I’m looking a for a book that I read that contained a specific type of FTL travel method. It involved tachyon pulses and when the transition was complete a lot of people would get sick. I can’t remember it for the life of me.

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    When did you read it? In what country? What language? How long was it? Paperback? Hardback? Ebook? Website? Were there aliens? Farflung human colonies? Psychic powers? Ponies? Ponies with psychic powers? Crystalline beings? Did they get sick during transit? When it started? As they came out of it?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jan 12 at 1:42
  • You know, FTL travel making (some) people sick is a trope - is that because the author wants to emphasize that FTL via "hyperspace" or "warp" or "other dimensions" or whatever is so unnatural that human beings (or other beasts: remember Scanners Live In Vain) that obviously it hurts people who indulge in it?
    – davidbak
    Jan 12 at 1:54
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    Some people get sea-sick on a boat. Some people get motion sick in a car or bus. Some people get air-sick when they fly. Does that make current modes of travel just as unnatural as FTL?
    – Ethan
    Jan 12 at 5:26
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    John Cleve's Spaceways books have a tachyon drive that makes people nauseous, but I think you'd remember reading these as they are (a) trash and (b) pornographic. Jan 12 at 6:28
  • The term tachyon pulse is used a lot in SF novels to describe a method of FTL communication, or as a form of FTL radar, but I cannot find any books where it used to describe the FTL drive. How sure are you that this phrase describes the drive? Jan 12 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


If it's relatively recent, I would suggest the Odyssey One series by Evan Currie, starting with Into the Black. The titular ship 'Odyssey' is the first interstellar ship built on Earth, and uses what they call a transition drive to achieve ftl travel.

The drive converts the ship and everyone on it to tachyons which travel a set distance and then spontaneously revert to the original state. It's not instantaneous, so the crew watch the ship dissolve in front of them causing some interesting psychological impacts:

“And we have at least one who we have to confine to the labs…Lieutenant Tearborn snapped, Captain. Security picked her up in Engineering. Apparently, she witnessed the reactor vaporize and she thought it was a breach.”

The majority of the crew have a physical reaction as well, to a greater or lesser extent:

“Nothing permanent or debilitating—not yet, at any rate,” Rame said. “But it has affected the eyesight of twenty-three crew members. Again, not permanent. But disturbing, just the same. Thirty crew members have developed a disturbing cellular degradation of the soft tissue of their noses, mouths, and throats. I’m not certain about the internal effects of these yet. I’ve scheduled a series of tests.”

The more serious effects are downplayed later in the series, although finding it unpleasant and a lot of vomiting after each transition remains a feature throughout.

The key plot points to try to jog your memory is this is the right one:

  • The captain is Eric Weston, previously a marine air fighter pilot and commander of the 'Archangel' flight.
  • After the first jump they pick up a distress signal and pick up an apparent human from a race called the 'Priminae'.
  • There is a third race, the Drasin, which is trying to wipe out the Priminae.
  • The Odyssey has a small fraction of the power of the other ships, but a combination of stealth, specific technological advances (tunable lasers and armour), and superior tactics allows the humans to have a significant impact in the battles.
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    "The more serious effects are downplayed later in the series" because it disturbs the plot...
    – RonJohn
    Jan 13 at 4:50

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