Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"What we're doing pop culturally is like burning the rain forest. The biodiversity of pop culture is really, really in danger."
- William Gibson

Space Craft  
  A ship that travels through the airless void of space.  

As far as I know, the first use of this handy general phrase, published in July of 1929.

Out There, all is cold — and the delight of perfect rest and exultation.

So I was There, exulting in the chill which instruments can not measure, but only the soul, when I saw the first of the great space craft.

“Aha!” I chuckled and rubbed my hands with heatless mirth. "Some of those inventors have slipped one over on me! I knew some fools were working on plans to penetrate space while yet they held to their corporeal forms — poor fools! But I didn’t know they had succeeded. Arko! I must see! There’s death in the making, and a cold death!” And I chortled.

But too soon I knew the incredibly disagreeable truth. Not from Earth were those ships. No mortals, predestined to a cold death by their boldness. Those who guided the great cars had no dealings with death. They had lived for a trillion times a trillion years. Far older than I, they were. Small sustenance for my needs in such folk, and I would have darted off with a crackling curse, but a chance thought adrift in space crossed my brain, and I stayed.

Technovelgy from Night-Thing, by Wilford Allen.
Published by Weird Tales in 1929
Additional resources -

Raymond Z. Gallun is not far behind, providing lavish detail for the reader in his 1931 story Atomic Fire:

Details on Aerth's surface were growing rapidly smaller and the field of view was broadening out. Now Aerth looked like a great relief map, and now it began to take on a slight outward curvature. The scientist and his subordinate were rapidly drawing away from their planet.

"That was a fine start, Chief," said Sark Ahar. "The ship is gaining altitude faster than I ever saw a space craft do before at the outset..."

Aggar Ho and Sark Ahar walked over to the center of the landing stage. Here, supported by a funnel-shaped cradle was a big shiny sphere about seventy-five feet in diameter. There was a row of circular windows running horizontally around its circumference. Four cylindrical objects, looking like some kind of searchlights, were set at equal intervals around its lower hemisphere. They pointed slantingly downward at an angle of forty-five degrees with the platform. The globe was a space-flier.

(Space Craft from 'Atomic Fire' by Raymond Z. Gallun)

Aggar Ho opened an oval door in the side of the craft. The two men ascended a short flight of metal steps to the central chamber of the ship. The room, which was lighted by port holes set all around its walls, was packed with a bewildering outlay of scientific apparatus. At one side, before a large window, was the pilot seat, and in front of it, a number of levers and a board bearing many dials and instruments. It was by means of these that the flier was controlled. The remainder of the floor space was occupied by machinery and devices, and constituted a complete laboratory for exploring the inner secrets of atomic structure. In the center of the room, supported by a sort of tripod, was a black object which looked like a big pressure kettle. Many cables and wires led to it from a bank of cylindrical tanks which were filled with a fluid that supplied an electrical circuit of enormous voltage and amperage. There was a work-bench running almost completely around the walls of the laboratory, and on it were ranged many odd instruments. There were queer microscope-like devices for watching the electrons of atoms rotating in their orbits; there were big glass globes for producing strange rays ; there were several electric furnaces, lathes and other machinery for turning out new apparatus whenever it was needed. Besides there was a multitude of other things.

Aggar Ho seated himself in the pilot's chair while Sark Ahar stood beside him. The old Martian shifted a little lever on the control-board. A low musical hum started from somewhere in the hulk of the ship ; in spite of its faintness, it was somehow suggestive of an enormous and mysterious power. Now the space flier was shooting upward. It swayed a little. The two men felt their weight apparently increase; just as though they were going upward on a fast elevator. The four repulsion-ray projectors, mounted on the bottom hemisphere of the craft, were sending powerful beams of energy downward and were raising the big globe from the ground.

An earlier use of this term can be found in this Buck Rogers: 2429 A.D. comic strip, published in October of 1929:

(From Space Craft from 'Buck Rogers: 2429 AD)

The same year, 'Doc' Smith used it in Spacehounds of IPC:

Soon the surface of Europa lay beneath them; a rugged, cratered, and torn topography of mighty ranges of volcanic mountains. Most of the craters were cold and lifeless, but here and there a plume of smoke and steam betrayed the presence of vast, quiescent forces. Straight down one of those gigantic lifeless shafts the fleet of space craft dropped—straight down a full two miles before the landing signal was given. At the bottom of the shaft a section of the rocky wall swung aside, revealing the yawning black mouth of a horizontal tunnel.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Night-Thing
  More Ideas and Technology by Wilford Allen
  Tech news articles related to Night-Thing
  Tech news articles related to works by Wilford Allen

Articles related to Space Tech
FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





Science Fiction Timeline
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.