A scientist creates life and controls its conditions to accelerate its evolution. When the life becomes intelligent, he begins to pose problems to them to solve, such as making their living conditions inhospitable but giving them only certain materials to make shelter with. At the end of the story, he gets the life forms to invent some kind of shield against a nuclear bomb being deployed against him.


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A story where a scientist creates a life form that he forces to produce inventions for him is Theodore Sturgeon's "Microcosmic God." I believe this is a match because at the end Kidder demands the Neoterics create a force field to protect him.

Kidder builds a lab on an island off the east coast of the United states, and builds a controlled habitat inside it. He creates the Neoterics and then, by killing masses of them every time they disobey him, indoctrinates them to think of him as a god. They solve problems and produce devices and technologies for him: synthetic food, beamed power, etc. Kidder makes his bank rich but Conant, his banker, wants more and tries to kill Kidder by bombing the island. Kidder demands the Neoterics create a force field, and they succeed in time to protect him.

The only real difference from what you recall is that the bombs are conventional, not nuclear. (Later on the navy uses the impenetrable dome of the force field for target practice with all their advanced weapons, but they never breach it.)

You can read the story in its original published form in Astounding, April 1941 at the Internet Archive.

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    On the other hand, Kidder's technology was being used to create bombs far more powerful than anything the U.S. Armed Forces had ever seen before. Conant, the banker, was using the threat of them to try to make the country surrender to his rule. So it makes sense that robonski is remembering nuclear-class weapons being involved in the plot.
    – Lorendiac
    Dec 13, 2022 at 3:37
  • Thank you so much, @DavidW!
    – robonski
    Dec 14, 2022 at 20:14

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