Full record for lifeship n.

Definition a spaceship designed or used as a lifeboat; an emergency spaceship
OED requirements antedating 1940
Comment Michael Quinion submitted a 1991 cite from "The Man Who Would be Kzin" by Greg Bear and S.M. Stirling. Treesong submitted a cite from a 1977 reprint of Harry Harrison and Gordon Dickson's "The Lifeship". Malcolm Farmer checked the 1975 magazine version and it uses "lifeboat" throughout instead of "lifeship". Enoch Forrester submitted a 1944 cite from George O. Smith's "Latent Image". Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1973 cite from Julian Gregory and Roger Price's "The Tomorrow People in The Visitor". Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a reprint of James Blish's "Earthman, Come Home"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1950 first magazine appearance. Mike Christie submitted a 1946 cite from John MacDougal's "Chaos, Coordinated". Mike Christie submitted a 1941 cite from Harry Walton's "Doom Ship". Mike Christie submitted a 1940 cite from Harry Walton's "Moon of Exile".
Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for lifeship n.

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1940 H. Walton Moon of Exile in Astounding Sci.-Fiction Aug. 125/1 Sharon was still by the control panel when the lifeship whistled down through the upper reaches of Callisto's thin atmosphere.
1941 H. Walton Doom Ship in Astounding Sci. Fiction Jan. 141/1 Pedersen was hauling a bulky, burlap-wrapped package aboard the lifeship—four similar ones lay on the floor just outside the tube.
1944 G. O. Smith in Astounding Sci. Fiction May 10/2 We limped in using a jury-rigged line from the lifeship's alphatron and made a something-slightly-less than a crash landing here on Pluto.
1945 ‘W. Long’ Nomad in Astounding Sci. Fiction Feb. 81/2 He dropped from the larger ship in the tiniest of lifeships, and taking the barrier-generator with him, he let the Loki drive across the System towards Mephisto, while he in the lifeship gave a short, ten-minute thrust at 10-Gs and set up the barrier again.
1946 ‘J. MacDougal’ in Astounding Sci. Fiction Oct. 40/1 Object may be to mask escape of lifeship, but no such vessel detected as yet.
1950 J. Blish in Astounding Sci. Fiction Dec. 11/1 Well, there's only one place where a lifeship could go out here, and that's the wild star.
1954 G. O. Smith Spacemen Lost in Startling Stories Fall 53/1 Commander Hatch looked down at his feet. ‘I was in a space can once,’ he said. ‘They don't last forever. I—’ He let his voice trail away. Wilson looked into their faces. The cold, bleak fact was so clear in their faces that he could not ignore it. He was forced to recognize the fact that a lifeship is no spacecraft. A lifeship is a flimsy tin can, as spaceworthy as an open raft on the broad ocean, as spaceworthy as an umbrella in a windstorm.
1973 J. R. Gregory & R. Price Tomorrow People in Visitor 87 Then we'll tell him that we accept his proposal, and let him take us to the life-ship. Once we have examined the engine, we should be able to see whether or not it is in working order.
1976 H. Harrison & G. Dickson Lifeboat (1977) 2 ‘To a lifeship!’ brayed the Albenareth crewman, almost buzzing the human words. ‘Turn about. Go forward! Not to the stern.’
1991 G. Bear & S. M. Stirling Man Who Would Be Kzin in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars IV 272 They cut loose the kzin lifeship, with Halloran inside, five hours later, and then turned a shielded ion drive against their orbital path to drop inward and lose themselves in the Belt.