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"Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today -- but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all."
- Isaac Asimov

Cushion Fence  
  Gentle force field  

Just a little push back. Unless you insisted.

Now it was nine thousand square miles of paradise. It suggested a fantastic image to me; a shattered rainbow of odd-shaped fields of poppies glowing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. The channels had been roofed over with tile. The lake bed was scattered with wickiups, the traditional Indian hut, once made of mud and branches, but these were built of marble, granite, limestone, terracotta, travertine. Flagged roads wandered everywhere in no particular pattern, and all around the lake bed was a gentle cushion fence that pushed you back if you came too close. If you persisted in coming closer it stiff-armed you with a piston jolt.
From The Computer Connection, by Alfred Bester.
Published by Berkeley Publishing in 1974
Additional resources -

Compare to the barrier force field from Coventry (1940) by Robert Heinlein.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The Computer Connection
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