star drive n.

a propulsion device for a spaceship capable of interstellar travel, esp. one that permits the ship to travel faster than light; cf. earlier space drive n.



  • 1948 P. Anderson Genius in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 25/1 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    They’ll know the principles of the star drive in a few more generations, and invent a faster-than-light engine almost at once!

  • 1952 C. Oliver Blood's a Rover in Astounding Science Fiction May 33/1 Chad Oliver

    Man’s horizons exploded to the rims of the universe with the perfection of the star drive—he was no longer living on a world but in an inhabited universe.

  • 1963 J. Brunner Astronauts Must Not Land ii. 11 John Brunner

    Even to me—and I've spent my working life making science and technology comprehensible to the man in the street—it was a hell of a job putting the thinking behind that stardrive into everyday language.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. ii. 191 bibliography

    Minimal crew quarters are…used by duty engineers and by the star-drive crew.

  • 1969 R. C. Meredith We All Died At Breakaway Station in Amazing Stories Jan. 11/1 Richard C. Meredith bibliography

    The voice of the Organic Computer, pieced modulations, snips of the sounds of the voice of a man, began counting down the seconds until star drive was cut, until the three starships ceased their motionless motion, ceased micro-jumping through universes, returned to normal and real space-time.

  • 1970 P. Anderson Tau Zero (1973) 34 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Low acceleration on ion thrust had built up a modest outward speed, measurable in tens of kilometers per second. It sufficed to start the star-drive engine.

  • 1987 C. Claremont First Flight xi. 189 Chris Claremont

    They managed to cope with the damage while staying in warp space. Miraculously, the explosion left their stardrive untouched.

  • 1988 R. Silverberg Secret Sharer in Coll. Stories (1993) II. 73 Robert Silverberg

    It is the stardrive that issues this light: a ship eats space, and light is its offthrow.

  • 1991 O. S. Card Xenocide xv. 324 Orson Scott Card

    Jakt was getting ready to go back into space…to see whether the original Lusitanian colony ship could possibly be restored for another flight after so many decades without maintenance of the stardrive.

  • 2000 S. Robinson Callahan's Key xv. 254 Spider Robinson

    Nobody has any idea what the hell they are, but all kinds of guesses have been made, some of them fairly science fictional. Black holes colliding. Star drives switching on. Wormholes eating galaxies.

  • 2019 Y. H. Lee Dragon Pearl viii. 71 Yoon Ha Lee bibliography

    Even steaders like me knew the basics of space travel. In order to cross vast distances, you had to use a special stardrive to punch your way through a local Gate. Each Gate only connected to a handful of nearby ones, so voyages could involve a lot of hopping.

Research requirements

antedating 1948

Earliest cite

P. Anderson 'Genius'

Research History
Douglas Winston submitted a 1969 cite from Richard C. Meredith's "We All Died at Breakaway Station".
Ralf Brown located and Fred Galvin submitted a 1972 cite from George Zebrowski's "The Omega Point".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1991 cite from Dana Stabenow's "A Handful of Stars".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1993 cite from John DeChancie's "The Kruton Interface".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 2001 reprint of Spider Robinson's 2000 "Callahan's Key".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2002 cite from Chris Bunch's "Star Risk, Ltd.".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from Chad Oliver's "Blood's a Rover".
Mike Christie submitted a 1948 cite from Poul Anderson's "Genius"
Douglas Winston submitted a 1963 cite for "stardrive" from John Brunner's "The Astronauts Must Not Land".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1987 cite in the form "stardrive" from Chris Claremont's "Firstflight".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite in the form "stardrive" from a 2003 reprint of Sharon Lee & Steve Miller's 2002 "The Tomorrow Log".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2019 cite from Yoon Ha Lee.

Last modified 2021-03-31 14:58:39
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.