gravity screen n.

a device that creates or prevents the effects of gravity; the effect of such a device

  • [1907 H. G. Bishop On the Martian Way in Broadway Magazine 1 Nov. 151/2 H. G. Bishop bibliography

    A sudden lightness in his legs and a lack of weight in the suitcase he held in his hand told him that the boat was sealed, and that the gravitation screens were in place.]

  • 1926 E. Hamilton Across Space in Weird Tales Oct. 528/1 page image Edmond Hamilton bibliography

    With all their advance in science, they had lost the secret of the space-ships, the gravity screen.

  • 1929 S. P. Meek Red Peril in Amazing Stories Sept. 497/1 page image S. P. Meek bibliography

    If a gravity screen were perfected, it would shut off all gravity above it to an infinite distance.

  • 1932 A. G. Stangland 50th Century Revolt in Wonder Stories Apr. 1208/2 page image Arthur G. Stangland bibliography

    For twenty or thirty miles into the back-bone of the Andean mountains massive reinforced steel tubes were driven to withstand the terrific constant strain of the tubes as they sent forth a vast field of gravitation, retarding the motion of the planet. The huge gravity screens of the tubes fed on large vats of silicon dust which broke down atomically, releasing a powerful negative field of gravity.

  • 1940 V. Reid Future’s Fair in Astonishing Stories Oct. 50/2 page image bibliography

    Jovian crowds shrieked in terror, then laughed uproariously as they swung suspended in air above the Gravity Screens.

  • 1945 H. Walton Schedule in Astounding Science-Fiction June 58/2 page image Harry Walton bibliography

    ‘The turbos are heatin’. They won’t take any overload on deceleratin’.’ ‘Won’t have to. We’ll cut in the gravity screens in reverse.’

  • 1947 Story Behind the Story in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 113/1 page image

    Gravity-screens, to take only one example, make it possible to use android robots of such size that they could exist only in a slight gravity.

  • 1952 J. Blish Bridge in Astounding Science Fiction Feb. 70/2 page image James Blish bibliography

    They have antigravity! Isn’t that it?’ ‘Yes…. Of course, it couldn’t be a complete gravity screen by any means. But it seems to be a good long step toward it.’

  • 1983 I. Asimov in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 125 page image Isaac Asimov

    But suppose the spaceship has a gravity screen plastered all over its hull and that, at a particular moment, the screen is activated. Now, with no gravitation to hold it down, it is cast off from the Earth like a clod of mud from a spinning fly-wheel.

  • 2001 A. Steele ChronoSpace ii. 154 page image Allen Steele bibliography

    ‘I’ve rerouted the gravity subsystem to the negmass, but I can’t access the main bus without... shit!’ The deck buffeted violently as the timeship hit heavy turbulence. Through the headset, Franc heard Hoffman curse as he pitched sideways once more; true to his word, he had cut off the gravity screen.

Research requirements

antedating 1926

Earliest cite

Edmond Hamilton, in Weird Tales

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from Henry Kuttner in Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1932 cite from Arthur G. Stangland's "50th Century Revolt".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from James Blish's "Bridge".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from Vincent Reid's "The Future's Fair".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1930 cite from a letter from S. P. Meek in Amazing Stories; this letter alludes to a story of Meek's ("The Red Peril") published in the Sept. 1929 issue; Jesse Sheidlower found an example from this story.
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from an undated reprint of Harry Walton's "Schedule"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1945 first appearance.
Fred Galvin submitted cites from a 1960s reprint of Edmond Hamilton's "Crashing Suns": we do not need to verify this in its first publication (Weird Tales, August and September 1928), as we now have earlier evidence from Hamilton in the same publication.
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1926 cite from Edmond Hamilton's "Across Space" in Weird Tales.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2001 cite from Allen Steele.

Fred Galvin notes the use of a similar term, "gravitation screen" in a story, "On The Martian Way" by Captain Harry Gore Bishop, first published in 1907 and reprinted several times in the following decades. An anonymous contributor send in an example from a 1909 reprint; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the original publication.

Last modified 2023-10-31 19:09:56
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.