sub-ether n.

a medium through which faster-than-light signals (or (rarely) objects) travel

Now Rare.



  • 1930 E. E. Smith Skylark Three Amazing Stories Sept. 562/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    Therefore, if there is anything between the particles of the ether—this matter is being debated hotly among us at the present time—it must be a sub-ether, if I may use that term.

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Skylark of Valeron inAstounding Stories Sept. 32/1 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    He knew that the zones of force surrounding his vessel were absolutely impenetrable to any wave propagated through the ether, and to any possible form of material substance. He knew also that the subether was blocked, through the fifth and sixth orders. He knew that it was hopeless to attempt to solve the problem of the seventh order in the time at his disposal.

  • 1936 ‘E. Binder’ Static in Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 40/1 page image Otto Binder bibliography

    ‘It is easy enough,’ he began as the spy listened, ‘to transmit through the ether forms of high frequency energy, but the power loss is tremendous. My approach to the problem was to discover a new medium of transmission—the sub-ether.’

  • 1944 ‘M. Leinster’ Plague in Astounding Science-Fiction Feb. 67/2 page image Murray Leinster bibliography

    Giant battleships of space would be entering sub-ether tubes for faster-than-light journeying to the scene of emergency.

  • 1946 G. N. Howard Depth in Astounding Science-Fiction Mar. 156/1 page image bibliography

    They had traced the tiny ripples that He had left in the subether—their swift strides overhauled His weakening progress with terrible inexorability.

  • 1953 A. Porges Liberator in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Dec. 121 page image Arthur Porges bibliography

    They had every band under strict surveillance, from cosmic rays to sub-ether.

  • 1980 D. Adams Restaurant at End of Universe xxi. 122 Douglas Adams bibliography

    Zaphod leaped across the cabin and switched frequencies on the sub-ether receiver before the next mind-pulverizing noise hit them.

Research requirements

antedating 1930

Earliest cite

Edward E. Smith, 'Skylark Three'

Research History
Suggested by Mike Christie.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Jerry Shelton's "You Are Forbidden!".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1934 cite from E. E. Smith's "The Skylark of Valeron".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1936 cite from Eando Binder's "Static".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1953 cite from Arthur Porges's "The Liberator".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1930 cite from Edward E. Smith's "Skylark Three".

Last modified 2023-11-08 18:48:08
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.