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How EON got its name

When we first sat down six years ago to discuss what would go in an EVE magazine, one of the first things we talked about was what to call it. Two early names that were considered were ‘EVE+’  and ‘New Eden’. ‘EVE Gate’ was discounted early on as it was the name of a well-known fansite at the time. Had it not been, what we know as EVE Gate today would likely be called something entirely similar.

Playing around with potential words and fonts for our new internet spaceship publication, we quickly agreed that whatever we called the magazine, it had to start with that distinctive gappy ‘E’. It made sense to try to come up with a three-letter name too – one as close to EVE as possible, but just a bit different. The next step was to break out the dictionaries and find that word. It didn’t take long. After rapidly dismissing ‘Egg’, ‘Eon’ quickly surfaced as a favourite: “eternal” said the well-thumbed Chambers on the shelf. We liked that. It also suggested Eon as “a power emanating from the supreme deity, with its share in the creation and government of the universe.” Perfect.

Contrary to what some would assume later on, EON wasn’t an acronym for anything. At one point I liked the idea of calling the mag ‘EQ’ – EVE Quarterly, but given that EQ was already well-known to mean EverQuest, in spite of me plugging for EQM, EON rightly remained at the top of the favoured list of magazine names.

Then we hit a snag. There already was an Eon magazine out there, somewhere. Or rather there was a website suggesting as much. What it was about and where it might have been produced has escaped my memory. It didn’t matter, nor that the site hadn’t been updated since 2001 and the mag might have long side stopped operating. We ran the risk of attracting legal attention further down the road that, given our meagre resources and less-than assured future, we should probably try to avoid if at all possible. So that was it. Back to the dictionaries and thesaurusi. EON fell off the board and EQM went up a notch.

That was when we hit upon the idea of throwing in some punctuation and calling the mag E-ON. Sure there was the world’s largest investor-owned energy service provider with an almost identical name, but we could deal with them. Or rather, we weren’t going to be competing with them, so it wouldn’t be an issue (or so the legal minds told us). The trouble was, E-ON looked hideous as a logo. So we slid the hyphen into the ‘O’ to hide it a little so that if anyone left alive from the other Eon magazine called us up saying “Give us millions of dollars or we’ll shut you down!” we could respond with “Actually it’s called ‘E dash ON’, so there!”

The thing is, ever since we decided on ‘E’ dash ON’ as the name for the magazine back in early 2005 it has annoyed me greatly. The name, not the logo. I love the logo. I especially love the way that the ‘-O’ has established itself as part of EVE’s unofficial font, with the rogue hyphen even spreading virus-like to other letters of the alphabet. The ‘-O’ has become as recognisable a part of EON’s identity as that stencilled ‘E’ is to EVE. No, what I hated was that bloody awful hyphen. It wasn’t enough to have it in the logo, we had refer to the magazine as ‘E’ dash ON’ all the damn time.

Thankfully its gone now. Hopefully never to return. That’s because all evidence of that other Eon magazine seems to have disappeared to the degree that it may never have existed at all and maybe it was some collective dream we had at the time, or a faulty browser. In any case after some deliberation last month we quietly decided to drop the hyphen for this latest issue and not mention it ever again.

…Except that I have mentioned it, because while in the grand scheme of things it may not be a big deal, I detested that hyphen in the magazine. I would always leave it out whenever I submitted any work, with our dutiful production people slotting it back in before we’d go to print. It’s fair to say that the hyphen was for years the focus of a silent battle for punctuation domination in the office. Now it is gone and I am very happy it has. I’m doing the happy dance now in fact.

At last, the EON office is at peace.

Oh shit.


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