Earliest References to Interplanetary Spacecraft

M. Robert Gibson

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I've just read Michael Moorcock's The Blood Red Game first published in 1962, in which are used spacecraft that don't seem to worry about all that pesky stuff like needing enough power for leaving a planet's atmosphere, or burning up on re-entry, or refuelling, or the vast distances involved in travelling between planets.

So that got me to wondering: which book provides the earliest mention of spacecraft that are essentially used like airplanes but for travelling around the solar system/galaxy/universe.

Think Luke's X-Wing on Dagobah or the Millennium Falcon etc

I'm sure the hive-mind here will be able to help :)
 

BAYLOR

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That did occur to me but it's been so long since I read the books, I can't remember how they travelled between planets.

I'll have to drag out the books for a bit of research required methinks :unsure:

Clark Ashton Smith wrote stories along those line. The Dart of Rasasfa and The God The Asteroid comes to mind .
 
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BAYLOR

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Martian Odyssey by Stanley Weinbaum
 

Pyan

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The Man in the Moone, by Francis Godwin, Bishop of Hereford, published in 1637. Somewhat surprisingly, it's available on Kindle, as well as in PB.

Our hero uses the power of flying swans harnessed to a kind of trapeze to journey to the Moon. Here he finds the Lunars, people inhabiting an utopian paradise. After six months, he gets homesick and returns the same way, only to be arrested as a magician.

1280px-Godwin_man_in_the_moone.jpg

 

BigBadBob141

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There are scientific romances going back to just before and at the start of the twentieth century, mostly pre-H.G.Wells.
I have a book called "The Rivals Of H.G.Wells" and also one for Jules Verne, I think there are one or two in there that pre-date Wells and use interplanetary travel!
The is one called something like Honeymoon on Venus or Mars, something like that, that involves the use of a spaceship.
 

hitmouse

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I suspect that it would be more comfortable than being stuffed inside a steel shell and fired from a gargantuan cannon, a la Jules Verne...
Ah, yes. Jules Verne’s famous dimensional transmogrifier, which renders you from a normal human shape into a 2D smear of jam on the back wall of the shell in a fraction of a second.
 

Bick

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This is perhaps the book you're looking for: A Voyage to the Moon, by Cyrano de Bergerac (published posthumously in 1657).

Arthur C. Clarke credited the book with the first description of rocket-powered space flight, and with the invention of the ramjet! Interestingly, 'Cyrano', in the book, meets 'Domingo Gonsales' of Francis Godwin's The Man in the Moone and they have a philosophical chat.

It's available on Project Gutenberg: A Voyage to the Moon.
 

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