Jeff Prucher jprucher at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jan 19 18:43:25 UTC 2011

See Brave New Words and the OED SF Citations project for some work on the suffix
-verse. Note that in both sources, we have been primarily concerned with only
two of the various issues you raise -- the word "multiverse" and "-verse" used
to specify a fictional universe (as in Buffyverse, Marvelverse, etc.). I haven't
encountered the Firefly "verse" meaning "universe" (or, arguably, outer space)
outside of the Fireflyverse; the Riddick usage seems (at first gloss) slightly
different -- specifying one alternate universe out of many. So there's
definitely a lot going on with this form right now.

As far as the Daily Wildcat article, I have a hard time parsing that in any way
other than in the lyrical sense; a "the more things change..." reading seems the
most straightforward to me. There's nothing in the text to suggest alternate
timelines that I can see, for example.

Jeff Prucher

----- Original Message ----
> From: Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Wed, January 19, 2011 10:21:52 AM
> Subject: verse
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> Sender:       American Dialect Society  <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:        Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:        verse
> Has  anyone noticed/commented on the increasing sci-fi usage of txting
> style  "verse" for "universe"? This appears to be more common in film
> (Chronicles of  Riddick) and TV (Firefly) than printed books, but it can
> be found in print  too. There are variations--multiverse, alterverse,
> metaverse, etc. Or did I  miss some large body of work that has been
> doing this for  generations?
> Wiki has an entry for multiverse/metaverse. There is a page  on
> multiverse theory at the Pomona astronomy department (the theory  has
> been around at least since the 1920, but the reference to it  as
> "multiverse" is more recent). There is use of "multi-verse"  in
> philosophy ( and physics  (
> There is some question--at least, in my mind--as  to whether the meaning
> of "verse" in the title of this page is textual or  futuristic:
> Next verse, same as the  first
> The context is a projection of what it might be like at the  University
> of Arizona campus in 125 years. If "first verse" refers to the  first 125
> years of UA history, then the meaning appears to be more  textual--but
> the fact that I even need to ask the question is suggestive.  Twenty
> years ago, I doubt there would be many people who would even  have
> considered the possibility of alternative meaning.
> Any kind of  text search would obviously be hampered by the
> literary/religious/musical  versions of "verse". Obviously, it's not in
> dictionaries.
>        VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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