space warp n.

a distortion of space-time that enables space travellers to make journeys at faster-than-light speeds

SF Encyclopedia


  • 1935 N. Schachner Son of Redmask in Astounding Stories Aug. 101/1 page image Nat Schachner bibliography

    For centuries they had endured under their diverse forms of government…wrapped in special defenses which they to the mightiest weapons that human science could bring to bear. Of such were the Space-Warp that flowed in a solid cessation of light around Yorrick, the inconceivably compact hemisphere of Impermite that inclosed [sic] Pisbor, and the shimmering Web-Curtain behind which Chico hazed and danced like a mirage.

  • 1936 J. Williamson Cometeers in Astounding Stories May 22/2 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    Every atom of ship load and crew was deflected infinitesimally from the space-time continuum of four dimensions, and thus freed of the ordinary limitations of acceleration and velocity, was driven around space, rather than through it, by a direct reaction against the space warp itself.

  • 1941 T. Sturgeon Artnan Process in Astounding Science Fiction June 66/2 page image Theodore Sturgeon bibliography

    As soon as he was out of the planet’s effective space warp, he slipped into hyperspace and traveled toward Procyon and its dark companion at many times the speed of light.

  • 1944 ‘W. Long’ Circle of Confusion in Astounding Science-Fiction Mar. 53/2 page image George O. Smith bibliography

    The alphatron is still in fine shape, and the space[-]warp generator can still do a job.

  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Starman Jones (1975) vii. 78 Robert A. Heinlein

    We sort of duck into a space warp; isn’t that right?

  • ?a1965 G. Roddenberry Original outline for ‘Star Trek’ in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ (1968) i. i. 24 Gene Roddenberry bibliography

    Drive—space-warp [.] Range—18 years at light-year velocity [.] Registry—Earth, United Spaceship.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 192 bibliography

    Originally the Enterprise was said to be powered by something loosely called a ‘space warp’. As episode after episode went into production, it became increasingly obvious that this point would have to be tied down.

  • 1979 M. Z. Bradley Stormqueen! (1991) p. v Marion Zimmer Bradley bibliography

    The main cliché of pulp fiction was the man of today’s world, suddenly taken away or caught up, via Time Gate, spacewarp, or a prolonged period of suspended animation.

  • 1988 N. Stephenson Zodiac i. 3 Neal Stephenson

    There was at least an acre back here, tucked away in kind of a space warp caused by Brighton’s irrational street pattern.

  • 1994 B. Bova Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells vi. 43 Ben Bova bibliography

    At the very least, it can lead to stories that are filled with jargon such as space warp, psionics, antigravs, droids and such.

  • 2013 W. Leisner Shocks of Adversity iii. 85 page image William Leisner bibliography

    Then I suggest that, if we were to reroute the warp plasma generated by your more powerful reactor to our spacewarp generators, we could create a sufficient subspace drive field to encompass both ships, and achieve a warp velocity high enough to get your vessel to Wezonvu in ten days.

Research requirements

antedating 1935

Earliest cite

N. Schachner 'The Son of Redmask'

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1939 cite from Clifford Simak's "Cosmic Engineers".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1936 cite from Jack Williamson's "The Cometeers".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1935 cite from Nat Schachner's "The Son of Redmask".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2013 cite from William Leisner.

Earliest cite in the OED: 1947. We would like to check the story "Men of the Dark Comet", by Festus Pragnell, in Wonder Stories of June 1933, which is supposed to use this concept, and perhaps the word.

Last modified 2022-12-27 02:29:44
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.