In space operas is it common to divide interstellar space into sectors and/or quadrants containing at least several stars each.

Star Trek TOS used both "sector" and "quadrant" as divisions of interstellar space.

Whether sector and quadrant referred to the same type of division or not in a specific work of fiction, they are definitely different words, so the correct answer for quadrant may not be the correct answer for sector.

James White's "Sector General" stories, beginning in the November 1957 issue of New Worlds is set in a giant space station used as an interstellar hospital, Sector Twelve General Hospital.

I'm sure there are many earlier examples.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Was the term "Quadrant" invented for Star Trek
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 20:01
  • 1
    @Edlothiad - It is not a duuplicate. I came from that question and asked this question to find the first use of sector in space opera science fiction. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 20:18
  • They're asking the same thing. Was the term quadrant invented for Star Trek. Answer = yes? Answers this question. Answer = no? Where was it first used.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 20:57
  • @M.A.Golding If you've come from that question and are not satisfied, please provide reasoning as to why it doesn't meet your criteria.
    – Möoz
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 21:01
  • 1
    I think that other question is really a mess of somewhat similar questions and little research which should be closed and split apart anyway. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


The Google nGram viewer when searching for "sector of space" gives two early examples, one non fiction (1883) and one fiction (1942).

The non fiction appears in a 1883 treatise titled "Mysteries of Time and Space", with the following reference:

"...it was proved that comet and meteors reached the part E' of Earth's orbit along lines contained within one and the same sector of space..."

The first science fiction reference that the viewer records is from "The Comet Kings", in 1942 (Page 5) by Edmond Hamilton

"But there aren't any uncharted meteor swarms out in that sector of space, sir!"

That's at least the first reference in a specific science fiction work that I can find.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.