Great Innovations of the 21st Century
Chapter 6: The Emperor's New Force Field.
The invention of the force field must go down as one of the great inventions of this century in anyone's book. Enabling, as it has, futher progress in such diverse fields as warp drive, medicine, micro-surgery, and penal reform. It could be argued, however, that each of those advancements could easily be predicted and acheived once force field technology had been perfected.
For truely inspired innovation with this technology, and the first to realise a profit from it, we have to look further afield. Johan Kveltz, a graduate animator who had focused his spare moments onto perfecting the modelling of fall and flow of cloth, burst onto the high fashion scene in the autumn of 2037.
A contemporary account describes the incident as follows:
The great, and always controversial, designer Ginah teamed up with newcomer Johan Kveltz and caused outrage at this season's outings by parading a series of corpulent models on the catwalk, dressed only in retro pvc hot pants, diamante accessories, and Kveltz's new invention called "Intelligent Corsetry".
The decidedly fleshy forms of the girls were held in check by the blue scintillating outlines of the latest type of force-field. Swollen thighs were free of any sign of orange-peel cellulite and instead sparkled as if covered with metallic organza. Overly rounded breasts and buttocks, clearly supported, defied gravity yet moved naturally. Designers, buyers, and fabulously wealthy watched in silent awe at this radical presentation.
After the show, Kveltz came on stage and triumphantly predicted the imminent end of Visible Pantie Line to cheers from many members of the audience.
While Johan's predicition did indeed come true, aided by the franchised manufacturing rights to "Intelligent Corsetry", it is not so clear if he had understood what would happen when fashion afficionados, including his new wife Emily, took his ideas to their ultimate conclusion.
The force field, backed up with Johan's real time modelling of virtual cloth, could perform all the important functions of a real garment and keep its wearer warm, clean, and dry. While at the same time they appear totally naked save for the largely transparent structure of the force field itself. It was also possible, by tuning various parameters, to provide support and control as needed. Worn around the clock, a sufficiently fat or growing body could be moulded into alternative shapes.
Before long, committed followers of fashion were to be seen trying to emulate the look of 18th century bustles using nothing but their own bodies. Traditional restaurants were the new place to be seen, and eating to excess the new thing to be seen doing. While the bustle fad was to pass quickly, the trend for larger and larger bodies did not.
Supported by ever more compact and more powerful versions of IC, waistlines and bustlines were to continue to grow unchecked. By the middle of the following decade personal force fields were to accound for 10% of global energy usage. The support from the force field ameliorated may of the health issues previously associated with the hyper-obese. While it was inevitable that fashion would change, in the first instance to re-introduce tradtional garments over the corsetry, and then to more modest obesity to better accentuate the shape of the clothing, it was to be some considerable time before the body shapes common before the invention of IC were to become acceptible again.
Some individuals however, including both Johan and his wife, were to become extraordinarily huge, even compared with their peers, and thus unable to move should the Intelligent Corsetry fail. The pair continue to live on an isolated farm, sustained by the substantial ongoing royalties from Johan's invention, away from the glare of the unending publicity. Tabloid rumours that Emily had become so large that she would suffocate if her IC failed have never been substantiated.