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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Protective Field (Safety Field)  
  An static energy field used to protect a city.  

The ancient, alien city of Lemnos stood on a plain for millennia, apparently open to anyone to enter by air. However, the city was defended by a safety field.

Rawlins said, “This is going to sound naive, I know, Charles. But why don’t we just come down from here and land the scout-plane in the middle of that central plaza?”

“Let me show you,” said Boardman.

He spoke a command. A robot drone probe detached itself from the belly of the plane and streaked toward the city. Board-man and Rawlins followed the flight of the blunt gray metal projectile until it was only a few score meters above the tops of the buildings. Through its faceted eye they had a sharp view of the city, revealing the intricate texture of much of the stonework. Suddenly the drone probe vanished. There was a burst of incandescence, a puff of greenish smoke—and then nothing at all.

Boardman nodded. “Nothing’s changed. There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.”

Now they had all seen the city from the air, and had seen what the guardians of the maze could do to a drone probe that ventured into the protective field overlying the city.

Rawlins had suggested the possibility that there might be a null spot in that protective field... they loaded a probe with metal pellets and stationed it fifty meters above the highest point of the maze. Scanner eyes recorded the action as the drone slowly turned, spewing the pellets one at a time into preselected one-meter-meter boxes above the city. Each in turn was incinerated as it fell...

A power technician offered to rig an interference pylon to drain the energy of the field. It didn't work. The pylon, a hundred meters tall, sucked in power from all over the planet; blue lightning leaped and hissed along its accumulator bank, but it had no effect on the safety field...

From The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg.
Published by Avon Books in 1969
Additional resources -

Compare to force shield from Skylark Three by EE 'Doc" Smith.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man in the Maze
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Silverberg
  Tech news articles related to The Man in the Maze
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Silverberg

Protective Field (Safety Field)-related news articles:
  - Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison

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