nova n.

to go nova (of a star) to become a nova; (more generally, of a star, planet, etc.) to explode (also used figuratively)

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1942 J. W. Campbell Supernova Centaurus in Astounding Science-Fiction Feb. 6/2 page image John W. Campbell, Jr. bibliography

    We've considered what might happen if Sol itself went nova. If it should go supernova, no worse could happen; Earth and all life on it would be fused and volatilized in either case.

  • 1956 I. Asimov Last Question in Science Fiction Quarterly Nov. 13/2 Isaac Asimov

    The Universal AC said, ‘Man’s original star has gone nova. It is a white dwarf.’

  • 1965 H. Harrison Bill, Galactic Hero (1966) 92 Harry Harrison

    You just can’t feed all those carbon and hydrogen atoms into a sun and get away with it. The thing has gone nova, and I hear that they didn’t manage to evacuate some bases on the inner planets completely.

  • 1966 E. E. Smith Skylark DuQuesne vi. 43 Edward E. Smith

    Whether or not a Tellus-type planet ordinarily becomes unfit to support human life before its sun goes nova is not surely known. Nor does it matter very much; for, long before either event occurs, the human race involved has developed a faster-than-light drive and has at its disposal dozens or hundreds of Earth-like planets upon which even subhuman life has not yet developed.

  • 1966 R. Sheckley Mindswap 56 Robert Sheckley

    Then I'll translate the pertinent clauses for you, as required by law. Let’s see…standard stuff about the Company not being responsible for fire, earthquake, atomic warfare, sun going nova, acts of god or gods, and so forth.

  • 1969 R.C. Meredith We All Died at Breakaway Station in Amazing Stories Jan. 19/1 page image Richard C. Meredith bibliography

    Subspectrum energy is not self-propagating. It does not occur in nature except under the most exceptional conditions, like in the hearts of stars going nova, for example, or in a quasar.

  • 1971 J. Blish Star Trek 4 1 James Blish

    The star Beta Niobe…was going to go nova in approximately three and a half hours from now.

  • 1972 J. Blish Star Trek 5 5 James Blish

    He has devised a simple, compact method for making even stable suns go nova.

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars ii. 67 Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    The situation was about to ‘go nova’, as Mission Control put it.

  • 1993 K. S. Robinson Red Mars ii. 73 Kim Stanley Robinson bibliography

    Now that they were about to reach Mars, the expedition was getting a lot more TV time, and the situation was about to ‘go nova’, as Mission Control put it.

  • 1997 R. Hatch & C. Golden Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon v. 63 Richard Hatch Christopher Golden bibliography

    The Lords of the House of Kobol were the first to realize that their system’s star was going to go nova. They had yahren to plan their exodus.

  • 2010 R. Reed Alone in Godlike Machines 348 page image Robert Reed bibliography

    A bright red star became the walker’s beacon, its guide, and it followed that rich light until the ancient sun sickened and went nova, flinging portions of its flawed skin out into the cooling, dying vacuum.


Research requirements

antedating 1942

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1977 reprint of Harry Harrison's "Bill, the Galactic Hero"; the cite does not appear in the 1964 magazine version.
Janet Walz submitted a cite from a 1979 reprint of Poul Anderson's "Ensign Flandry".
Edward Bornstein submitted a cite from a 1967 reprint of Robert Sheckley's "Mindswap", and subsequently verified the cite in the 1966 first edition.
Fred Galvin identified a cite from Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question"; Mike Christie submitted this cite from a 1974 reprint.
Fred Galvin subsequently verified the cite in the original magazine appearance in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly.
Mike Christie submitted a 1942 cite from an editorial by John Campbell in Astounding.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2010 cite from Robert Reed.

Earliest cite in OED2: 1968; updated to the 1942 Campbell cite in OED3.

Last modified 2021-03-11 18:47:50
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.