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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Adiabatic Pods  
  Tiny space capsules large enough to hold one passenger.  

'Before the great ships whispered between the stars by means of planoforming, people had to fly from star to star with immense sails...'

A small spaceboat provided room for a sailor to handle the sails, check the course, and watch the passengers who were sealed, like knots in immense threads, in their little adiabatic pods which trailed behind the ship. The passengers knew nothing, except for going to sleep on Earth and waking up on a strange new world forty, fifty, or two hundred years later.
From The Lady Who Sailed The Soul, by Cordwainer Smith.
Published by Galaxy in 1960
Additional resources -

An adiabatic process is one that occurs without gain or loss of heat; in other words, during the process the system is thermodynamically isolated. As described by Smith, people incased in these pods are in a state of suspended animation, or 'cold sleep'.

Compare to the space capsule from E.R. James' 1954 story of the same name and to the escape pod from George Lucas' 1976 story Star Wars.

Compare to the frigorific process from The Senator's Daughter (1879) by Edward Page Mitchell, cold-sleep from Robert Heinlein's Methuselah's Children (1941), stasis from Heinlein's Door Into Summer (1951), the adiabatic pods from The Lady Who Sailed The Soul (1960) by Cordwainer Smith, corpsicle from Pohl's The Age of the Pussyfoot (1965), the hibernaculum from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by Arthur C. Clarke, cryosleep from Flight of Exiles (1972) by Ben Bova and the EverRest Cryotorium from Roger Zelazny's Flare (1992).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Lady Who Sailed The Soul
  More Ideas and Technology by Cordwainer Smith
  Tech news articles related to The Lady Who Sailed The Soul
  Tech news articles related to works by Cordwainer Smith

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