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"I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled 'Science Fiction' and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Stellar Analog Computers  
  Special systems used to calculate safe "jumps" for interstellar trips.  

Even the senior officer, on a Navy Transport, would never have to jump “blind,” except in the rare and nearly unheard-of instance of an analog failure ; only tramps and Navy Scouts ever jumped willingly on anything but a ’log-computed course. The stellar analog computers were the Navy’s Topmost Secret; when you used one, nothing was required except to make sure the jump-along itself was in perfect condition, and then to pull the switch. The ’log did the rest.

Merchant ships carried ’logs for their chartered ports of call — the Lady had two — but the charter ports were the smallest part of a merchant trip. The number of destinations for which Navy analogs were available was hardly a hatful out of the galaxies. Without a ’log to point the way for him, it was up to the IBMan to plot co-ordinates for where a hole ought to be. With luck and skill he could bring the ship out into normal space again somewhere within SolNav reach of the destination. With the tiniest error in computation, a ship might be lost forever in some distant universe with no stars to steer her home.

From The Lady Was A Tramp, by Rose Sharon.
Published by Venture Science Fiction in 1957
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