force field n.

a field of energy that acts as an invisible barrier; cf. shield n.

SF Encyclopedia

  • 1931 E. E. Smith Spacehounds of IPC in Amazing Stories Sept. 544/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    He first called Mars, the home planet of Alcantro and Fedanzo, the foremost force-field experts of three planets; and was assured in no uncertain terms that those rulers of rays were ready and anxious to follow wherever Brandon and Westfall might lead.

  • 1939 J. Williamson After World’s End in Marvel Science Stories Feb. 59/1 page image Jack Williamson bibliography

    The force-field is a billion miles in diameter… It acts to repulse or disintegrate all matter that approaches.

  • 1939 E. E. Smith Gray Lensman in Astounding Science-Fiction Nov. 29/2 page image Edward E. Smith bibliography

    I was reading in the ‘Transactions’ the other day that force fields had been used in big units, and were more efficient.

  • 1941 I. Asimov Not Final! in Astounding Science Fiction Oct. 56/2 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    ‘The ordinary force field,’ explained Birnam, ‘is a feeble rarefied zone of energy extending over a hundred miles or more outside the ship.’

  • 1954 C. D. Simak Dusty Zebra in Galaxy Magazine Sept. 93/2 page image Clifford D. Simak bibliography

    There was some feeble force-field operating inside of it—feeble yet strong enough to play hell with the electrical circuits and fancy metering machinery he has at the lab.

  • 1966 S. R. Delaney Empire Star (1977) 123 Samuel R. Delany bibliography

    The forcefield was permeable, and he ducked through.

  • 1967 P. K. Dick Counter-Clock World (1990) 205 Philip K. Dick bibliography

    There seemed to be no force-field, nothing modern, protecting the highly sensitive top levels of the structure.

  • 1970 P. Anderson Tau Zero (1973) 85 Poul Anderson bibliography

    The reason is, as you've been told, at high speeds we must have the force fields of one system or the other to shield us from interstellar gas.

  • 1985 O. S. Card Ender’s Game viii. 115 Orson Scott Card bibliography

    A second later he smashed into the forcefield of the enemy’s door and rebounded with a crazy spin.

  • 1990 F. Pohl World at End of Time (1993) 334 Frederik Pohl bibliography

    To land, their little ship had to slide through an opening that appeared magically in the atmosphere-holding, radiation-shielding forcefield that kept the people who lived on Moon Mary safe.

  • 1999 M. J. Friedman My Brother's Keeper iii. ii. 25 Michael Jan Friedman bibliography

    We imprisoned Gary behind a forcefield while we cannibalized some of the station’s hardware to fix the drive.

  • 2004 P. F. Hamilton Pandora’s Star v. 130 Peter F. Hamilton bibliography

    If we're up against weapons that you need to protect a star against, I don’t think a couple of our force fields will be much use.

  • 2019 N. Okorafor Groot Boom in Shuri (#3) Feb. (unpaged) Nnedi Okorafor

    Aaand now it’s got an electronic force field. This just keeps getting better and better.

Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

E.E. Smith, Spacehounds of IPC

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1941 cite.
Enoch Forrester submitted a cite from a 1998 reprint of E.E. Smith's "Gray Lensman"; Jesse Sheidlower verified it in the original appearance in Astounding in 1939.
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1939 cite from Jack Williamson's "After World's End".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1932 cite for the form "field of force".
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1931 cite from E.E. Smith's "Spacehounds of IPC".
(Earliest cite in the OED: 1944.)

Last modified 2022-09-07 18:49:22
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.