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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Planoforming  
  A form of "faster than light" travel allows for interstellar travel.  

"Planoforming was sort of funny. It felt like like— Like nothing much. Like the twinge of a mild electric shock. Like the ache of a sore tooth bitten on for the first time. Like a slightly painful flash of light against the eyes. Yet in that time, a forty-thousand-ton ship lifting free above Earth disappeared somehow or other into two dimensions and appeared half a light-year or fifty light-years off."
Technovelgy from The Game of Rat and Dragon, by Cordwainer Smith.
Published by Galaxy Science Fiction in 1953
Additional resources -

See the jump through hyperspace from Isaac Asimov's 1951 novel Foundation, another early use of the FTL travel idea.

The earliest use of the FTL idea was probably the inertialess drive from E.E. 'Doc' Smith's 1934 novel Triplanetary.

Thanks to Gatomon41 for submitting this item!

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Game of Rat and Dragon
  More Ideas and Technology by Cordwainer Smith
  Tech news articles related to The Game of Rat and Dragon
  Tech news articles related to works by Cordwainer Smith

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