Stargates

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A stargate is a popular name, in sf Terminology, for a Matter Transmission or Wormhole portal that facilitates interstellar transport. Stephen Robinett's Stargate (June-August 1974 Analog as by Tak Hallus; 1976) offers an early instance of the term, though preceded by Arthur C Clarke's slightly different formulation "Star Gate" in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; with 2 related stories added, rev as coll 1990), his novelization of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The general concept is much older, as seen in A E van Vogt's "Secret Unattainable" (July 1942 Astounding) or Robert A Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky (1955); later versions include Eric Brown's Engineman (1994) and Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star (2004). The stargate of George Zebrowski's Stranger Suns (1991) gives access to other Parallel-World universes besides our own.

The term passed into the publicly perceived vocabulary of sf thanks to the film Stargate (1994) and its television spinoffs, which began with Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007). It is a great convenience, in terms of both narrative flexibility and special-effects budgeting, to replace the apparatus of plausible on-screen Space Flight with the now-familiar metal ring of a Stargate portal. [DRL]

see also: Robert Hoskins; Jack McDevitt.

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