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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Nullfield  
  A field of energy that creates a barrier.  

This is what makes the null-suit work.

She pulled herself toward the mirror the others had entered. It was another nullfield, protecting the entrance to an underground warren. She tried to go through it, but only got as far as her neck. Vaffa was inside, floating in a bare rock corridor, and she was smiling slightly. Lilo backed out and took off her vest and kilt, which had not been enclosed in her suit when it came on. There had to be a way to get them in, but she couldn't see what it might be. She entered, leaving her clothes behind.

Vaffa was still there, and now she was holding something out to Lilo. It was a pressurized suitcase.

"You'll have to learn about nullfields," Vaffa said.

"Nothing gets through them but something that's encased in another nullfield. Except some of them are tuned to let in certain frequencies of light. That's how you can see through your suit."

From The Ophiuchi Hotline, by John Varley.
Published by Quantum Science Fiction in 1977
Additional resources -

Compare to the nullentropy bin from Frank Herbert's 1984 novel Heretics of Dune and the Slaver stasis field from Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ophiuchi Hotline
  More Ideas and Technology by John Varley
  Tech news articles related to The Ophiuchi Hotline
  Tech news articles related to works by John Varley

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