torch n.

= torch drive n.


  • 1950 R. A. Heinlein Satellite Scout in Boy’s Life Sept. 28 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    The Mayflower was top shaped. The point of the top was her jet—Chief Engineer Ortega, who showed us around, called it her ‘torch’.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Sky Lift in Imagination Nov. 14/2 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    The conversion chamber of a torch was a tiny sun; particles expelled from it approached the speed of light.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Sky Lift in Imagination Nov. 19/1 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    The idea that anyone but a torcher could work a torch ballistic did not sink in.

  • 1956 R. A. Heinlein Time for Stars vi. 60 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    From the air the Lewis and Clark looked like a basket-ball floating in water; you could not see that it was really shaped like a turnip. It floated with the torch down; the hemispherical upper part was all that showed.

  • 1959 R. A. Heinlein Menace From Earth (1968) 115 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Gentlemen, it’s a job for torch pilots. I must ask for volunteers.

  • 1973 J. W. Haldeman in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Nov. 146/2 Joe Haldeman

    They transferred cargo to a spidery tachyon-torch shuttle, then zipped to the moon, setting down at Grimaldi base.

  • 1974 N. Spinrad Riding the Torch (1978) 189 Norman Spinrad bibliography

    The first scoutship is launched by the Trek. Crewed by five volunteers, it is powered by a full-sized fusion torch though its mass is only one-tenth that of a conventional torchship.

  • 1979 G. Benford Dark Sanctuary in Matter's End (1994) 155 Gregory Benford bibliography

    The Belt is huge, but the high-burn torch I'd turned loose back there was orders of magnitude more luminous than an ordinary fusion jet.

  • 1987 O. S. Card Seventh Son (1988) v. 27 Orson Scott Card bibliography

    It was the chief use they had for torches, to have them look at an unborn baby just at the birthing time.

  • 1989 P. Anderson Boat of Million Years (1990) 500 Poul Anderson bibliography

    When it was safely away, robots went outside. Flitting around the hull, they deployed the latticework of ramscoop and fire chamber. By this time, low boost under torch drive had built up a considerable speed.

  • 1989 W. J. Williams Angel Station (1991) 100 Walter Jon Williams bibliography

    Ubu looked at the radar and transponder displays. No ships nearby, no one within range to be cooked by the particle torch. ‘Ten seconds to torch ignition. Mark.’

  • 1997 S. Zettel Fool's War ii. 44 Sarah Zettel bibliography

    The Pasadena’s flight clocks had to be in sync with each other as well as with the outside, but not just for timing torch bursts for sublight navigation. Navigation past light speed was impossible. To change direction, they would have to drop down to sublight, change the ship’s flight angle and jump again.

  • 1997 S. Zettel Fool's War ii. 48 Sarah Zettel bibliography

    The ship read her fingerprints and sent its signal down to the engine compartment. ‘Torch lit,’ she reported, just before a low rumble that echoed all the way up the drop shaft confirmed her call.

  • 2000 M. Flynn Lodestar ix. 173 Michael F. Flynn bibliography

    ‘No, it’s easy,’ Chase said, laying his cup on the table and leaning forward. ‘I’ll take the parasols with me when I torch for the Moon and drop them off along the way.’

Research requirements

antedating 1950

Earliest cite

R. Heinlein, 'Satellite Scout'

Research History
Malcolm Farmer suggested Norman Spinrad's 1974 "Riding the Torch"; Mike Christie located a cite from a 1978 reprint.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1992 cite from Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep".
Malcolm Farmer located a cite from reprint of Robert Heinlein's "Sky Lift"; Derek Hepburn verified this in the 1953 original publication.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1973 cite from Joe Haldeman's "We Are Very Happy Here".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1996 reprint of Gregory Benford's 1979 "Dark Sanctuary".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1997 cite from Sarah Zettel's "Fool's War".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from an undated Ace books reprint of Robert A. Heinlein's 1956 "Time for the Stars".
The Tensor submitted a 1950 cite from Robert A. Heinlein's "Farmer in the Sky"; Scott Drellishak confirmed the term was used in this story's earlier serialization (under the title "Satellite Scout") in Boy's Life.

Last modified 2021-03-29 23:59:43
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.