Why "Alfvaen"?

I first happened upon the name in Janet Kagan's excellent novel Hellspark. In that book, there is a character named Tinling Alfvaen, who is female, and a serendipitist--one who has an unproven psychic ability to cause favourable circumstances in her vicinity, in possibly roundabout ways.

I proceeded to lend this book to several people. When my brother's girlfriend was setting up a freeform roleplaying campaign, she suggested the name Alfvaen for my character. I adopted it, and greatly enjoyed her campaign, and playing Alfvaen's role.

Thus, it seemed an obvious choice for a net.alias.

I have since found out that Alfvaen means "elf-friend" in Swedish, and perhaps Old English as well. It is also very close to the surname of Hannes Alfvén, a physicist who discovered a form of ion wave in plasma that bears his name. (I did, for a time, work with simulation software involving plasma physics, and ran across his name fairly often.)

It is pronounced in three syllables, alf-VAY-en. I prefer the diminutive "Ælf" to the more intuitive "Alf", for reasons that often escape me. "Vaen" is also acceptable, with or without a leading apostrophe.

Alfvaen is also the protagonist of at least one story, and maybe more, based on the events of that roleplaying campaign. If I ever get them finished. I also used it in the game of Ackanomic, and as one of my principal characters in the game of Lorenai, both of which are, alas, defunct. It's my username on many sites, including Wikipedia, Neopets, and NaNoWriMo.

Last updated: 1/19/2006

The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com