force field n.

a field of force that acts as an invisible barrier

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 in Marvel Science Stories Feb. 59/1 Jack Williamson

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

  • 1941 I. Asimov in Astounding Science Fiction Oct. 56/2 Isaac Asimov

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

  • 1950 E. E. Smith Gray Lensman in Astounding Science-Fiction Nov. 29/2 page image Edward E. Smith

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

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

    The forcefield was permeable, and he ducked through.

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

    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.

  • 1972 J. Blish Star Trek 5 1 James Blish

    It would take the most dedicated of men to confine himself behind a force field.

  • 1977 Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Aug. 107/1

    The four groups in the corners plunged through the forcefield at the doorway and fell down into the battleroom.

  • 1982 I. Asimov Foundation's Edge 3 Isaac Asimov

    Now it’s a colossal mausoleum, but is there a force-field ramp in the place? A slideway? A gravitic lift?—No, just these steps.

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

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

  • 1986 D. Carey Dreadnought vi.128 Diane Carey

    I ignored the force field’s threatening hum.

  • 1988 P. Anderson Iron in L. Niven et al. Man-Kzin Wars (1989) xxii. 169 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Ominously aglow, the molten mass dwarfed the spacecraft that toiled meters ahead of it; yet Sun Defier, harnessed by her own forcefield, was a plowhorse dragging it bit by bit from its former path…

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

    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.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity vi. 75 Greg Cox bibliography

    A powerful force field confined Seven to the spartan, simply furnished cell.

  • 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

    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.

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 1939 "Gray Lensman".
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 2021-01-11 20:54:18
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.