This novel follows the adventures of John Sykes, a creative young electronics engineer who through a complete mistake accidentally discovers the Fifth Force, a long predicted but never found mechanism which makes it possible for a flying vehicle to levitate itself against gravity without using wings or rotors.
John recruits the help of two extraordinary friends— Physics professor Tony Shepard, and software engineer Judy Chen. Held together by the belief that they can use the Fifth Force to gain riches, fame and freedom, the three persevere exploring and developing the technology of Fifth Force flying vehicles. It does not come easily. To everyone's amazement, it turns out that once the principles are understood, engineering requirements practically dictate that the vehicles have to be round, and must have four round structures and bright lights underneath, embarrassingly similar to the public image of a UFO. When the great powers of the world realize the significance of this invention, a 21st century space race erupts.
Read the book to follow John’s adventures from his home laboratory, to top secret government research establishments, to the White House and on to the edges of space. Preview the book
About the author
Peter W. Shackle is an electronics engineer and professional inventor living in Palos Verdes California. He has authored 53 United States patents and is a life senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Why I wrote this novel
Theoreticians have been predicting the existence of the Fifth Force for the last thirty years. Nobody has found it yet.
I was fascinated by the concept of how the Fifth Force as predicted in theory would manifest itself if it were discovered. The amazing vision that is discovered in the story is that a flying vehicle made using the Fifth Force would have to look just like the popular concept of a UFO. In this story we follow the chain of events when John Sykes accidentally discovers the Fifth Force and unleashes world destabilizing forces.
The technology behind the story
For fifty years people have been reporting the inexplicable sight of round flying vehicles which apparently move through the sky without the use of wings or rotors. Amazingly, there has been a lot of similarity amongst some of these reports. There is no accepted physical mechanism to explain how such flying objects could work, and for this reason people have called them unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.
Nevertheless there have been scientific papers which predict that gravity could be repelled by an electric current, a mechanism which has come to be known as “The Fifth Force”. It has never been reproducibly found. Perhaps everybody seeking for it has been looking in the wrong way. If it were to exist as predicted, what would be the nature of it? A little thought and reflection brings about the conclusion that a Fifth Force flying vehicle would be most effective if it was round, it would need to have four structures of some kind underneath for stabilizing it, and when descending great distances it would be helpful to have an array of bright lights to radiatively dissipate the energy produced by descending through the gravitational field. It sounds a lot like the popular image of a UFO!
In page 3 of this website we host interviews with authors of contemporary science fiction. This issue has a discussion with Peter W. Shackle, the author of “A Disruptive Invention”.