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"I do think there is a link in that in both cases, writing fiction or writing a computer program, at any given moment you're focusing on a very specific and particular thing—one word, one line of code, whatever."
- Neal Stephenson

Groundling  
  A person who does not fly, especially into space.  

Once a quick jerk of Dick's hand swerved it out of the path of a lumbering freight conveyor. The vivid curses of the operator came thinly through the tumult of the port, to be ignored by the plane pilot. The objurgations of this groundling were beneath the notice of a flier.
From Exiles of the Moon, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to Robert Heinlein's similar term groundhog, from Waldo (1942).

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