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. ...’
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.]
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.
For hundreds of cycles ill health has been unknown amongst us. How can I possibly be unwell?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They copulated frequently, and within a dozen cycles his mate was with child.
Bad news, we can’t outrun it at .57 luminals per cycle, unless we get our engines back online.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Last modified 2021-07-22 14:35:30
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.