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"[Science fiction is] anything that turns you and your social context, the social you, inside out."
- Gregory Benford

Langston Field  
  A protective energy shield.  

A great defensive weapon. It felt very cold if you encountered it with some part of your body, since the very motion of the molecules would be slowed.

The Langston Field absorbed energy; that was its basic function. It absorbed even the kinetic energy of expanding gas or radiation particles, with an efficiency proportional to the cube of the incoming velocities. In battle, the hellish fury of hydrogen torpedoes, and the concentrated photon energies of lasers, would strike the Field and be dispersed, absorbed, contained. As the energy levels increased, the Field would begin to glow, its absolute black becoming red, orange, yellow, climbing up the spectrum toward the violet.
Technovelgy from The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Simon & Schuster in 1974
Additional resources -

Since the energy field tended to form in a circle around the generator, cities that protected themselves with Langston Fields were circular.

The Langston field is based on energy fields in E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series from the 1940's. It might be most directly related to the Lanson Screen from the 1936 story of the same name by Leo Zagat.

Compare to the shield from Skylark Three (1930) by EE 'Doc' Smith, the personal force shield from Foundation (1951) by Isaac Asimov and the deflector shield from Star Wars (1976) by George Lucas.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mote in God's Eye
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to The Mote in God's Eye
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

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