[Ads-l] Antedating dropshaft

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 21 21:26:15 UTC 2019

Bill Mullins wrote:
> OED SF project has 1957
> https://www.jessesword.com/sf/view/1433
> "Gulf" by Robert Heinlein _Astounding Science Fiction_ v44n3 Nov 1949 p. 74 col 2
> "The corridor ahead and a turn to the left should bring him to the quick-drop shaft."
> "Troubleshooter" by Charles Eric Maine  _Nebula Science Fiction_ (UK) v2n3 Feb 1954   p. 31
> "Funny thing -- but that was the last and only memory that seemed to be present in his mind -- the background of the college, the intensive training, the simulated free-fall flights in the drop-shaft, the tests and examinations."
> "The Long Way Home" by Poul Anderson _Astounding Science-Fiction_ v55n3 May 1955 p. 119 col 1
> "Down a drop-shaft, falling like autumn leaves, Chanthavar testing each exit as he passed it."

Excellent Heinlein citation, Bill. Here is a citation for
"drop-shafts' with the desired sense in September 1952 together with a
link into the Internet Archive copy of the pertinent issue of "Planet
Stories". This citation is given in "Brave New Words: The Oxford
Dictionary of Science Fiction" (2009) edited by Jeff Prucher. The OED
SF entry has a later citation for a reprint of the same story by Poul

Date: September 1952
Periodical: Planet Stories: A Fiction House Magazine
Short Story: The Star Plunderer
Author: Poul Anderson
Start Page 54, Quote Page 58
Publisher: Love Romances Publishing Company, Stamford, Connecticut


[Begin excerpt]
Beyond the desk, a Gorzuni played a hose on us, washing off blood and
grime, and then we were herded down the long corridors and by way of
wooden ladders (the drop-shafts and elevators weren’t working, it
seemed) to the cells.
[End excerpt]


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