a (specific) interval of time
OED records 19th-century evidence for the sense ‘a long but indefinite period of time; an age’; the SF uses generally refer to a definite although usually unspecified interval.
‘...His name is Jor, and both he and my mother came up from the beginning; but one of them, probably my mother, had completed the seven cycles’ (Approximately seven hundred years), ‘with the result that their offspring might be cos-ata-lo, or born as are all the children of your race, my Tom, as you tell me is the fact. ...’
People That Time Forgot in Blue Book Oct. 201/2
Gigantic craters, in whose yawning depths no spark of warmth had been generated for countless cycles of time, were surrounded by vast plains eroded to the dead level of a windless sea.]
Spacehounds of IPC in Amazing Stories Aug. 411/2
The whisper audible to human ears was the combined sound of trillions and trillions of micro-beings who talked and flourished and evolved through an existence that was time-extended to centuries and cycles for them, but which was time-foreshortened to moments and hours in the universe of man.
Whisperers in Astounding Stories May 143/2
For hundreds of cycles ill health has been unknown amongst us. How can I possibly be unwell?
Worlds Within in Astounding Stories Mar. 18/2
Now you have come—you solved the riddle of that seal which sent my remote ancestors here. You are the first for many, many cycles. We have given up hope.
Secret of Atlantis in Centauri (#2) Winter 20
An inspection team was supposed to visit once a cycle for about fifty cycles, then once each five cycles after that. They would have taken care of maintenance. This operation was set up quite a while ago, you know.
Millennium in Astounding Science Fiction May 8/1
Lorraine might conceivably get together a few men who were willing to die in an attack on the guards, while Fraser used the diversion to get away. But sounding them out, overcoming their suspicions of her, assembling their gear, would take many cycles.
Three Worlds to Conquer xii. 86
Around Tarsus I woke him up and introduced him to the universe. A fine lad he was, aged by biostim to a healthy fifteen cycles and with a good quick intelligence.
Genemaster in Worlds of If Nov. 71/1
I watched you in the Hall of Teaching, the first time Grax brought the small enlarger. Cycles and cycles ago. You took a cell sample from your inner cheek by scraping it with your knife.
Alien Light i. 275
They copulated frequently, and within a dozen cycles his mate was with child.
Ascent of Man in Interzone (#167) May 53/1
Bad news, we can’t outrun it at .57 luminals per cycle, unless we get our engines back online.
Victories Greater Than Death xii. 67
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Research HistorySuggested, and most quotations submitted by, Ben Ostrowsky.
Last modified 2021-07-22 14:35:30
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.