torch drive n.

a fusion-powered, slower-than-light space drive



  • 1976 L. Niven Words in Science Fiction in Craft of Science Fiction 182 Larry Niven

    Simple description. Torch drive, duplicator, flying belt. Dolphins’ hands and telepathically operated tools on tractor treads.

  • 1989 P. Anderson Boat of Million Years 388 Poul Anderson bibliography

    By this time, low boost under the torch drive had built up a considerable speed.

  • 2007 B. Bova Aftermath 367 Ben Bova bibliography

    Pleiades surged into acceleration as its fusion torch drive lit up.

Research requirements

antedating 1976

Earliest cite

Larry Niven, 'The Words of Science Fiction'

Research History
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1990 reprint of Poul Anderson's "The Boat of a Million Years"; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the 1989 first edition.
Scott Neugroschl suggested Heinlein's "Time for The Stars" as a possible source; Douglas Winston's reading of this found cites for "torch", but not "torch drive".
Ralf Brown submitted a 1976 cite from an article by Larry Niven, "The Words in Science Fiction".

We would like cites of any date from other sources.

Last modified 2023-10-09 11:35:19
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.