I believe I read this story in the early 1990s, probably in an anthology as opposed to a magazine. (It just feels that way to me, as though it were related - at least thematically - to the surrounding stories.)

The protagonist of the story is a young man, possibly even a boy, who has been outfitted with a super-science space suit that is made of various kinds of fields. He has been trained since very young to operate this special suit, and may even have been bred for the purpose. I believe the purpose of the suit is fighting in space, and in addition to protecting him and providing life-support, the fields can be used as weapons and the suit is capable of space travel.

He doesn't make a conscious decision to engage particular weapons or systems, the combination of his training and the suit make every action he needs to take an intuitive one, and his reflexes map onto the suit's controls such that instead of instinctively blocking a punch with his arm, he will react to a force beam with an appropriately shaped field. (The latter are my own terms, for the sake of analogy; I do not know if that particular example occurs in the story.)

This part may be conflating a different story, but I recall a scene where he is captured by the enemy and they start to unpeel the various fields and remove weapons projectors and the like.

He either escapes from his enemies (in the above scenario) or is stranded in space after combat (if that's not in this story), but regardless finds himself in space far from any friendly people. After considering options, he decides to go to a relatively nearby star. I remember quite clearly that as he makes an effort to go there (some "go" impulse, like running or jumping) the star is described in a way that makes it clear he is seeing an apparent blue-shift of its light, which he does not understand.

The point that this specially-bred/-designed human boy is a combat pilot/soldier of a super-advanced suit made of energy fields without understanding basic physics is central to my memory of the story.

  • 1
    For some reason I was picturing a suit made of, like, farmers' fields. Jul 28, 2022 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


This reminds me of the novel Berserker Man (1979) by Fred Saberhagen, which I have not read all of.

But in the beginning of the novel, Michael is only 11, which certainly counts as a young man or a boy. Psychological testing has revealed that Michael is the only person who can operate humanity's ultimate weapon in the war against the Berserkers. The Berserkers are robots of many shapes and sizes, some disguised as people, some giant space battleships, and all programmed to exterminate all life in the universe. The Berserkers are winning the war, and only Michael can operate the weapons system which might defeat them and so save humanity and allied species from otherwise certain extermination. No pressure.

Michael is outfitted with a physical suit, which doesn't look much like a spacesuit or battle armor (one of the characters thinks that it looks unfortunately goofy for such an important device), because it generates many different types of invisible force fields to travel in interstellar space, protect the wearer, and attack the Berserkers.

Here is a link to all the editions of Berserker Man https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?7213 You can click on a link there to see all the covers and see if any looks familiar.

You can see here:


That there are many short stories and novels in the Berserker series, and some collections of Berserker short stories. I believe that the Berserker base in the collection Berserker Base (1985) might be the one seen in Berserker Man (1979). So if they overlap chronologically there might be some mention of Michael in Berserker Base (1985).

And that is my best guess.

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