ultrawave n.

a communication system that transmits messages faster than the speed of light; (also) a wave phenomenon used by such devices

SF Encyclopedia



  • [1932 J. Williamson & L. Schwartzman Red Slag of Mars in Wonder Stories Quarterly Spring 402/2 page image Jack Williamson Laurence Schwartzman bibliography

    Then I saw the deadly little ultra-wave projector in Satsuma’s yellow hand, an ominous bluish glow flickering about the point of the the tube…. ‘You don’t dare use that!’ I shot at him. A pencil of blue hissed at me, for answer. A hot needle of pain seared across my shoulder; smoke of burned flesh and fabric burst from me. I still wear the mark of Satsuma’s ray.]

  • 1934 E. E. Smith Triplanetary in Amazing Stories Jan. 33/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    The Captain gasped—his ultra-wave observer and sometime clerk was Lyman Cleveland himself, probably the greatest living expert in beam transmission!

  • 1939 ‘L. del Rey’ Habit in Astounding Science-Fiction Nov. 124/2 page image Lester del Rey bibliography

    The radio signals came through on the ultra-wave every so often, but the pep-talk description of the thrilling contest for endurance racing didn’t mean much when I put it up against the facts.

  • 1951 L. Brackett Starmen of Llyrdis in Startling Stories Mar. 60/1 Leigh Brackett

    Kerrel’s face appeared on the small screen. There was no need now for the ultra-wave and the ordinary visiphone unit had been cut in.

  • 1951 I. Asimov Foundation Trilogy–Foundation iii. vi. 122 Isaac Asimov

    Use the ultrawave sets there to contact other portions of the planet.

  • 1954 J. Blish Beep in Galaxy Science Fiction Feb. 15/1 James Blish bibliography

    If I were to send orders by ultrawave to my Three Ghosts agent, he'd have to wait three hundred and twenty-four years to get them.

  • 1970 R. Silverberg Tower of Glass in Galaxy Mag. Apr. 57/1 Robert Silverberg bibliography

    To the east is the laboratory where the tachyon-beam ultrawave communications equipment is being fabricated—a small pink dome which usually contains ten or a dozen technicians, patiently assembling the devices with which Krug hopes to send messages to the stars.

  • 1973 A. D. Foster Bloodhype 29 Alan Dean Foster

    That, coupled with what he would make off the Largess expedition, ought to provide enough to refinish the entire screen. Plus getting an ultrawave booster for Ben, the Umbra’s comm operator.

  • 1992 V. Vinge Fire upon Deep i. xiv. 93 Vernor Vinge bibliography

    Jefri thinks it may be possible to use the ship’s ultrawave to call for help from others like his parents.

  • 2012 ‘M. Chase’ Lethal Combat i. 3 page image Benjamin Scott bibliography

    I sent Boomerang messages on Ultrawave—to find out if anything’s left of the Milky Way after the Xion attack.

Research requirements

antedating 1934

Earliest cite

Doc Smith, "Triplanetary"

Research History
Ralf Brown located, and Douglas Winston and Lawrence Watt-Evans independently submitted, a cite from a reprint of Robert Silverberg's "Tower of Glass"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1970 first magazine appearance.
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1976 reprint of Leigh Brackett's 1951 "The Starmen of Llyrdis"; Mike Christie verified it in the original magazine appearance.
Ralf Brown located a cite in an electronic text of Alan Dean Foster's 1973 "Bloodhype", and David Dyer-Bennet verified it in a paper copy.
Ralf Brown suggested "Beep", by James Blish: Mike Christie submitted a cite from its 1954 first publication.
From an online etext, Dan Tilque suggested E.E. Doc Smith's "Triplanetary"; Jesse Sheidlower confirmed this in the January 1934 issue of Amazing Stories.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2012 cite from Max Chase.

Last modified 2023-11-10 16:52:16
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.