This will be another one of my ramblings on orcs. This time about using and not using them in fiction and the perception of how at least I see various fill ins.
You're here, possibly reading and more then likely at least familiar of orcs. Or have a passing familiarity with variations or their sci-fi incarnations. This entire thing got started on a passing comment I saw in the world building thread and realized it may take a bit more to answer. Maybe, we'll see, hopefully keep it around a thousand words. Now to the quote: "Long story short, I am removing the word "orc" from my WIP, as well as others that are pulled directly from D&D, to further distance my work from fan fiction. Thank you all for your contributions to this thread." - gumsoul. For credit for making me do the thinking on it.
Here's the thing though, you may remove the word, but if their still just orcs and in a fantasy setting, my mind tends to automatically call them that. May not happen to everyone, but to me it's just trying to be not-orcs that are still obviously going to be orcs. Especially if they fill the Chaotic Evil aspect and are only out to be the Evil Enemy Army for the heroic folks to mow down. If it's obvious what they are orcs, simply not calling them that may get a raised eyebrow at the least. Or someone like me rambling about it.
There is a twist though, if you can make them your own and they get the name so it's not so obvious. And it hit's easier in Sci-fi. I'll use three races that are only partially obvious to I didn't catch on until a bit later. The Orions and Klingons have more obvious aspects in Star Trek and have gone through their own variations to eventually kind of fill both the general rolls that orcs get. Then there are the Galra's current incarnation from Voltron, who I kind of missed until I thought about it (and tvtropes pointed it out). They are at times honorable fighters but still have a massive star spanning empire and violence is a focal point for them, they have more honorable ones who fight against the ruling castes. Or try, with help from Voltron. They get to play all the sides, showing how aware people are becoming of the general trope.
So, with this rambling, even a simple name change isn't usually enough to keep people from calling a duck a duck (or as the case, an orc and orc). If it does all the things orcs generally do, they're probably going to get called orcs or 'not-orcs' with maybe a hint of derision. There is always the option of just taking the name, rolling with it and making it your own. Fantasy is hard to break as it is, but you can take the standards and bend them until you form them to what you want or try breaking them outright.
I guess what I'm saying on repeat is, if it's an orc with a name change, it's still an orc. See you in chat.