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"Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think of as civilization."
- William Gibson

Lifeboat  
  A small space-worthy craft that can be jettisoned from a larger ship, to save its crew.  

Through the airlock, down through several levels of passenger's quarters they hurried, and into a lifeboat.
From Triplanetary, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Not known in 1934
Additional resources -

Compare this very early use of the concept with a more famous descendant, the escape pod from George Lucas' 1976 story Star Wars.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Triplanetary
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Triplanetary
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

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