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MAP DUE TO LARGE BUDGET CUTS."
"Now what are we supposed to do?" asked Mecha-Walrus.
"I am not sure," Electrik replied.
"Perhaps we could vandilize the sign with graffiti. That would temporarily make us feel better."
So they pulled out their neon colored spray paint cans and began paint RUSSIA SUCKS! all over the giant sign not realizing that Russia no longer existed because Red Panda was watching Electrik from afar. He knows that Electrik has been sent to stop him....


Busy mice are scurrying everywhere doing Red Panda's little chores with the supervision of Red Panda's most trusted officials. "Work Faster mice. No time for breaks. We've got an army to feed!" They shouted at the mice.
"Ah yes, everything is going to plan." Red Panda says with after hearing the news that Electrik can't get past the barrier that he set in Russia. "Now no one can stop me...Bwahahahahahahahahaha....ha!"

What will happen next? Not even I know.

Want to leave a comment, Adam?
Answer: Yes


EsforG13 (#1448)

Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Quote: "Fishing is like masterbatation with out the payoff!"
Posted: 5159 days ago

Hey Max,

This has nothing to do with the blog but I just wanted to let you know I just read Jennifer Government and I loved it. Can't wait for company and I just order Syrup. Hey have you ever been contacted about making a movie about one of your books?

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 5159 days ago

You're right: It doesn't have anything to do with the blog. :->>

Daniel Rose (#1367)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 5158 days ago

Name him after a Greek god/goddess or hero. They always go down well.

Some examples are... -Phoebus (Apollo)
-Ajax (also a cleaning product)
-Athena or Nike (goddesses of etc)
-Poseidon (god of sea)
-Dionysis (god of drinking)

Daniel Short (#257)

Location: Oklahoma, USA
Quote: "Hehe"
Posted: 5158 days ago

Kevin is the best name for your boy (and it will be a boy)

Trust me. Don't ask how I know, just trust me

William S (#485)

Location: North Carolina
Quote: "When the time comes, cut the green one."
Posted: 5158 days ago

> I think you should name her Evelyn Barry if she's a girl and... Loyd Barry if he's a boy. I think they sound good.
Two "L"s in Lloyd. Don't ask me why, though, I think it has something to do with llama

William S (#485)

Location: North Carolina
Quote: "When the time comes, cut the green one."
Posted: 5158 days ago

> How do you men trick us into having these "babies" in the first place? ;)
I'm not sure how we do it. I think it involves alcohol.

Mats (#1057)

Location: Turku, Finland, Europe, Earth
Quote: ""The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist knows it." James Branch Cabell via Robert Oppenheimer"
Posted: 5158 days ago

Kastor and Pollux sound great to me. They're supposed to be boys names but not many know it so they could work for a girl or a baby alien just as well. Or you could name him/her/it according to the starsign in which he/she/it is born, like Pisces or Gemini. Or name him/her/it after yours and Jens starsigns. Or you could name him/her/it after your grandfathers great-uncles starsign if you're into that kind of thing.

HAL 9000 (#271)

Location: Boston
Quote: "Let them hate me, so long as they fear me."
Posted: 5158 days ago

After reading through these suggestions (I think my favorite is either Darth Barry or "Boysen" for a girl)--I realized that your last name is almost as hard to match something up with as mine (Bravo). All of the guys names start sounding a bit silly if they are two syllables and you say them a couple times... even the ones I like separately.

"Maxx" definitely works well, as you know (but you have to add the extra X)... You could just do something very "Syrupy" and name the kid Q or something like that "@" *is* a pretty name for a girl, after all... or, see if you can get some advertising revenue if you named her/him "Nike"....

Malkav11 (#1403)

Posted: 5157 days ago

I've always favored Nyarlathotep as a baby name. Y'know, "the Crawling Chaos".

Grace (#1225)

Location: Melbourne aka The Cliffs of Insanity
Quote: "I refuse to have a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed."
Posted: 5155 days ago

Whatever name is chosen should be able to be shortened to one syllable, because that sounds better next to "Barry".

Fizz Barry? Why not? Shaz? Bazz? Phil? Sam? All good.

Nate Spears (#1454)

Location: Dallas, TX
Quote: ""Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood." -Doran Martell"
Posted: 5154 days ago

Why, yes I do want to leave a comment.

I also think that you should consider naming your son Barry. Later, when you succeed in putting your Nation-states experience to work in Europe somewhere, you can create a military rank of Barry in your army. At the moment of your enlisted son's promotion, your horrified wife will finally discover his monstrous middle name . . . Barry Barry Barry Barry. Few men would be brave enough to do such a thing, but I think that you are one of them.

You might also turn to the great Stanley Kubrick for inspiration. Lyndon Barry has a certain ring to it; aside from the novel and movie of the reverse name, it also brings to mind "lingonberry," and "Londonderry," as in "aire."

John Doe (#797)

Location: Live from Omicron Persei 8
Quote: "You're just jealous because the little voices only talk to me."
Posted: 5149 days ago

Hey, Max. I came across this list of baby names and their popularity across the years, and thought you might be interested.

How old did you say you were? :) Your name seems to have been quite uncommon at the time.

Jamie (#111)

Location: Auckland
Quote: "Anyone still spelling "internet" with a capital "I" is probably struggling with the complexities of their new-fangled electric typewriter."
Posted: 5103 days ago

So the betting pool was running 2 to 1 in favour of a girl, and that's what you had.

Either some of your relatives have secret ultrasound powers, or someone in-the-know spilled the genes.

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