I invented the fictional form of FTL travel while studying special relativity in a science enrichment program for high school students, way back in the 1970s. The program was run by Robert J. Quigley, at Western Washington State College, in Bellingham, Washington. String theory was popular at the time and I read a lot of articles about "the stuff of the universe" and plausible ways of getting across vast regions of space faster by punching, bending or otherwise mutilating it.
Reality Skimming as an ORU technology was equally influenced by Star Trek's warp drive. So this month's article in ZME Science NASA: ‘warp drive is plausible’ – experiments under way had to be blogged about on the Reality Skimming blog.
For the Okal Rel method of FTL travel, underpinning so much of the social structure both in Rire and the empire, see: