Some writers use placeholders in their works instead of character names, using Find-Replace when the right name comes to them.  I can’t even imagine being able to do that.  While I’m not a writer who gets clever with hidden meanings and inside jokes, to me, a name becomes inextricably bound up with the character.  I don’t have a clear picture of the character until I know their name.

(Changing a name, which is necessary every now and again, is torture for me.)

In Scylla and Charybdis, the individual names may not have meaning, but there is some structure and theme.  The all-female space station is populated by women with the names of mythological Amazons.  They’ve retained surnames from their various pasts, which sometimes makes for unlikely combinations and/or a contrast with physical appearance.

The same sort of unusual combo shows up in the rest of the novel's setting.  When I considered the history of the universe I had created and the circumstances that sent people into the stars, it seemed only natural that the ethnic distinctions of names would blur, be adopted in unusual places, and be handed down to children, grandchildren, etc, with a different surname or origin.  So without trying to make every name "weird" to our modern ear, I did apply some mixing of name origins.  The bubbly Upala Manuel, who shows up later in the narrative, is one example.

In the original short story, there was a particular reason for Gwydion’s name.  Since I had chosen Greek mythology for my female characters, it seemed fitting that Anaea’s male counterpart would have a name derived from a different mythos, and I chose Welsh.  The name of his unrequited love, Sophie, was also deliberate:  it means wisdom.

Don’t ask me why the kearl (a genetic cat-monkey hybrid kept as a companion animal) is named Penelope, though.  She just is.