Full record for drone n.

Definition a robot
OED requirements antedating 1967
Earliest cite Mike Hodous' 'Dead End'
Comment The OED has the meaning "remote controlled missile or aircraft". The sf use appears to be either a more general slaved machine, or sometimes a robot, remote controlled or occasionally not.

Douglas Winston submitted a 1984 cite from David Drake's "Cross the Stars". Douglas Winston submitted a 1985 cite from Bruce Sterling's "Schismatrix". Douglas Winston submitted a 1983 cite from David Brin's "Startide Rising". Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Gordon R. Dickson's "Building on the Line"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the original 1968 magazine appearance. Michael Dolbear submitted a 1988 cite from Iain Banks' "The Player of Games". Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Richard Meredith's "We All Died At Breakaway Station"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1969 first magazine appearance. Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1993 reprint of Vernor Vinge's 1992 "A Fire Upon the Deep". Douglas Winston submitted a 1999 cite from Joe Haldeman's "Forever Free". Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a 1990 reprint of Allan Cole and Chris Bunch's 1982 "Sten". Douglas Winston submitted a 1988 cite from Kevin Randle and Robert Cornett's "The Aldebaran Campaign". Douglas Winston submitted a 1967 cite from Mike Hodous' "Dead End".

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for drone n.

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1967 M. Hodous Dead End in Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact May 104/1 ‘How did the drone handle? Any trouble switching it in or out of hyperdrive?’‘None. The drag field worked beautifully. The drone handled like another part of my own ship—which I guess it was. No trouble with any of the other equipment; that hyperdrive probably could have handled another drone. It still would have been nice if you could have tossed in a synthograv unit, though.’‘Fusion reactor,’ Taylor began. ‘Normal space drive. Hyperdrive unit, big enough to handle your ship and the drone.’
1968 G. R. Dickson in Galaxy Mag. Nov. 107/1 This ship‥uses a new experimental process, designed to bypass the wasteful process of sending out a thousand drones in hopes that one may home in on a planet that may be used.
1968 G. R. Dickson in Galaxy Mag. Nov. 107/1 The only way another ship could get here would be to home in on the drone that our Line ship homed in on; and that's been inactive since our second day here, when we started cannibalizing it for Station parts!
1968 G. R. Dickson in Galaxy Mag. Nov. 86/1 Fifteen men transmitted out to a drone receiver that had been lucky enough to hit a world suitable for a Relay or Terminal Station.
1968 G. R. Dickson in Galaxy Mag. Nov. 86/2 A transmit ship [sic] ‥was balanced against the weak resolving powers of the drone.
1969 Amazing Stories Jan. 128/2 The targe [sic] drone picked up speed, began a wavering course. A yellow line appeared on the screen, indicating that an energy blast had been fired. A light flashed from the drone: simulated return fire.
1974 J. Haldeman Forever War (1976) 35 We brought a hundred small robot drones for target practice so that you might have at least a fighting chance when a live target comes over.
1982 A. Cole & C. Bunch Sten (1990) 215 Sten and the other members of the Mantis team were inside the boulder. It was actually a huge, hollowed hunk of ore fitted out as a minispaceship. Except, of course, there was no drive unit. Their tug provided that. Which was why everyone was cursing Ida, as she tried to maneuver the drone tug from inside the boulder. ‘It's not my fault,’ she complained. ‘The damn drone doesn't have the brains of a microbe.’
1983 D. Brin Startide Rising 211 We'll discuss the details of your project later though, if you don't mind. Right now, let's have an update on where the drone is.
1983 J. Varley Millennium iv. 57 We call them drones and‥what?
1984 D. Drake Cross Stars 328 He gestured with the remote unit toward the red-suited retainers who now cowered at the edge of the podium or just beneath it. The drone had no turret. The whole vehicle rotated in the aisle to enforce Slade's will with the muzzle of the gun.
1985 B. Hambly Ishmael xviii. 236 The ship could have gone off so as not to risk running into Karsid drones.
1985 B. Sterling Schismatrix 181 At the crevasse's base the world expanded into an enormous cavernous dugout, Dembowska's hollow heart, where generations of mining drones had gnawed at the metal and the ores that held it.
1985 B. Sterling Schismatrix 275 ‘Send out the drone,’ he said. Vera pulled the robot's controls from under her seat and slipped on a pair of eyephones.
1985 B. Sterling Schismatrix 75 Lindsay put aside his empty canister of green paste. The drone was an ancient planetary probe, found in long-forgotten orbit by some long-forgotten crew, but its telescopes and microwave antennae were still useful, and it could broadcast as well. Hundreds of klicks out on its fiber-optic cable, the unmanned drone could pick up deep-space broadcasts and mislead enemy radar with electronic countermeasures.
1988 K. Randle & R. Cornett Aldebaran Campaign 48 What, exactly, is my mission? If all you wanted was a reconnaissance, you could send down a bunch of drones to holomap the area without risking anybody.
1988 I. M. Banks Player of Games 9 Mawhrin-Skel, the drone which had addressed him, was by far the smallest of the machines present; it could have sat comfortably on a pair of hands.
1998 L. A. Graf & M. J. Friedman War Dragons i. 10, I aimed a high sweep-kick at the sparring drone.
1999 J. Haldeman Forever Free 247 Two should have returned by now. But only unmanned drones have come in, with routine messages.
2005 C. Stross Accelerando i. 12 The Teledesic satellite cluster was killed by cheap balloons and slightly less cheap high-altitude, solar-powered drones with spread-spectrum laser relays: It marked the beginning of a serious recession in the satellite biz.
2006 N. Asher Polity Agent viii. 179 The first of these drones were quite simple—an armoured shell, weapons, brain, and drive system—and also quite effective, but casualties were high and production needed to be maintained at a frenetic level.