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"I don't know why I write science fiction. The voices in my head told me to!"
- Charles Stross

Space-Boat  
  A small space-worthy craft for use in emergencies.  

Very early reference to the idea of an escape pod, or other means of leaving a distressed space vessel.

Nevertheless he looked longingly at the emergency space-boat hugging close to the hull of its mother ship, and fitted so admirably into her streamlining. If he could get to the entrance of that boat—it was in some other room farther toward the bow—he could give his captors a run for their money and perhaps reach Earth. And if he did? Shelby had great confidence in the Atomic Ray. He removed the top from the button where he had secreted the pink crystal. It was still there.

But how could he get into the space-boat? Plainly it could not be accomplished now. Perhaps soon—in a few hours maybe, an opportunity would present itself.

From Revolt of the Star Men, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Wonder Stories Quarterly in 1932
Additional resources -

Compare to the Survival Bubble (Beach Ball) from Footfall (1985) by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle) and the Inflatable Expansion Bubble from Crashlander (1994) by Larry Niven.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Revolt of the Star Men
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Revolt of the Star Men
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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