A History of the Shrink Ray - Preface
This work will delve into a piece of technology that most of the modern world now takes for granted, but nevertheless has profoundly shaped our way of life - the shrink ray. And although the number of uses cases the technology has led to mass adoption, I consider it to be one of the least understood inventions of our time. I hope to help readers fully understand the history of the technology, some of its most common uses, some of the various perspectives on the technology from those who have dedicated their lives to the study of size change, and what to expect of this technology in the future.
Before setting off on this journey, I have several colleagues to thank. First - the staff here at the Carver Size Modification Library at UCLA - Barbara Paxton, Ramon Johnson and the many grad students and volunteers who have helped me with research and research materials. Scott, Jason, Amanda, Robert, Thomas, and many more who I have not mentioned but will touch on throughout the book. Also, to the staff at Aboro Labs who provided material and financial support for the project. Of course, the numerous folks who enjoy the size change lifestyle, or are otherwise small and agreed to be interviewed. Without your personal stories, this book could never have come together.
Most of all, thank you for my family for toleration me over the past several years as I've put this book together. My wife Rachel, dean of students at USC, and my two daughters, Sam and Alyy, who allowed me to be reduced to various staged of shrinking for research on the book, and ensured that I was fed, clothed and otherwise well cared for. The perspective helped me, I believe, to better understand the many millions of people across the globe today who have been reduced in size, for whatever reason, and to be a better advocate for the rights of shrunken people. In total I spent nearly two years at various stages of size reduction for research on this book, and still do shrink occasionally both for research and leisure. Shrinking, as a result of this work, has become an incredible passion of mine.
This book has been written in encapsulated chapters of short stories - some of them span several chapters, but otherwise help to tell the story of the shrink ray in bite-sized snippets, and are meant to develop a narrative for the reader. We want to cover reveal a little more at a time as we pull the covers away at the early developments of the shrink ray, the way public perception has changed, and examples of how the technology has come to be used (both for good and for ill) and where it is expected to go from here.
And with that, let's go all the way back to the beginning. To a sweltering summer day in a science lab at Arizona State University in 2024, following the two researchers who started it all - associate professor Charlie Donaldson and his student assistant, Maggie Carver.