I'm trying to track down a science fiction written short story that formed part of an anthology about a group of child geniuses at an institution who develop so far ahead that they end up creating a bubble around their space that is out of phase (time-wise) with the rest of the world to give themselves privacy.

Other information:

  • In English
  • Part of an anthology
  • Probably published before 1990
  • I read it as a child, and it may have been written for children
  • What I remember best is the idea that the children raced ahead of their adult mentors and invented all sorts of incredible new scientific inventions, in a highly collaborative way (with each other) ending with this bubble where they separate themselves from the rest of the world.
  • Based on Earth, I think
  • Read it in the UK
  • Help us to help you, take a look at this guide and see if you can edit in any more details – Edlothiad Feb 22 '18 at 22:58
  • Will happily look at the guide and add what I can details wise, but the link isn't working: it's a distant memory from a childhood reading science fiction, but that says it was probably printed before 1990. – Alex Hamilton Feb 22 '18 at 23:10
  • @AlexHamilton Ed meant for you to check out How to ask a good story-ID question?. Good luck. – Möoz Feb 22 '18 at 23:19
  • Thank you, will edit. – Alex Hamilton Feb 22 '18 at 23:36

"The First Men" aka "The Trap", a 1960 novelette by Howard Fast; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1960, available at the Internet Archive; full text available at Trussel's EclectiCity. It was also the answer to the old question I'm looking for a short story about super intelligent/ Telepathic children. You may have read it in one of these anthologies.

From the Wikipedia summary (emphasis added):

Fast's story is about how a group of scientists and educators, through a controlled environment, succeed in raising naturally gifted children into "man-plus"—people who possess comparatively super-human abilities. They possess unparalleled understanding of all technical subjects such as math, physics and unlock natural telepathy. They also excel at physical endeavors, such as sports and break numerous physical records.

Their controlled environment, an isolated compound in California comprising 8,000 acres (32 km2), is a government sponsored facility granted for the raising of the children. The scientists were given fifteen years, later extended by three more years and a few weeks, to experimentally raise the children. By a very early age, the children surpass their teachers' knowledge.

[. . . .]

Near the end of the fifteenth year, realizing that their experiment is about to be investigated, Jean worries what may happen to the children, now young adults, when the government discovers them. The experiment was a success—too much of a success. Not only have they raised mentally gifted people, they have given rise to a new race of super-intelligent demigods. Jean fears—correctly—that the government will react with fear and destroy the advanced super-race. The children, though incredibly advanced, are incapable of violence, even in self-defense.

Jean is able to obtain a three-year extension, and then another of a few weeks when the three years expires. In that time, the children, now able to telepathically reach the entire Earth's population, build a defense mechanism which resulted in the gray barrier Eggerton described. Jean reveals that the barrier is based on time: the Earth outside the shield is a fraction of a millisecond in the future. They can pass outside without any difficulty. And though they can also get back in, Jean doesn't disclose how this is done.

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  • I was thinking about this story fairly recently. I'd read it maybe 30 years ago, but didn't think I remembered enough detail for it to be worth posting a question. (For instance, I didn't remember what happened at the end of it.) – Lorendiac Feb 23 '18 at 1:34
  • Yes, that's the one! Thank you! – Alex Hamilton Feb 23 '18 at 23:37
  • @AlexHamilton You're welcome! You can accept my answer (if you choose to do so) by clicking on the check mark next to it. – user14111 Feb 24 '18 at 0:05

I'm reasonably certain that you're looking for a Stephen Baxter book. Which one is a little harder to pin down, because he uses the Super Intelligent Children, being rounded up and set to inventing stuff several times.

In this instance I'd be most likely to plump for Manifold Time, it's not a short story, but the bit about the "blue" children is a sub-plot which might have made it feel like one.

The book begins at the end of space and time, when the last descendants of humanity face an infinite but pointless existence. Due to proton decay the physical universe has collapsed, but some form of intelligence has survived by embedding itself into a lossless computing substrate where it can theoretically survive indefinitely. However, because there will never be new input, eventually all possible thoughts will be exhausted. Some portion of this intelligence decides that this should not have been the ultimate fate of the universe, and takes action to change the past, centering on the early 21st century. The changes come in several forms, including a message to Reid Malenfant, the appearance of super-intelligent children around the world, and the discovery of a mysterious gateway on asteroid 3753 Cruithne.

The whole Manifold series has a recurring image of a Blue Circle, which is used for different things in each book. In Time, the blue children adopt it as an emblem of their group and eventually create a bubble like the one you described to separate themselves from those trying to control them.

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