dropshaft n.

a liftshaft with no lift-cages, using controlled gravity to move people up and down at high speed

  • 1949 R. A. Heinlein Gulf in Astounding Science Fiction Nov. 74/2 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    The corridor ahead and a turn to the left should bring him to the quick-drop shaft.

  • 1954 C.E. Maine Troubleshooter in Nebula Science Fiction Feb. 31

    Funny thingโ€”but that was the last and only memory that seemed to be present in his mind โ€”the background of the college, the intensive training, the simulated free-fall flights in the drop-shaft, the tests and examinations.

  • 1955 P. Anderson Long Way Home in Astounding Science Fiction May 119/1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Down a drop-shaft, falling like autumn leaves, Chanthavar testing each exit as he passed it.

  • 1957 H. Ellison Deeper Than Darkness in Infinity Science Fiction Apr. 21/1 Harlan Ellison

    The Pyrotic let the dropshaft lower him, and he found the lifescoot some time later.

  • 1957 R. Garrett Devil's World in Imaginative Tales July 84/2

    He caught the dropshaft and spun downward to the ground level. There, he entered the lock and donned a breathingsuit.

  • 1957 R. Garrett Devil's World in Imaginative Tales July 86/2

    The man quivered and collapsed. Courtney dumped him out of the dropshaft and set the dial for the twenty-third level.

  • 1958 R. Silverberg in Original Science Fiction Stories Jan. 6/1 Robert Silverberg

    Even had the strangers come that night, if they had left their ship in a parking orbit and landed on World by dropshaft, it might not have happened.

  • 1962 P. Anderson Day After Doomsday in Galaxy Magazine Feb. viii. 132/1 Poul Anderson bibliography

    They went down a dropshaft to a tunnel.

  • 1976 P. Anderson Star Plunderer in B. W. Aldiss Galactic Empires Volume One 60 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Beyond the desk, a Gorzuni played a hose on us, washing off blood and grime, and then we were herded down the long corridors and by way of wooden ladders (the drop-shafts and elevators werenโ€™t working it seemed) to the cells.

  • 1986 C. Sheffield Nimrod Hunt iv. 45 Charles Sheffield

    It was a race along confused networks of high-speed slideways, a plunge along the vertiginous corkscrews of spiral staircases, and finally a series of long dives through the black depths of vertical drop-shafts.

  • 1987 C. Claremont FirstFlight iv. 54 Chris Claremont

    She looked up the DropShaft at the CM hatch twenty-five meters away, then down between her feet at the Stores Modules, slightly closer; the Carousels spun around her but in the core all was still and she stretched lazily, as if she was already on her bed.

  • 1988 K. Tyers Fusion Fire xx. 217

    He broke into a run again, leading up the passway toward the drop shaft.

  • 1989 G. W. Proctor Stellar Fist x. 71

    Containing her mounting rage, Arianne Pillan stepped into a dropshaft and gently descended to the lobby of the Diplomatic Services headquarters.

  • 1997 S. Zettel Foolโ€™s War ii. 48

    The ship read her fingerprints and sent its signal down to the engine compartment. โ€˜Torch lit,โ€™ she reported, just before a low rumble that echoed all the way up the drop shaft confirmed her call.

  • 2010 I. M. Banks Surface Detail 32 Iain M. Banks bibliography

    They were struggling to comprehend what was happening to their world. Its end, Yime Nsokyi thought as sheโ€™d careened down a drop shaft from the traveltube interchange sheโ€™d been in as the attack began.


Research requirements

antedating 1949

Earliest cite

Robert Heinlein, in Astounding

Research History
Ralf Brown located and Mike Christie submitted a 1958 cite from Robert Silverberg's "Prime Commandment".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1989 cite from Geo. W. Proctor's "Stellar Fist".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1986 cite for the form "drop-shaft" from Charles Shefield's "The Nimrod Hunt".
Douglas Winston submited a cite from a 1970 reprint of Poul Anderson's "After Doomsday"; Malcolm Farmer verified it in the 1962 magazine publication.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1998 cite for the form "drop shaft" from Kathy Tyers' "Fusion Fire".
Douglas Winston submitted a 1987 cite from Chris Claremont's "First Flight"
Douglas Winston submitted a 1997 cite from Sarah Zettel's "Fool's War".
Fred Galvin submitted a July 1957 cite from Randall Garrett's "Devil's World"
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of Poul Anderson's "The Star Plunderer": we would like to verify this in its original publication (Planet Stories, September 1952)
Fred Galvin submitted an April 1957 cite from Harlan Ellison's "Deeper Than the Darkness"
Bill Mullins submitted a 1949 cite from Robert Heinlein's "Gulf", in Astounding, and several other early-1950s examples.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2010 cite from Iain M. Banks.

Last modified 2021-02-03 01:32:14
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.