I’ve been troping again. This time I found and repaired the TV Tropes page on Faster Than Light Travel. It had previously made a distinction between three subtypes of FTL drive: “jump”, “warp”, and “shortcut”. The “shortcut” category was confused and confusing, and I’ve renamed it to “portal” and fixed the definitions of both “portal” and “warp” subtropes.
I’m now looking for earliest occurrences and trope codifiers on these subtypes. I think I have one nailed down, but I can’t push the other two back very far. Instances and cites are solicited.
The easiest one is the portal drive. This is the newest of the three subtropes; I think it was codified in Niven & Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, 1975. Note that we want to be careful about distinguishing it from FTL involving fixed artificial stargates and/or naturally occurring wormholes. I’m interested in ur-examples.
The jump (or fold-space) drive goes back at least as far as
Robert Heinlein’s 1953 “Starman Jones” Isaac Asimov’s earliest Foundation story in 1942. There may well be earlier examples.
The warp drive goes back at least as far as Murray Leinster’s first “Med Service” story in 1957. Again, I’m certain there are earlier examples. Let the digging begin!