"Secret Names"  
Analog Jan1992.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Analog Magazine
Collected Departures
Genre(s) Science fiction, Fantasy
Publication date January, 1992

"Secret Names" is a science fiction-fantasy short story written by Harry Turtledove. It was originally published in Analog Magazine in January 1992 and reprinted in the Turtledove collection Departures in 1993.

The story is set in a future North America sometime after a nuclear holocaust (the "Big Oops"), and concerns the difficulties which Madyu, a shaman of a tribe of hunter-gathers in "Eestexas", had in making hunting magic work and his attempts to gain the "secret names" of animals to make his magic stronger.

Similarities to other works[]

The story's atmosphere is very similar to Robert Adams' Horseclans series, to which Turtledove contributed "Precious Treasure". S.M. Stirling's Emberverse, to which Turtledove contributed "Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers," is also somewhat similar, and likely partly inspired by Adams.

The Valley-Westside War also has the future survivors of a nuclear apocalypse refer to the pre-war era as the "Old Time". In addition, guns (though unreliable) existed and were used in the novel and in "Secret Names." However, Valley-Westside lacks the crucial fantasy element of the shorter work, so the stories probably do not share a universe.

"Half the Battle" has a similar lexicon of broken pidgin names for North American geography, but its characters are better at pulling themselves back up the technological ladder.