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"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
- Frederik Pohl

Ether Ship  
  A space-going ship.  

The "ether" referred to here is an archaic scientific term - the theorized transmission medium of light and gravity in the absence of all matter - the emptiness of space.

The thought struck me of a mode of communication. I drew from my vest a tablet, and wrote on it symbols in our hieroglyphic character expressing where I came from. With a little difficulty and some gesticulation, I made him understand our symbols, which expressed the sentence, "We, Aleriel, Arauniel, and Ezariel, come in the ether ship from the beautiful planet near the sun." When he understood what I had written, he said something to the other Martian, who expressed great astonishment and wonder. Then, having paused awhile, as if in thought, he drew from the fold of his robe a box, whence he took a sheet of a cloth-like texture, on which he traced in large and rude characters, in a system of celestial picture-writing, not the same as ours, but sufficiently like it to be intelligible to us.
Technovelgy from Aleriel or A Voyage to Other Worlds, by W.S. Lach-Szyrma.
Published by Wyman and Sons in 1886
Additional resources -

Another example from Water-Bound World (1932) by Harl Vincent:

With ever decreasing velocity the ethership Mercurianic circled Japetus, Saturnís eighth satellite. At each convolution she drew nearer to the ominously tossing clouds which enveloped the body. The great vesselís rocket tubes gave forth no sound.

This example comes from The Lost City of Mars (1934) by Harl Vincent:

The present venture was out of their usual line. Both had hearkened to the call of outer space as men before the days of ethership travel had hearkened to the call of the sea. Coler, the pilot, and Turjen, the engineer had been known to the ships of interplanetary lines through many a dangerous voyage.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Aleriel or A Voyage to Other Worlds
  More Ideas and Technology by W.S. Lach-Szyrma
  Tech news articles related to Aleriel or A Voyage to Other Worlds
  Tech news articles related to works by W.S. Lach-Szyrma

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