Full record for sublight adj.

Definition below the speed of light
OED requirements antedating 1950
Earliest cite J. D. MacDonald 'Shadow on the Sand'
Comment Mike Christie submitted a cite from a 1993 reprint of Dan Simmons' "Hyperion". Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1991 reprint of Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon's 1990 "Sassinak". Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a reprint of Anne McCaffrey's "The Weather on Welladay"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1969 original magazine appearance. Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1990 reprint of Poul Anderson's "The High Crusade"; Mike Christie verified the cite in a 1968 reprint. We would like to check the 1960 first edition. Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a reprint of a John Clute review; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1973 first magazine appearance. Katrina Campbell 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. Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a 1985 reprint of David Gerrold's 1972 "Starhunt". Dave Langford submitted a 1956 cite from Poul Anderson's "Margin of Profit". Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1963 reprint of John D. Macdonald's story "Shadow on the Sand", and Mike Christie verified it in the 1950 original publication.
Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for sublight adj.

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1950 J. D. MacDonald Shadow on Sand in Thrilling Wonder Stories Oct. 14/1 They were in the eight-minus level, apparently. Later, when he found a reference to the manufacture of radioactives, he quickly revised it to six-minus, knowing that these people were on the verge of Newtonian sub-light space travel.
1956 P. Anderson in Astounding Sci. Fiction Sept. 51/2 The shells have to be hypered themselves, of course, or they would revert to sublight velocity and be left behind as soon as they emerged from the drive field.
1966 P. Anderson in Analog Sci. Fiction/Sci. Fact Apr. 134/1 They'd also go sublight, and home on the neutrino emission of his power plant.
1969 Amazing Stories Mar. 58/2 Port Abell just received an FTL probe saying that he was approaching the system at maximum sub-light speed.
1969 Amazing Stories Mar. 73/2 They'll probably stay sub-light, Bracer thought. Not much point in their going back into star drive now. They know that they can whip us without using any fancy tactics. But would it help us to go FTL?
1969 A. McCaffrey in Galaxy Mag. Mar. 102/2 A sublight message?‥. Now what?
1972 J. Blish Star Trek 8 146 A very archaic type, Captain. Sublight space.
1985 ‘D. Gerrold’ Starhunt 79 A typical battle maneuver consists of several minutes or hours of complex evasive patterns of the warp in the stress field, interrupted by a sudden unwarping—with the ship bouncing off in a totally unexpected direction and at sublight speed—followed by the almost immediate launching of its missiles.
1986 D. Carey Dreadnought viii. 199, I urged the massive beast into sublight movement.
1988 P. Anderson Iron in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars (1989) v. 47 The kzinti hurled a sublight fleet out of Alpha Centauri at variable intervals, but years apart, since one way or another they always lost heavily in the sanguinary campaigns that followed.
1991 A. McCaffrey & E. Moon Generation Warriors 153 That's how emergency calls went out: sublight to the transfer point, which launched the pod, and the pod carried only a standard message, plus its originating transfer code.
1996 D. Weber Honor Among Enemies (1997) 152 They'd made the centuries-long voyage sublight, in cryo, only to discover that the original survey had missed a minor point about their new home's ecosystem.
1997 J. Sherman & S. Shwartz Vulcan's Forge xxvii. 306 Spock heard the familiar crackle of sublight communications.
2002 A. Roberts Stone 139 When people from the Wheah made the slow sublight journey through the Tongue they—obviously—chose its narrowest point.