nova bomb n.

an extremely powerful nuclear bomb


  • 1953 R. A. Heinlein Gulf in Assignment in Eternity 80 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Unless it is switched off any attempt to enter the building in which the arming circuit is housed will also trigger the ‘Nova’ bomb circuit.

  • 1959 R. A. Heinlein Starship Soldier in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Nov. 57/1 page image Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    We didn’t have nova bombs then; we couldn’t crack Klendathu open. [Ibid. 93/2] Since they hold prisoners of ours, we can’t use a nova bomb on Klendathu—so this time we go down, stand on it, hold it, take it away from them.

  • 1964 D. Broderick Sea's Furthest End in J. Carnell New Writings in SF 1 176 page image Damien Broderick bibliography

    Two heavy cruisers, mile-long monoliths whose fields could withstand a nova-bomb, and whose armament could wipe out a system.

  • 1975 D. J. Pfeil Voyage to a Forgotten Sun 17 Donald J. Pfeil bibliography

    Out of the laboratories of the home world came a bomb capable of exploding a sun! A nova bomb, that could erase every trace of life from a system and leave it completely uninhabitable.

  • 1995 D. Marcus Ex Vitro in Asimov’s Science Fiction mid-Dec. 67 page image Daniel Marcus bibliography

    PacRim’s been making noises about a nova bomb, but nobody really thinks they’re that crazy.

  • 2006 E. S. Nylund Ghosts of Onyx xxvii. 245 page image Eric S. Nylund bibliography

    A heartbeat later Vice Admiral Whitcomb’s ploy of slipping the UNSC prototype Nova bomb into Covenant supplies had finally paid off: a star ignited between Joyous Exultation and its moon.

Research requirements

antedating 1953

Earliest cite

Robert A. Heinlein, Gulf

Research History
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1987 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"; Jesse Sheidlower verified this in a 1961 reprint, and subsequently in the 1959 magazine edition in F&SF. We probably no longer need to check the 1959 first edition.
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War"; Mike Christie verified it in the 1975 first magazine appearance.
John Groth submitted a cite from a 2000 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "Gulf" in "Assignment in Eternity". Mike Christie checked the 1949 magazine version and the phrase "nova bomb" is not used there; however Rick Hauptmann verified the cite in the 1953 first book edition.
Edward Bornstein submitted a 1975 cite from "Voyage to a Forgotten Sun" by Donald J. Pfeil.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2006 cite from Eric S. Nylund.

In addition to any antedatings, we would like cites of any date from other authors.

Last modified 2022-09-03 00:16:00
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.