I read a short story in an anthology about pilots of a craft that regularly crosses through the Earth to the other side (commercial travel). The engine of the ship was called Rausch or Rorsch or something like that. In the story the birth of a child on board the craft breaks the engine and the pilots have to find a way to get it working again.

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    This is a nice start but can you take a look at this guide to see if there is anything else you can edit in? For example, do you know when you read this? How old was it at that time?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 16:41
  • How do they travel through the Earth? Through hyperspace, or is there a giant hole in the Earth or something? Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 17:36
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    ??? A child being born breaks the engine? Did the mother scream so loud it shattered some glass or crystal part, or does the engine just not like the presence of babies (though in that case it should have broken down when mama came on board - babies don't just magically out of a spacewarp at birth, mama had it with her when she came in board.)
    – JRE
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 18:36
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    Probably not the story you are thinking of. But a birth gumming up the works of a transportation system reminds me of the short story COUNTER FOIL by George O. Smith. In that story a woman in labor enters a teleportation system. The baby is "born" during transit and jams the system because suddenly there are more people trying to exit the system than entered.
    – beichst
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


I thought this short story sounded familiar. It is "Lambda I" by Colin Kapp. Originally published in New Worlds in 1962. It was anthologized in Lambda I and Other Stories (1964) edited by John Carnell.

From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

"Lambda I" (December 1962 New Worlds) – which deals with the perils of Transportation through the solid Earth via a kind of Hyperspace or Matter Penetration, and gave its title to the John Carnell collection Lambda I (anth 1964)

There are craft that travel through Tau space which enables them to travel from any point on the surface of planet Earth to any other. I think of it as a sort of hyperspace. Tau space vessels are powered by "Rorsch Tau-spin generators".

The Tau-space vessel trapped in Tau space is carrying a pregnant woman. Tau space is an extremely weird and dangerous place. There are mode slips which are hazardous to Tau vessels and Tau-psychic interactions which endanger the crew and passengers travelling in Tau space. The birth of the baby may have triggered the phenomenon that trapped the Tau vessel Mu Elektron in Tau space.

The Lambda I of the story's title is the experimental vessel built and used by the scientist and inventor Rorsch in the first flight into Tau space. It is used for the rescue mission to save the trapped Mu Elektron and its two thousand passengers.

All the details match your query. Thank you giving me the chance to revisit "Lambda I". One of those ingenuous and delightful pieces of science-fiction.

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