I've been reading and thoroughly enjoying the anthology I, Alien edited by Mike Resnick. In particular I liked the story “Hi, Colonic” by Harry Turtledove, though you possibly need to have studied biology at school to get the joke. Anyhow, in this story one of the aliens is called "Iffspay" (we don't learn the other alien's name) and I'm wondering is "Iffspay" is a biological joke: maybe an anagram or the name of a species. But after much Googling I can't find anything. Does anyone know if it's a joke, or is it just some random word made up by the author?

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    Sounds like pig latin. "Spiff"? "Piffs"? Spaceman Spiff is one of Calvin's imaginary heroes in Calvin and Hobbes.
    – TLP
    Mar 11, 2012 at 19:45
  • The name isn't "Iffsplay", or "liffspay" by any chance? That would be pig latin for "spliff", which might make more sense.
    – Christi
    Mar 11, 2012 at 20:23
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    I thought similarly before noticing @TLP's comment. Check out calvinandhobbes.wikia.com/wiki/Spaceman_Spiff to see if there are any other possible parallels between Iffspay and Spaceman Spiff.
    – Josh
    Mar 11, 2012 at 20:24
  • I don't want to say what sort of creature Iffspay is, because it will ruin the story, but I can't see it having any relation to the C&H comics. The humour in the story is, erm, scatalogical to put it politely :-) Mar 11, 2012 at 20:35
  • I agree with TLP and Josh. I was about to post the theory as an answer, until I noticed their comments. Also see here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Iszi
    Mar 12, 2012 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


Posting comment as answer as per request.

Sounds like pig latin. "Spiff"? "Piffs"? Spaceman Spiff is one of Calvin's imaginary heroes in Calvin and Hobbes.

  • You might want to mention that this isn't the only Bill Watterson allusion in Turtledove's writings. He also mentions Hamster Huey (of gooey kablooey fame).
    – Valorum
    Oct 30, 2016 at 20:31

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