When we were kids, my brother's favorite Doctor Who serial was "State of Decay" from Tom Baker's last season. I don't think it's a particularly good story, but since my brother liked it so much, I ended up watching it numerous times.

"State of Decay" is a gothic vampire story (the last of the Fourth Doctor's gothic serials), taking place on a distant planet. The master vampire on the planet, who had fought the Time Lords when even Rassilon was young, has corrupted the three officers from the Earth exploration ship the Hydrax, turning them into immortal vampires. Over the generations, the names of the "three who rule" have evolved from captain Sharky, navigation officer Lauren MacMillan and science officer Anthony O'Connor to Zargo, Camilla, and Aukon, respectively.

It recently occurred to me that Camilla was (almost) a famous vampire name. "Carmilla" by J. Sheridan LeFanu was one of the two most famous vampire stories (along with Varney the Vampire) prior to the publication of Dracula. In British received pronunciation (a.k.a. "BBC English"), "Carmilla" and "Camilla" are basically homophonous.

What I was wondering was whether the names of the other vampires were allusions of a similar sort. I did not see any connections in the names "Zargo" or "Aukon," but I am by no means an expert of vampire fiction.

1 Answer 1


There are many different ways that fictional and "exotic" names are derived. If there is a smell, but only a smell, of familiarity then that can add to the impact.

When I look at the names I see this:

captain Sharky    --> Zargo    
Lauren MacMillan  --> Camilla    
Anthony O'Connor  --> Aukon  

I then say them and hear the sounds, and to me the transformations appear phonetic.

captain Sharky    --> Sharko   --> Zargo    
Lauren MacMillan  --> maCMilla --> Camilla    
Anthony O'Connor  --> A O'Con  --> Aukon 

This has the added benefit of simplicity and ease. All of them go through the same phonetic degenerative process. It is poetic because the corruption to vampire is a similarly subtractive parallel to the corruption of their names.

  • 2
    From memory, the Doctor worked out that the vampires were the original Hydrax officers because their names matched the phonetic shift predicted by Grimms Law for that period of time.
    – Batperson
    Sep 8, 2021 at 9:28
  • Grimms law? Gotta czech that out. Thanks for the pointer. Sep 8, 2021 at 22:13

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