Why do residents of Solaria bother with last names?

Every person is guaranteed to have a unique first name, so last names don't distinguish there. Also, children have no idea who their parents are and vice versa, so last names aren't useful for identifying lineage.

The only thing i can think of is that they identify spousal relationships, as a woman takes on her husband's name. But on such a small planet, and especially when even married couples hardly ever "see" each other, is that the reason?

(Side question: Being that kids don't inherit their parents' name, how do they get a last name?)

Note that this question is based only on information from The Naked Sun, not later novels.

  • @SJuan76 the book explicitly says that no names were repeated.
    – Scimonster
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:22
  • Are you asking about the Solarians in the Baley novels, or in Foundation and Earth?
    – b_jonas
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:55
  • @b_jonas Baley. I didn't know they reappear in later books. Though i'm open to canonical evidence from books i haven't read yet too.
    – Scimonster
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:58
  • There is also "Robots and Earth", by when there's less than 5000 Solarians. However, "Foundation and Earth" may have some pointers? Specifically: ancestral chamber and pride of the Spacer heritage. Name is part of heritage. I don't remember if last name is derived from estate name, but it would be certainly consistent.
    – AcePL
    May 1, 2015 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


My understanding is that the "unique names" mentioned in The Naked Sun mean that the first name and surname combination was unique. Gladia was special because her first name alone made her unique.

In the Robot books, the children don't know their parents, however the Solarians in Foundation and Earth are able to reproduce asexually, and therefore the surname became important again.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.