Which of these chapter titles do you prefer?

I'm about to edit a video of myself reading a chapter from one of my books, and have decided the chapter needs a title. I can't decide between:

"Impossible Reunion"

"Degrees of Impossibility"

Assuming you were at all likely to watch a video of an author reading a chapter of a science fiction novel, which of those titles would make you more likely to watch it?

If anybody wants to read the chapter (and perhaps suggest a better title), it's chapter 7 of this document: http://www.pembers.net/ev/escape-velocity-sample-c...

The chapters in the book don't have titles, but I don't want to call the video just "A reading from Escape Velocity", because there's already a video of me reading another chapter. If I called it "A reading of chapter 7 of Escape Velocity," people might wonder where the readings of chapters 1 to 6 are, and whether they should watch those first.


I like Powers of Two, or some variation, though it is a bit cheesy. I suspect most people would assume it was a reference to the couple, not realising it was also a reference to arithmetic unless they listened carefully.

RedStar may have figured out why I couldn't choose between "Impossible Reunion" and "Degrees of Impossibility". The book is (believe it or not) a hard science fiction story, and scientific accuracy is important to me, but the relationship between Sam and Jennie is important too - one reviewer complained there was too much of it!

Update 2:

Thanks Jen. I still have my account on Authonomy, but I'm no longer active there. It was never very good as a critique site - too much brown-nosing from people who wanted you to back their book so they could get to the top of the chart and be patronised by a HarperCollins editor. And now that we have Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, it's become irrelevant as a way to get published.

Update 3:

Good point from cathrl69 about "Impossible Reunion" sounding like a generic romance. The title card for the video will have the title of the novel as well as the title of the chapter, so I hope the genre will be apparent. Here's the video of the previous reading, which has a title card in the same style and with the same information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XbNwNKPvC8

Youtube thumbnail

Update 4:

SSF - I'd like to do an audio version. The problem is getting distribution - or getting distribution from anyone who's willing to pay you. Ebook retailers can afford to let anyone in, because the files are so small that the cost of storing them and transmitting them to the reader is negligible. Audiobook files are much bigger - a recording of one of my books could easily be half a gigabyte - so the retailers have to be much more choosy about what they sell.

Update 5:

Opinion seems to be evenly split between the choices, but those who preferred "Degrees of Impossibility" made a better case for why I should use it. So I'm going with that.

13 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Impossible Reunion is snappier as a title, trips off the tongue and has a softer, more people-focused feel to it.

    However ... I think that given your book is sci-fi with a physics-inspired title, and considering the potential audience for a novel of that nature, I'd be inclined to go with Degrees Of Impossibility, which has a pleasingly scientific, conceptual edge to it.

    (Unless you are actively trying to encourage completely different types of readers, in which case, perhaps Impossible Reunion might be more appropriate after all.)

    Sorry, I probably haven't helped much. I, personally, would be more likely to listen to something called 'Degrees Of Impossibility', but I might not be a representative sample of the sort of reader you're looking for.

  • 8 years ago

    Of the two, I'd recommend "Impossible Reunion".

    I'm actually a stickler for titles, and I enjoy coming up with ones that make you want to read the story or, in this case, the chapter.

    Here's some examples of chapter titles I've used and always liked...

    (For a chapter about a character with Dissociative Identity Disorder):

    "Jessica, Barbara, Babette, And Barbie Walk Into A Bar..."

    "Frieda's Got a Gun"

    (Takes place in a topless bar)

    "Dance Like There's No One Watching"

    "Horace Greeley Got It Wrong"

    "Frankie's Brick"

    The point is I like cryptic titles that become apparent when you read the chapter.

    So "Impossible Reunion" is not too shabby. Nicely done.

  • 8 years ago

    Hey Steve!

    I've actually read some of your work before - the Barefoot Healer - and I loved it! Anyway, I just read up to chapter eight, and have to go with the rest of the answers with "Impossible Reunion". "Degrees of Impossibility" sounds more like the title of a book, whereas Impossible Reunion pretty much sums up the situation with Sam and Jennie in a mere title.

    Good luck with everything! Keep up the good writing : )

    ~ Billet x

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I'm going to contradict everyone else and go for "Degrees of Impossibility." Not that the other is bad, just that if people are likely to encounter it in isolation they might get the wrong impression. To me "Impossible Reunion" sounds like a generic romance title, and while I haven't read this particular story of yours, I doubt it's that :) As a science fiction reader, I would not be attracted to it. "Degrees..." though, would attract me.

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  • 8 years ago

    I like "Degrees of Impossibility". I just strikes me as being a bit fresher for some reason. Plus it fits nicely with the overall SF theme.

    Have you considered turning this into an audiobook or podcast? I'm thinking that's where the future is... lots of people like to listen to stuff while exercising, driving, etc, and the selections still aren't that great yet. Well, not as saturated as print books anyway. Bear in mind that this is just my gut feeling, I haven't done any research on this....

  • 8 years ago

    I don't know but, I think that the word impossible sort of repels a reader, or viewer in this case. Of the two"Degrees of Impossibility" is far more intriguing for me. Besides from the generic romance sound, I have heard too many impossible reunions in book/chapter/movie titles. The former is more singular and eye catching. I kind of like the sound of an"inexplicable reunion" too. Good luck with your story.

    Please answer my question: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AjXDM...

  • I'm In the process of reading Barefoot Healer at the moment. I don't know a whole lot about science but I like Degrees of Impossibility. It sounds like the most science fiction one of the two.

    Source(s): Fellow Writer FIrepaw ___signing out ___
  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I like the sound of "Degrees of Impossibility" better. Impossible Reunion almost sounded better after I read the sample, but I still think I like the sound of Degrees of Impossibility better. I am thinking your doctor is analytical and this would fit his character better.

    Nice sample SP. You rock

  • 8 years ago

    Impossible Reunion, it simply sounds more interesting.

  • 8 years ago

    Impossible Reunion. It automatically makes me wonder *why* is it impossible and how are said characters going to overcome this impossibility.

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