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"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Heighliner  
  Enormous starship used by the Spacing Guild for interstellar travel.  

In the Dune universe, the Spacing Guild had a complete monopoly on interstellar travel. The major carrier was the heighliner, a ship large enough to carry even military troop carriers between stars. Once placed in a planetary orbit, ships within the heighliner were free to land using powered flight through normal space.

"Are the Guild ships really big?" he asked.

The Duke looked at him. "This will be your first time off planet," he said. "Yes, they're big. We'll be riding a Heighliner because it's a long trip. A Heighliner is truly big. Its hold will tuck all our frigates and transports into a little corner -- we'll be just a small part of the ship's manifest."

"And we won't be able to leave our frigates?"

"That's part of the price you pay for Guild Security. There could be Harkonnen ships right alongside us and we'd have nothing to fear from them. The Harkonnens know better than to endanger their shipping privileges."

From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

The heighliners were guided by Guild Navigators, users of the spice melange, whose prescient ability enabled them to find the best course:

"They're searching for me," Paul said. "Think of that! The finest Guild navigators, men who can quest ahead through time to find the safest course for the fastest Heighliners, all of them seeking me . . .and unable to find me. How they tremble! They know I have their secret here!"
The ships used a Holtzman generator, which folded space; this mode of travel seemed to take no time. The Guild Navigator determined the best path through fold space.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
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