So there's a lot of made up country and planet names in SF. Actually, there's a lot of made up country names in literature as a whole (Ruritania, Stresslau, Islandia, Karain, Erewhon, Oz, Ix, etc) and of course there's a whole lot of planet names. These are mostly pretty depressing: "Planet Name [Roman Numeral]" or grabbed from some old literary source (Endor, Romulus, Vulcan, Narn, etc) or just some random gobblydygook that sounds sorta' exotic (Z'ha'dum, Gumdidgy), or you just take some random phantom land from history and slap it in space (Icaria in both Trek and B5, Antillia in the old Galactica, etc)
That's not to say that all or any of these are bad: In (both) Galacticas, "Capricorn" became "Caprica," which is, frankly, a really good name for a planet, and kinda' brilliant. "Scorpius" became "Scorpia" in the old Galactica, which is almost as good. "Tauron" and "Picon" not so much. For every cool one like "Iskandar" there's a jillion "Sektars" and "Galaktikons."
And then there's just a bunch of unfortunate names like "Mongo" and, more recently, "Morgo." Much as I hate to admit it, George Lucas generally comes up with pretty great names for planets: Tattoine, Dantoine, Bespin, Coruscant (Which I'm pretty sure was originally called "Coruscrant," but I could be mistaken), Hoth, Deggobah, Oord Mandell. Ok, so Camino is uninspired, and Naboo flat out sucks, but, hey, he's clearly lost the spark. Doesn't change the fact that there's some great names there.
In my Redneck Universe stories, all the habitable extrasolar planets are named after astronauts, with a prefix before the name to distinguish what they did: Just a name if you only went into orbit, "Fort" if you landed on the moon, "Port" if you went into deep space, but didn't land on a planet, "Colony" if you were part of the crew of a space station, the suffix "-Ville" if you went to Venus, "Saint" if you died. Thus I've got planets named "Gagarin," "Fort Sheppart," "Saint Grissom," "Glenn," "Titov," "Port Collins," "Weitz Colony," etc, and you can mix and match 'em: "Saint Shatalov Colony," "Fort Conrad Colony," etc. This seemed reasonable to me, given the preponderance of places named after pioneers. Also, it was easy to keep track of, and I just didn't want another fictional universe filled with "New this" and "New that" and random stuff.
Anyway, what interests me about the names of planets in SF (And to a lesser extent in fictional countries in fiction in general) is that they generally violate the most common factors in naming things. For instance, "Georgia" is named after a guy named "George," and "Kazakhstan" is where the "Kazakh" live. The suffix "-Land" is almost wholly absent (Apart from "Wunderland" of course), The "-ie" sound is almost wholly missing in suffixes ("Mississippi," "Dixie") and there's a curious lack of regional names used for planets in space. For instance, why not a planet named "Acadiana?" (Granted, there's a "Deseret" in the CoDominion) "Cascadia?" (And again, "Dixie?") If people are leaving earth, and they come from a general region, doesn't it make sense that their new home might be named after the region they left behind? Particularly since those names are unofficial, and generally not being used by anyone for any particular purpose back home, thus avoiding confusion. (Curiously, in thinking about it, most of these regions appear to be Southern, I wonder why that is?)
Even among the "New" named planets, there's an interesting lack of undesirable or nonglamorous worlds: There may be a New Washington or even a New Texas, but you're never gonna' see a planet named "New Ohio" or "New Nebraska" (Though the TTA books did have a passing mention of a planet called "Newbraska.")
Ok, I've kind of strayed from my original point, which was the names of fake countries. So, anyway, what kinds of suggestions for country and planet names have you guys got? I'm actually more interested in countries than in planets (Despite having talked about planets for 10 minutes or so), but I'm interested to see what you guys come up with. Sound off below!