Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The way you write science fiction is: you sit down at your writing machine and you open your mind to the first thought that comes through."
- Frederik Pohl

Barrier (Force Field)  
  Force-field fence.  

In this story, Heinlein explores the idea of a just society; what does that society do with people who refuse to follow the rules? People who refuse to abide by the Covenant are placed (willingly or not) in Coventry, a large area of the U.S. about the size of Montana to fend for themselves. Coventry is surrounded by an impenetrable force field called the Barrier.

MacKinnon peered out of a forward port of the big transport helicopter with repressed excitement in his heart. There! That must be it- that black band in the distance. The helicopter drew closer, and he became certain that he was seeing the Barrier- the mysterious, impenetrable wall that divided the United States from the reservation known as Coventry...


Barrier from 'Coventry' by Robert Heinlein)

A tiny, bright dot appeared in the foot of the barrier opposite where they waited. It spread into a half circle across the lampblack nothingness. Now it was large enough for MacKinnon to see the countryside beyond through the arch it had formed. He peered eagerly.

Technovelgy from Coventry, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

Another character adds:

'...I'm not a mathematical physicist, but I was always told that it was theoretically impossible to break the Barrier-that it was just a nothingness that there was no way to touch. Of course, you can fly over it, but even that is supposed to be deadly to life.'

This story is classic Heinlein; read it to get some of the basis for the socio-political climate in his future history series.

This description from Rex (1934) by Harl Vincent of a similar idea is interesting:

Anticipating organized and armed attacks by humankind, Rex devised an invisible, impenetrable barrier of electronic vibrations which could be set up by the regular broadcast power. He caused the power plants themselves to be surrounded by these barriers, as well as providing them for the protection of the individual robots in the form of an inclosing bubble. Bulletproof, flameproof, impervious to the freezing ray of human scientists, these inclosures yet permitted each robot to carry on his newly appointed tasks without encumbrance.

Compare to the Langston field from Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Coventry
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Coventry
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Barrier (Force Field)-related news articles:
  - Virtual Fence To Be Tested This Month

Articles related to Misc
Is There A Subterranean Ocean?
The Robotic Shopping Cart Of The Future
Arctic Resource Jackpot An Old Wish
Marie Curie's Papers Still Radioactive

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Cognify - A Prison Of The Mind We've Seen Before In SF
'So I serve a hundred years in one day...'

Robot With Human Brain Organoid - 'A Thrilling Story Of Mechanistic Progress'
'A human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'

Goodness Gracious Me! Google Tries Face Recognition Security
'The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell...'

With Mycotecture, We'll Just Grow The Space Habitats We Need
'The only real cost was in the plastic balloon that guided the growth of the coral and enclosed the coral's special air-borne food.'

Can A Swarm Of Deadly Drones Take Out An Aircraft Carrier?
'The border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

WiFi and AI Team Up To See Through Walls
'The pitiless M rays pierced Earth and steel and densest concrete as if they were so much transparent glass...'

Climate Engineering In California Could Make Europe's Heat Waves Worse
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Optimus Robot Will Be A Good Nanny, Says Musk
'Nanny is different,' Tom Fields murmured... 'she's not like a machine. She's like a person.'

ESA To Build Moon Bases Brick By Printed LEGO Brick
'We made a crude , small cell and were delighted - and, I admit, somewhat surprised - to find it worked.'

Does The Shortage Of Human Inputs Limit AI Development?
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.