thionite n.

an addictive drug which induces euphoric dreams

Also used humorously in fandom.

[coined by E. E. Smith (who had a PhD in chemical engineering), probably from thio-, prefix used to form the names of chemical compounds containing sulfur (< Ancient Greek θεῖον ‘sulfur’) + -ite, suffix used in several chemical contexts]

SF Fandom


  • 1937 E. E. Smith Galactic Patrol in Astounding Stories Sept. i. 12/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    And helping powerfully toward utter chaos were the new vices, which were spreading from world to world; among others the taking of new and horrible drugs. Thionite, for instance; occurring only upon Trenco; a drug as much deadlier than heroin as that compound is than coffee, and which even now commands such a fabulous price that a man can carry a fortune in one hollow boot heel.

  • 1941 H. L. Nichols Yesterday’s Revenge in Comet Jan. 118/1 page image H. L. Nichols bibliography

    Your Excellency generously condescended to supply me with facilities to investigate these theories. After finding Foster’s mechanism to be ineffectual I experimented with Ronferth rays, until I found that the A and F output, interlaced at dissonant frequencies and reflected from thionite crystals in Madderhern tubes, would actually pierce the veil between us and the past.

  • 1943 R. Martinuk Confessions of a Stf Addict; or, Ms Found in a Padded Cell in Fanfare Dec. 46 page image Ray Martinuk bibliography

    Cocaine - morphine - heorin [sic] - marijuana..... Bah!. Even bentlam or thionite are as easy to cure as tobacco or coffee when compared with stf....

  • 1947 ‘R. Boggs’ Road to Mars—On the Level in Kay-Mar Trader (#15) May (unpaged) page image Redd Boggs

    Mr. Farnsworth, put down that disintegrator! I haven’t been hitting the thionite supply, and I am not crazy. Inferring that the Hagerstown Ladies Saturday Hiking and Hot-dog Club will beat the U. S. Rocket Society to Mars wasn’t my idea.

  • 1956 R. Garrett Heist Job on Thizar in Amazing Stories Oct. 22/2 page image Randall Garrett bibliography

    Belgezad had already suffered at the hands of Anson Drake. Some years before, a narcotics gang had been smashed high, wide, and handsome on Thizar. Three men had died from an overdose of their own thionite drug, and fifty thousand credits of illicit gain had vanished into nowhere. The Thizarian police didn’t know who had done the job, and they didn’t know who had financed the ring.

  • 1960 R. Ellik Squirrel Cage in Shangri-L’Affaires (#51) July 34 page image Ron Ellik

    I’ve never managed to get to a Westercon without some sort of hassle about transportation, so I hardly can expect the Boycon to be a thionite dream of efficient planning in the wheels department.

  • 1974 S. Robinson When No Man Pursueth in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Nov. 134/1 page image Spider Robinson bibliography

    [U]nder questioning he broke down and admitted smuggling thionite on board to sell at Forced Landing. We found the thionite just where he said it would be. Say, did you know he’s got a modified voicebox? Cursed you out in three-part harmony.

  • 1980 R. A. Heinlein Number of the Beast (1981) xxxvi. 391 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    ‘Lensman,’ Deety said quickly, ‘we have medical drugs. The only one that could interest you is a few milligrams of morphine. — But we carry no thionite, no bentlam, no hadive, no nitrolabe. You are using your Lens; you know that I’m telling the truth.’

  • 1993 K. S. Starbuck India’s Story i. 14 page image Kathlyn S. Starbuck bibliography

    India continued through the hall and down the other stairs to the ground floor of the huge house. She wondered what the shipment was this time. Smack? Thionite? Whores? She might be only eight, but she was no dummy.

  • 2021 ‘Not by Dr. Raoul Duke’ Fear and Loathing in Mos Eisley: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the Galactic Dream in Alexiad (#115) Feb. 14/2 page image Joseph T. Major Lisa Major

    The sporting editors had also given me three hundred credits in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The cargo hold of the ship looked like a mobile clone trooper narcotics lab. We had two bags of bentlam, seventy-five pellets of glitterstim, five sheets of high-powered slo-mo, a salt shaker half full of soma, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... and also a quart of moloko plus, a quart of scumble, a case of Bor’Kaan, a pint of raw knives, and two dozen thionite tabs.

Research requirements

antedating 1937

Earliest cite

E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith, ‘Galactic Patrol’

Research History
Suggested, and most quotes submitted, by Bee Ostrowsky.

Last modified 2023-02-09 16:14:46
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.