Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 21:02:11 UTC 2011

Just a quick interjection -- I believe Univac stood for UNIVersal
Automatic Computer. I would still think Asimov was playing on the word
when he coined "Multivac".


On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 2:53 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
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> Poster:       victor steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: verse
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> Don't know about the original intent, but, I suspect, Asimov's usage
> was a joke on the original UNIVAC. If you have a uni-vac, why not a
> multi-vac? I wonder if the same logic went into Jon Lighter's
> colleague's "coinage".
> I plead ignorance, as I am not familiar with Moorcock. But my main
> concern was with the isolated "verse", assuming that X-verse variants
> had evolved from it. This does not appear to be the case for all of
> them. In fact, it's possible that some writers actually went in the
> opposite direction--but all that is speculation. Still, if one trawls
> various sci-fi BBSs, blogs and other assorted gatherings, I am sure it
> would not be difficult to back up increased usage of "verse" in recent
> years--even if the two isolated film references I cited are purely
> specific to those works (something I don't actually believe, as both
> are closely connected to the sci-fi fan culture). I am not suggesting
> that this demands a dictionary entry--yet. Just raising awareness...
> VS-)
> On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM, Robin Hamilton
> <robin.hamilton3 at> wrote:
>> This is impressionistic, but I've always felt that the "multi" part in
>> Moorcock's "multiverse" was an echo of the first element of Isaac Asimov's
>> coinage for a supercomputer (as we would now call it), "Multivac"
>> [presumably because such a computer -- Asimov coined the term in the
>> fifties, I think -- would have been constructed of MULTIple VACuum tubes.]
>> In terms of dating, anyone writing SF in the sixties -- and especially a
>> writer like Michael Moorcock who was among other things connected to _New
>> Worlds_ magazine, and thus antagonistically aware of the tradition
>> represented by John W. Campbell's _Astounding_/_Analogue_ and his stable of
>> writers, among whom, famously, Isaac Asimov -- would have been familiar with
>> Asimov's use of the term "Multivac".
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