"Warp speed"

Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Sat Nov 30 06:03:12 UTC 2002

> Date:    Fri, 29 Nov 2002 07:11:42 -0500
> From:    Paul McFedries <mailinglists at LOGOPHILIA.COM>
> Subject: Warp speed
> "Warp speed" has become a common synonym for "an extremely fast
> speed," and is used all the time without reference to Star Trek. Does
> anyone know if "warp speed" was used prior to the original Star Trek
> series and, if so, who used it and when?

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (John Clute and Peter Nicholls,
ed.; St. Martin's Griffin, NY, 1995) has an entry for Space Warp (p.
1142-1143).  "The term (along with 'hyperspace') may have been first
used by John W. Campbell Jr. in _Islands in Space_ 1931 amazing
stories quarterly; 1957)."

Further on:  "Space warp has become such a cliche in sf that it
allows endless variants.  One of the best known is the 'warp factor'
used in Star Trek as a measure of velocity.  This is illogical on all
levels."  Which raises the possibility that "warp speed" was _not_
used in Star Trek.  (A quick look through the entry for Star Trek
doesn't show anything helpful.)

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