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"Beyond a thousand years from now humans are not quite recognizably human, and I have trouble finding characters."
- Larry Niven

Space Liner  
  A large, passenger-carrying space ship.  

This is probably the first use of the phrase "space liner."

Ive got to start for Mars in four hours, Burgess explained. You see, to the Times managing-editor, a reporter is not a person; hes merely a projectile.

Oh, Mr. Burgess, please take me with you. Please do ! implored the boy. Ill pay all your expenses in grand style. Please let me go with you. Id give anything to go to Mars!

Well, at least youre space-minded anyway, the reporter laughed. Im sorry, kid, he said gravely. I couldnt do it. It would get me into trouble with my paper. And the laws are mighty strict about anyone under twenty-one going up in a space-liner, except under the care of a parent or guardian. But, Ill tell you all about it when I get back.

From On Board the Martian Liner, by Miles J. Breuer.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

I love this description:

The departure of a space-liner is always a thrilling spectacle. To the casual onlooker, it looks like a mad, chaotic turmoil of people and vehicles about the base of the vast, silvery bulk that looms hugely into the sky.

From The Asteroid of Death in Wonder Science Quarterly, Fall of 1931:

Across the lawn ahead of me I saw Nez Hulan racing in long strides, carrying my beloved Zelna. Straight for the space ship hangars he ran. Before I could reach the hangar into which he carried Zelna, he had boarded a large space liner and set it into motion. Like a comet, the huge space ship shot skyward, heading into space...

John W. Campbell gave a good account of himself, in his 1932 story Electronic Siege:

A stream of famous scientists had been coming aboard the space liner Vega all afternoon.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from On Board the Martian Liner
  More Ideas and Technology by Miles J. Breuer
  Tech news articles related to On Board the Martian Liner
  Tech news articles related to works by Miles J. Breuer

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