= spaceship n.; (sometimes specif.) a small spacecraft
They had gone out to planet after planet, had conquered the strange atmospheres and bacteria and gravitations, until now the races of man held sway over all the sun’s eight wheeling worlds. And it was from this Earth, a thousand centuries before, that there had ventured out the first discoverers’ crude little space[-]boats, whose faulty gravity-screens and uncertain controls contrasted strangely with the mighty leviathans that flashed between the planets now.
A door at one end of the tubular chamber that housed the space-boat opened. In a moment the little craft glided gracefully out into the open.
Raff Orethon, strapped in the wrecked cabin of his spaceboat, was dimly aware of the words that clicked faintly in the etherphones of his oxygen helmet.
Three minutes later the little spaceboat pulled out from the side of the cruiser. Designed for expeditionary work and tool-carrying rather than as an escapecraft, it was not inclosed. It would carry men in spacesuits, with their tools and weapons, and they could breathe from its tanks instead of from their suits, and use its power and so conserve their own.
At a mere fraction of the velocity of light—Ray thought of the consequences of hitting a planet when going faster than light, and wished he hadn’t—the spaceboat moved around Alpha A.
An extremely wealthy man, he was serving as General Director at a salary of a dollar a year. He was an ardent sportsman; he owned his own space-boat; he enjoyed cooking and serving little dinners of viands imported from distant worlds.
He opened his eyes to realize that he had slept. He realized something else. The screens were down; a Deegh in a spaceboat was coming into an airlock at the extreme lower side of the meteorite.
A corvette would not go into such a tempest. Nothing except a weathership had any business in one; others could flit above or around readily enough. But a small spaceboat with a first-class pilot—a pilot who had begun his career in aircraft and aerial combat—could live in the fury. And detectors, straining from outside, would lose her.
The spaceboat, twin to the one that had been destroyed in the city by the lighter, made a quick preliminary pass at the ridge, its chin pods spitting. Antipersonnel rounds threw out clouds of flechettes; Han could feel the craft’s afterblast as it darted by. He raised his head to see what damage it had done.
‘Mr Shaman isn’t authorised to visit Earth.’ ‘No, sir.’ ‘Get me a spaceboat at once.’ ‘Mr Shaman said that you might require one. It’s all prepared on the top landing.’ ‘Thank you, Mavis.’ ‘Thank you, Mr Madoc.’
And although the dream of life on Mars has hung on even to the present day, in an increasingly more pallid and less hopeful form (now we’d be overjoyed to find lichens... or even fossil microbe evidence that there once had been life there, millions of years ago), it was obvious by the middle of the century that Dejah Thoris wasn’t going to be there to greet the boys when they stepped off the spaceboat.
‘They don’t have sails,’ Denbord observed. ‘They wouldn’t need them. They’re spaceboats. They travel across space—or they did, back when there was space to cross.’
The clipper ship was large enough that even their fifty-foot-long, fifteen-foot-beam spaceboat was a small bundle dangled over the side.
Edmond Hamilton, in Weird Tales
Last modified 2022-03-07 05:27:19
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.