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"Science fiction is the very literature of change. In fact, it is the only such literature we have."
- Frederik Pohl

Torchship  
  A spaceship capable of high acceleration.  

This word paints a wonderful picture; a rocket looks like an upside-down torch, rising on its tail of flames.

He held a torcher's contempt for the vast distance itself. Older pilots thought of interplanetary trips with a rocketman's bias, in terms of years—trips that a torchship with steady acceleration covered in days.
From Sky Lift, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Imagination in 1953
Additional resources -

Another (more complete) description comes from Heinlein's later novel Double Star:

"The Can Do - that's this bucket - is about to rendezvous with the Go For Broke, which is a high-gee torchship. About seventeen seconds and a gnat's wink after we make contact the Go For Broke will torch for Mars - for we've got to be there by Wednesday."

See Bussard ramjet for a form of propulsion capable of even higher speeds.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sky Lift
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Sky Lift
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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