space liner n.

a large and esp. luxurious spaceship for passenger travel


  • [1930 ‘J. Vanny’ Liners of Space in Air Wonder Stories Feb. 704 (title) page image Jim Vanny bibliography

    Liners of Space. [Ibid. 709/2] I mean that this fanatic refuses to set us upon the Earth or any other planet or put us aboard some passing inter-planetary liner.]

  • 1931 C. A. Smith Adventure in Futurity in Wonder Stories Apr. 1328/2 page image Clark Ashton Smith bibliography

    He pressed my hand briefly and then climbed aboard the space-liner; and he and Altus waved to me through the thick crystal of a sealed port as the huge vessel rose in air for its flight upon the interplanetary void. Sadly, regretting almost that I had not insisted upon accompanying them, I locked myself in the time-vessel and pulled the lever which would begin my own flight across the ages.

  • 1931 J. Williamson Twelve Hours to Live! in Wonder Stories Aug. 355/1 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    For three days, Captain Grant had kept his great space-liner, with her rich cargo of uranium salts from the mines on the outer satellite of Neptune and her hundreds of passengers, ahead of the questing disintegrator rays of the Black Hawk only by burning his full battery of reaction-motors at their maximum power.

  • 1932 J. W. Campbell Electronic Siege in Wonder Stories 3 Apr. 1247/1 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    A stream of famous scientists had been coming aboard the space liner Vega all afternoon.

  • 1934 C. L. Moore Black Thirst in Weird Tales Apr. 425/1 page image C. L. Moore bibliography

    Not even the lowest class of Venusian street-walker dared come along the waterfronts of Ednes on the nights when the space-liners were not in.

  • 1939 Story Behind the Story in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 119/2 page image

    If human lives and destinies can be so intertwined in the ordinary walks of life, why not aboard a space liner also? I had to assume, for the purposes of the story, that interplanetary travel was quite established, as common almost as voyaging across the ocean.

  • 1952 R. Palmer Hell Ship in Worlds of If Mar. 114/1 page image Raymond A. Palmer bibliography

    The giant space liner swung down in a long arc, hung for an instant on columns of flame, then settled slowly into the blast-pit…. It lay there, its voyage over, waiting.

  • 1961 R. F. Jones Memory of Mars in Amazing Stories Dec. 33/1 page image Raymond F. Jones bibliography

    The Martian Princess is a space liner perfectly capable of going to Mars. There’s no reason why such a huge ship should be used merely as a shuttle.

  • 1981 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction 109 (editoral summary of ‘Indigestion’, by Thomas Wylde) page image

    Thomas Wylde…offers a fast and furious and not entirely serious story about a washroom attendant on a space liner. And you thought the action was on the bridge.

  • 1990 A. Steele Clarke County, Space 58 Allen Steele bibliography

    TexSpace SSTO shuttle Lone Star Clipper was a few minutes from initiating the OMS burn which would brake the spaceliner for its primary approach to Clarke County, when the bridge crew received a priority transmission, relayed by TDRS comsats, from Washington D.C.

  • 1997 B. Stableford Creators of Science Fiction 10: Hugo Gernsback in Interzone (#126) Dec. 50/1 page image Brian Stableford bibliography

    The final edition of Forecast (Christmas 1959) featured a lead article on spaceliners, a feature on ‘The Odorchestra’…and ‘Jeanne’, which advertised itself as a ‘bizarre romance.’

  • 2012 K. S. Robinson 2312 462 page image Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    The spaceliner ETH Mobile was not a hollowed asteroid but rather one of the very large manufactured ships built in lunar orbit in the previous century.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Clark Ashton Smith, "An Adventure in Futurity"

Research History
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1939 cite from "The Story Behind the Story" Thrilling Wonder.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite for the form "space-liner" from a reprint of C.L. Moore's "Black Thirst"; Alistair Durie verified it in the original 1934 publication in Weird Tales.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1932 cite from John W. Campbell Jr.'s "The Electronic Siege".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1931 cite from Jack Williamson's "Twelve Hours to Live!"
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2012 cite from Kim Stanley Robinson.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1931 cite from Clark Ashton Smith, a few months earlier than the Williamson cite.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1930 cite for the form "liners of space".

Earliest cite in the OED: 1944.

Last modified 2022-04-10 14:55:57
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.