It seems almost every form of faster than light travel in sci-fi is technically not faster than light, but rather a loophole - for example, a warp bubble, hyperspace, subspace, wormhole, jump drive, folding space etc.

What is the most modern depiction of craft or phenomena travelling superluminally, at or above c, without a 'loophole'?

Especially interested if there is a good explanation, and not simply ignoring, pre-dating or discounting theory (for example, a device that negates the mass of the object, thereby allowing it to reach c without increasing to infinite mass).

  • 1
    Of course. I think that was very common in the good old days. For instance, if I remember right, E. E. Smith's Skylark outran light without benefit of warp bubbles, wormholes, or the like.
    – user14111
    Jun 5, 2018 at 5:59
  • 7
    Of note might be Futurama where, as I recall, they raised the speed of light. Not by technobabble, they just passed a law.
    – Cadence
    Jun 5, 2018 at 6:10
  • I'd love to learn of some more examples, apart from Skylark Jun 5, 2018 at 6:24
  • 2
    This is very broad. List of works that contain x areplicate off-topic
    – Valorum
    Jun 5, 2018 at 6:51
  • All FTL stories which were published before 1905..
    – user931
    Jun 5, 2018 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


In Skylark of Space by E.E. “Doc” Smith, the speed of light is no limit at all. Einstein was simply wrong! The ships in the Skylark series use simple acceleration, and end up going very, very fast, hundreds of thousands of times the speed of light. Plus there's no relativistic time distortion.

"About three hundred and fifty million miles," he stated. "Clear out of our solar system already, and from the distance covered he must have had a constant acceleration so as to approximate the velocity of light, and he is still going with full...."
"But nothing can possibly go that fast, Mart, it's impossible. How about Einstein's theory?"
"That is a theory, this measurement of distance is a fact, as you know from our tests."
"That's right. Another good theory gone to pot.

Skylark of Space was originally serialized in 1928, and first published in book form in 1946.

enter image description here

Here's another: In Around A Distant Star from 1904, by Jean Delaire, there's a ship which travels at 2000c, so they go out 2000 or so lightyears with a big telescope, to see Jesus teaching in Israel. Unfortunately this one doesn't have such awesome cover art. enter image description here

  • Many of E E 'Doc' Smith's stories have FTL travel in normal space. E.g. the "Lensman" stories have a drive system that allows travel at arbitrary speed by nullifying inertia; this isn't a loophole of the kind described in the question because per relatively if this could actually be done the result would be travel at light speed, but no faster.
    – Jules
    Jun 5, 2018 at 8:35
  • For those so inclined you can get some of E E Doc Smith's Skylark books for free on Project Gutenberg.org. Jun 5, 2018 at 16:11

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