"...if you want to know what your future looks like, don't waste your time on Analog; read Time magazine. We are already saturated in the future. "
I don't think that this is the earliest use of this idea, but it's still worth looking at.
This is an interesting idea. For one thing, there really aren't any straight lines in space, at least for material objects going through the solar system; gravity fields and the constantly changing locations of the planets make direct "beams" difficult.
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