In Persepolis Rising, book 7 of the Expanse series, there is a character named

Payne Houston

This name makes


cough "with contempt and laughter" and say "I'm assuming that's his own choice and not what his mommy called him."

What makes the name funny? Is it because Payne sounds like "pain?" Is Houston a reference to the space center in Houston, Texas?

I haven't read the whole book yet and even if I finish it, I assume others coming to this question won't have read it, so if the explanation for the name requires reading the rest of the book, I'd appreciate it if such answers used spoilers.

  • 1
    Probably because Payne sounds like "pain". Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 22:33
  • 2
    +1 Welcome to SFF.SE! I hope my edit to the title is acceptable, if not happy to roll back.
    – Lexible
    Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 23:43
  • 2
    @Lexible Thanks (for the welcome and the title change). I guess there's a difference between the name only being funny to the reader but not the characters, and the name being funny to the characters (but possibly not us)
    – user
    Commented Jun 3, 2023 at 23:55
  • 1
    As a purely wild guess, "Payne Houston" might sound to a Belter a bit like "peeing on Houston"
    – Andrew
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 0:54
  • 2
    @o.m. Payne is used a first name in the real world.
    – Spencer
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 15:08


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