Dictionary of Weapon Terms in Science Fiction
(Technovelgy items at top: skip down to News)


Author (Publication Date)

Abbreviation for "atomic bomb".

Anson MacDonald (1941)
Aerial Dynamite Ships
Using airplanes to drop explosives during war.

Arthur Bird (1899)
Aerial Navies
Use of vast numbers of air-ships (planes) to overwhelm land defenses.

George Griffith (1903)
Aether Cannon
A hand-held energy weapon.

Chris Wooding (2006)
Fight invasion from above with an analogous method to mining the surface of the sea.

Edmond Hamilton (1939)
Air-to-Surface Missile - first use of concept
Very early description of a projectile fired from an airship into a surface target.

George Griffith (1893)
AM-280 Needle Rifle
Device shoots a stream of steel needles.

David Gerrold (1983)
Amphibious Skimmer
Amphibious drone with blades.

Chris Wooding (2006)
Android Safety Mechanism
A device that temporarily incapacitates an android.

Philip K. Dick (1968)
Angel Teeth
Essentially a spear dropped from a great height (or from orbit) with a guidance system.

Daniel Suarez (2010)
Annihilator Beam
A deadly ray that literally dissolved matter!

L.F. Stone (1931)
Assassin Bird - genetically engineered
A bird genetically engineered to accept instructions on how to kill.

Thomas A. Easton (1990)
A handheld device that sprays atomic fire.

Edmond Hamilton (1940)
Atomic Automatic
Fires a special, rocket-like bullet.

Jack West (1940)
Atomic Blast Weapon
Reduces the target to atoms.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1940)
Atomic Bomb - very early reference
A weapon that uses an atomic chain reaction as an explosive force.

H.G. Wells (1914)
Atomic Energy - very early reference.
Splitting the atom to create a destructive force.

Robert Cromie (1895)
Atomic Explosive
A handheld bomb that melted its way into an armored door, then detonated.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1938)
Atomic Pistol
Reduces the target to atomic dust.

Clifford Simak (1932)
Atomic Shell
A nuclear munition, fired from a cannon.

Philip Nowlan (w/D. Calkins) (1929)
Automatic Gun - targets without human intervention
A sentry gun that could target and decide to fire without any human intervention.

Michael Crichton (1969)
Autonomic Plow
A set of farm implements able to combine and perform as a weapon.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Autonomous Assassination Drone
A flying UAV that is self-guided to a target, destroys the target, and is capable of destroying itself after mission completion.

Daniel Suarez (2012)
Ballisticules - nanomachines throw their weight around
Nanotechnology devices that throw their weight around.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
Banning Gun
Shoots a pencil heat ray.

Ray Cummings (1938)
A handheld ray gun.

Edmond Hamilton (1938)
Bee Zapper - Star Wars for bugs
A laser-based insect remover.

David Brin (1990)
Belt Sword - bendable weapon
A piece of very thin material sewn between the two leather sides of a belt.

William Gibson (1999)
Larry Niven (1985)
Bethé blasters
Powerful enough to destroy a flying city.

James Blish (1957)
Biological Warfare - first use of the concept in fiction
The use of microorganisms to defeat an enemy; this is the first reference in science fiction that I can find to this concept.

H.G. Wells (1898)
Black Smoke - run for your lives!
A smoke or vapor dispensed in canisters.

H.G. Wells (1898)
Blackout Gas
Cuts input from the optic nerve.

Harry Harrison (1970)
Blast Rifle
A gun that creates a short-range energy blast.

Frank Belknap Long, Jr. (1937)
Blaster - a deadly energy weapon.
A device that shoots a beam of energy that destroys whatever is in its path.

Nictzin Dyalhis (1925)
A scorching beam weapon

Kurt von Rachen (1941)
Blue Beam
A pitiless pale blue beam of death!

Edmond Hamilton (1931)
Blue Ray of Death
A ray that reduces an organic being to ash instantly.

Edmond Hamilton (1926)
An highly advanced combat tank controlled by a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence.

Keith Laumer (1960)
Anti-underground bomb shelter ordinance.

Philip K. Dick (1955)
A device that homed in on a person's brain wave pattern; a very specific assassination device.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Bubble-Gum Pylon
Device used to capture entire vehicles in car chases.

Greg Bear (2007)
Cannibal Grass
Genetically engineered grass that acts as a defense layer for a home.

Thomas A. Easton (1990)
Cephalotropic Dart
A slim, short-range device that homes in on the brain wave pattern of the target.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Chain Gun - fires chains
Device fires lengths of steel chain.

William Gibson (1999)
Cholinesterase-Destroying Gas
Horrific anti-personnel poison.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Chunker - non-violent weapon
A device that fires small cubes of rubber; a non-lethal form of riot control.

William Gibson (1993)
Civic Notification Distorter - bit-rot weaponry
A device that subtly damages databases full of government information.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
Cold Ray
A device that pulled warmth from anything it was aimed at.

Edmond Hamilton (1927)
Puts a cloud of extreme cold around the target.

Philip K. Dick (1955)
Combat Wasp - bandolier of munitions
Drone craft able to carry and direct a variety of submunitions.

Peter F. Hamilton (1996)
Concentrated Light - predicts the laser
Beam of powerfully concentrated light pressure.

Nat Schachner (1937)
Contact Venom
A poison that is absorbed through the skin.

Bruce Sterling (1984)
Controllable Drone Army
Darknet sorcerer uses gestures to control a network of drone servants.

Daniel Suarez (2009)
Conversion Gun
The ray converts the heat in an object to light.

Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr. (1940)
Cookie-Cutters - bomblets in your bloodstream
Very small (corpuscle-sized) devices that can enter the blood stream and destroy an enemy from within.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
Bouncing, explosive mines.

Philip E. High (1968)
Crysknife - knife from a sandworm's tooth
A knife blade ground from the tooth of a giant sandworm of Dune.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Darkness Bomb - infra-infra-infra fluorescence!
A small bulb containing a vapor that causes darkness to occur.

John W. Campbell (1934)
Death Projector
Wide angle Ray of death!

M.L. Staley (1930)
Ravening pale beams of light used in space battles.

Edmond Hamilton (1928)
A tiny implanted explosive capsule can be activated remotely.

Edmond Hamilton (1940)
A thin ray of electric light that melts flesh away from the bone.

George Griffith (1903)
De-atomizing Ray - a disintegration beam
Beam of energy causes matter to fly apart.

Edmond Hamilton (1928)
Decay Ray
A mysterious ray that seems to hasten Time for whatever it illuminates.

- Marius (1928)
Demagnitizing Ray
A beam of radiation that makes even the strongest steel as brittle as chalk.

George Griffith (1911)
A device that causes objects to burst into molecular pieces.

Garrett P. Serviss (1898)
Disintegrator Plate Ray
Ray cuts through metal like butter.

Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat) (1931)
Display-Induced Epileptic Seizure - you looked, you looked
A computer program that flashes a computer display to induce an epileptic seizure in the user.

John Varley (1984)
Disrupter Ray (Molecule Disrupter)
Atoms of materials no longer adhere to each other.

Henri Dahl Juve (1929)
Disruptor Bomb
A bomb with a very special purpose; when detonated in space, it makes it impossible to detect the center of the explosion from the dispersion of the fragments.

Robert Silverberg (1969)
Disruptor Tube (Disruptor Ray) - pale beam of destruction
A device that interrupted the very bonds between atoms.

Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat) (1931)
Electric Gun (Mass Driver)
A device that used electromagnetic energy to accelerated capsules into orbit.

John Munro (1897)
Electric Machine Gun (Railgun) - electromagnetic acceleration
A device that accelerates small projectiles magnetically using a strong electric current.

John W. Campbell (1933)
Electric Rifle - Tom Swift's weapon of choice
A device that shoots an electrical charge.

Victor Appleton (1911)
Electrify the Rail - repel boarders!
Use of substantial electrical charge applied to outer hull to repel potential boarders.

Jules Verne (1875)
Electro-Automatic Pistol
Circular, pocket-sized weapon.

Manly Wade Wellman (1940)
Fired by an electro-gun.

Nat Schachner (1932)
It shoots electro-bullets.

Nat Schachner (1932)
Energy Weapon
A device that fires pure energy, used as a weapon.

John W. Campbell (1934)
Device projects destructive power.

Jack Vance (1967)
Epileptigenic Ray
Ray causes uncontrollable spasms in human subjects.

Anson MacDonald (1941)
Family Atomics
Noble houses had their own atomic weapons.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Fan Ray
A protective ray screen in the shape of a cone.

Frank Phillips (1929)
Filterable Virus
A special virus that is instantly carcinomatous.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
Flame Disintegrator
Ravening flames from a hand-held device.

Nat Schachner (Astounding)
Flame Pistol
A hand-held weapon that incinerates opponents.

Harl Vincent (1931)
Flame Projector
Handheld device shoots flame.

Harl Vincent (1932)
Flesh Gun
A weapon that burns the skin and meat off the victim.

Alfred Bester (1974)
Flying Crowbars - speed kills
Kinetic energy weapons deployed from space.

Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle) (1985)
Force Pencil
Device straps to forearm, projects a force beam.

Fritz Leiber (1943)
Force-Field Penknife - origin of the Lightsaber?
A pocket-sized knife, the blade of which is a force-field.

Isaac Asimov (1951)
A large, hand-held spear of force.

Philip Nowlan (w/D. Calkins) (1929)
Fractal Knife - more cutting surface
The blade uses a fractal geometry to increase its cutting surface.

William Gibson (1993)
An 'autopropulsive projectile'.

Jules Verne (1896)
Garbage-can Banger
An elaborate noise-based weapon.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
Projectiles driven by electromagnetic forces.

Harry Harrison (1970)
Glass Pistol
A clear glass gun that fires poisoned splinters.

Stanley G. Weinbaum (1934)
Golden Ray of Synchronized Vibrations
Disrupts matter by hurling electrons out of their energy states and scattering them.

Nat Schachner (1936)
Gom Jabbar
A needle with deadly poison, used to test for humans.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Guided Missile Control Station
An orbital missile base.

Robert Heinlein (1951)
Hammer - weapon of AIs
Flying blunt trauma weapon remote-controlled by an artificially intelligent computer.

Philip K. Dick (1960)
Hands Free Helmet - chin up
The helmet of a powered suit has controls activated by head movements.

Robert Heinlein (1959)
Heat Ray - concept of the laser
First use of what appears to be a laser weapon.

H.G. Wells (1898)
Heat-Removing Staff
Device absorbs all heat from its target.

Cordwainer Smith (1965)
High-Voltage Cuffs - Captain Nemo likes
Metallic shirt-sleeve cuffs capable of carrying a charge.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
A device fired from a gun that ends the life of a citizen, based on the color of their palm flower.

William Nolan (w/G.C. Johnson) (1967)
Hunter-seeker - floats like a butterfly…
An assassination device that floats in mid-air; kills by entering the body and following nerve pathways to vital organs.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Hunting Robe - a very thin hunting dog
A very thin, furry hunter that captures by constriction.

Clifford Simak (1961)
Hypnosis Ray
Eases the words of dictators into the minds of the credulous.

Eric Frank Russell (1941)
Ice Dart - shot with an icicle
A variation on an old locked door mystery idea.

Bart Kosko (1987)
Invisibility - now you see it -
The idea that it is possible to make a person invisible using some sort of optical technology to alter the body.

H.G. Wells (1897)
Ion Cannon
Fires blasts of charged particles.

George Lucas (1976)
Joystick Controls w/Remote Display
A fire-by-wire remote-controlled weapon system.

H.G. Wells (1903)
Kamikaze Andy - not Threepio
An android that is designed as an assassination weapon.

William Shatner (1989)
Knife Missile
A sharp-edged weapon that can maneuver in space.

Iain M Banks (1990)
Kzinti Lesson - Propulsion As Weapon
The power of a craft's means of propulsion repurposed as an offensive weapon.

Larry Niven (1966)
Laser Finger
Special powered suit add-on makes you even quicker on the draw.

Jack C. Haldeman (1974)
Laser Rifle - earliest use of term
A laser weapon shaped (and fired) like a traditional rifle.

Poul Anderson (1966)
Laser-Induced Plasma
Shoots lightning from your fingertips.

Daniel Suarez (2009)
Lasgun - laser weapon
A continuous-wave laser projector; can be used as a weapon or as a cutting tool.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Device emits an energy beam.

Philip K. Dick (1954)
Standard blaster pistol with terrifying power.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1934)
Leyden Ball - grandfather of the taser
Device for hunting underwater; transfers a powerful electrical charge to the prey.

Jules Verne (1875)
Lightsaber - the original light saber
A sword the blade of which is formed by a beam of visible light which cuts like a laser.

George Lucas (1976)
Light-Sword - not an epee
A laser tuned for use as a cutting tool.

Larry Niven (1970)
Loitering Micro-Missile
A small missile that does not need line-of-sight and can move at a slow pace until it finds its target.

Philip E. High (1968)
Loogie Gun - can't we have nonviolent AND sanitary?
A non-violent weapon that shoots a gooey mass to immobilize a person judged to have criminal or violent intent.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
Magnetic Flame Gun
Device shoots charged positive nuclei.

Clyde Wilson (1938)
Magnetic Projector
Projects a vortex of magnetic force.

John W. Campbell (1976)
Magnetic Ram
A device that fires pulses of magnetic energy.

Chris Wooding (2006)
Magnetic Ray
A powerful magnetic beam.

Jim Vanny (1931)
Magnetic Shell
A munition that is powerfully attracted to ferrous ships.

Frank Stockton (1897)
Mass Detector
Hunting aid.

Robert Silverberg (1969)
Matter Annihilation Ray
A beam that forces electrons into protons, thereby destroying ordinary matter.

Jack Williamson (1931)
Maula Pistol
A spring-loaded projectile device.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Mechanical Cobra - slither and destroy
An assassination device; senses brain waves to find its victim.

Roger Zelazny (1967)
Mercy Rifle
Device fired slivers of anesthetic as darts.

Larry Niven (1968)
Metal BIrds
Surveillance robots that carried weapons, in addition to using their metal bodies.

Philip K. Dick (1960)
Microwave Pistol
Device designed to cause internal injury.

Peter Watts (2006)
Minovsky Particles
A custom-generated subatomic particle with many technological applications.

Yoshiyuki Tomino (1979)
Mobile Suit
A giant (typically 18 meters tall) humanoid-shaped armored combat vehicle.

Yoshiyuki Tomino (1979)
Motor Torpedo
A terrestrial torpedo, driven by ion beams.

Jack Williamson (1931)
Multifunction Gun
Offers a selection of lethal and non-lethal alternatives.

William Nolan (w/G.C. Johnson) (1967)
N-e (Needle-eyeification) Weapon - absolute positioning precision
A class of weapons that had the most precise effect imaginable.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
A device that burns out neural connections.

Alan Dean Foster (2010)
Needle Beam Gat
A thin disintegrator beam.

J. Harvey Haggard (1936)
Needle Gun
A weapon that fires thin slivers of metal.

Charles Cloukey (1931)
Needle Pipe - needle gun
A device that could project slivers of metal at near light speed.

Ray Cummings (1928)
Small palm-sized weapon.

Isaac Asimov (1957)
Very thin beam of destruction.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1934)
Negrian Death Ray
A ray that causes the cessation of life processes.

John W. Campbell (1932)
Nerve Machine
A device that delivers pure pain via neural currents.

Harry Harrison (1970)
Neuronic Whip - it delivers pain
A weapon that stimulated the nerve endings to cause extreme discomfort.

Isaac Asimov (1951)
Neutron Disruption Blaster
Beam pistol which splits neutrons into protons and electrons, releasing enormous energy.

H. Beam Piper (1951)
Orbital Weapon Lancet (OWL) - watch the skies
A kinetic energy weapon placed in Earth orbit.

Greg Bear (2007)
Pain Ray - pain by nerve induction.
Creates pain by nerve induction.

Edmond Hamilton (1928)
Paralysis Bomb
A device like a hand grenade that released paralyzing radiation.

Robert Heinlein (1940)
Paralysis Ray - very early use
A special ray that produces paralysis.

Arthur K. Barnes (1938)
Paralyzing Blast
A red Ray of light that freezes those it falls upon.

Ray Cummings (1931)
Paralyzing Cone
A device that paralyzes the muscles.

Edmond Hamilton (1927)
Paralyzing Gun
Renders senseless any human in its path.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1940)
Paralyzing Ray - early use
Stops body motions.

Ray Cummings (1930)
Paralyzing Ray (Bolar Current)
A beam that forces a person to remain rooted to a particular spot.

Ray Cummings (1936)
Pencil Beam
A thin tube-like laser beam weapon.

Philip K. Dick (1960)
Pencil Heat Ray - narrow beam
An offensive, man-portable heat ray.

Ray Cummings (1930)
Pentavalent Nitrogen - most powerful chemical explosive.
A high explosive formed from nitrogen.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1931)
Device secured to a person that ensures compliant behavior by threat of force.

Chris Wooding (2006)
Philips Squeeze Gun
A handheld railgun

Richard Morgan (2003)
Thimble-sized photonuclear bomb.

Cordwainer Smith (1953)
Planet Buster
A bomb so powerful it could destroy a planet.

Kendall Foster Crossen (1953)
Planet-Busting Bomb - destroy a planet
A munition with sufficient power to destroy an entire planet.

J.J. Ferrat (1956)
Holds a prisoner motionless.

Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth) (1952)
Poison Tongue Dart - just squeeze
Weapon surgically implanted in the tongue.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
Poison-Bearing Invisible Glove - let's shake on it
Membranous apparel for the hands, used to dispense poisons.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Polaron Beam
A unique beam of energy that scatters some of its light at right angles to the direction of propagation.

Arthur C. Clarke (1951)
Power Holster
Puts the sidearm right in your hand.

Harry Harrison (1960)
A directed energy weapon.

David Drake (1979)
Project X
A device that produces sound rays that are intolerable to living things.

Ayn Rand (1957)
Protolectric Gun
Fires twin beams of protons and electrons.

John W. Campbell (1932)
Proton Pack - don't cross the streams
The business end of a mobile particle accelerator.

Harold Ramis (1984)
Proton Pistol (Proton Beam) - beams of fury
A device that unleashed a 'protonic storm' of energy.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1937)
Radio-Dirigible Torpedo
A drone missile that is controlled remotely by an operator.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1934)
Radium Salt - assassin's choice
Radioactive materials used as an assassination weapon.

Edmond Hamilton (1938)
Ray gun
A weapon that projects a beam of destructive force.

Victor Rousseau (1917)
Ray Gun (Handheld)
A weapon shaped like a handgun that shoots rays of energy.

John W. Campbell (1930)
An early version of the raygun.

Harl Vincent (1929)
Autonomous motorcycle weapons platform.

Daniel Suarez (2009)
Surgically implanted blades under the fingernails.

William Gibson (1984)
Reason Hypervelocity Railgun
Multichamber weapon accelerates tiny splinters of metal.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
Remotely Operated Auto-targeting Gun (ROAG) - I see you
A weapon able to pick out its own targets; it's action can be remotely initiated.

Greg Bear (2007)
Right Angle Projectile
A missile that turns at right angles after being fired.

Philip E. High (1966)
Robot Gun
An automated gun; typically used for sentry duty.

Alan Dean Foster (1986)
Robot Interception Aerial Mines
Loitering explosives overhead.

Philip K. Dick (1956)
Rocket Gun
In essence, a bazooka.

Philip Frances Nowlan (1928)
In a fight, it is used in a manner similar to a sword and a flamethrower.

Gordon R. Dickson (1969)
Rod of Wrath - a light sabreur
A sword made of light.

Fritz Leiber (1943)
Roving Bomb - RC weaponry
Special zero-gee guided bomb.

Manly Wade Wellman (1941)
Rust Ray Pistol
Makes the hardest steel or iron crumbly.

Manly Wade Wellman (1944)
Satellite Ion Cannon
Orbiting station armed with a particle beam weapon, used for surgical tactical strikes.

Westwood Games (1995)
An acoustic weapon.

Harry Harrison (1970)
Seed Bomb
A tiny explosive that can be embedded under the skin.

Philip K. Dick (1974)
Self-Guided Rocket Bullets
A rifle made for airless environments shoots rocket bullets.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1961)
Self-Propelled Road Mine
A small, lightweight mine able to travel at highway speeds; guides itself to a marked target.

Michael Crichton (1985)
A hand-held device that literally scrambles the brains of the victim.

Jack Vance (1954)
Sheep Dip Isolator
A non-lethal malodorant weapon.

Philip K. Dick (1965)
Shigawire - high tensile strength wire
A very fine wire, used as a recording medium (among other things).

Frank Herbert (1965)
Knock out stick.

Miles J. Breuer (1932)
Sick Stick - instant nausea
Baton that induces vomiting upon contact.

Steven Spielberg (2002)
Skullgun - cock cranium and fire
A pistol that is concealed in your cranium.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
An automated assassination device with a keen sense of smell.

William Gibson (1986)
Slaver Disintegrator - ultimate plasma arc tool
Sometimes used as a digging tool.

Larry Niven (1970)
Sliver Gun
A firearm that shoots fine darts.

Margaret St. Clair (1953)
Slow Gun - past defenses
Device shoots slow projectiles that use neurotoxin.

Charles Stross (2003)
Slow Pellet Stunner
A projectile device that throws darts in a manner calculated to get past a force shield.

Frank Herbert (1965)
Smart Bullet - self-guided microshell
Really a tiny missile capable of identifying and following a person.

Michael Crichton (1985)
Soft Weapon
A device that changes its shape to alter its function.

Larry Niven (1967)
Solar Radiant Energy Weapon
The device absorbs solar rays and then emits a powerful, coherent ray.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1936)
A unique gun that is part of the shooter.

Steve Perry (1985)
Spring-Rifle - just a sliver
Projectile weapon designed to be resistant to countermeasures.

Gordon R. Dickson (1960)
Standish - a mean beam of energy
A beam weapon of frightful intensity.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1934)
Stationary Automatic Blaster
An automated defensive blaster.

Robert Heinlein (1949)
Steam Rifle - a cup of water
A gun that propels projectiles with steam.

Piers Anthony (1968)
Stiletto Beam - mysterious beam in vacuum
A beam of molten metal, projected electromagnetically.

Arthur C. Clarke (1955)
Stone Burner
Atomic weapon which burrows deep into a planet; its radiation also attacks selected nerve tissues.

Frank Herbert (1969)
Stun Pistol
A hand-held device that causes unconsciousness.

Isaac Asimov (1952)
Stunner - freeze!
A non-lethal weapon; typically used like a firearm but only renders its victim unconscious.

S.D. Gottesman (1941)
Frank Herbert (1972)
Subtle Knife - cut a hole to different worlds
A knife able to cut through any material, and even cut through into different worlds.

Philip Pullman (1997)
Suicide Tooth
A false tooth containing poison.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
Suit-Shield Fabric - protective mesh
A kind of mesh fabric that could absorb energy bolts.

Philip K. Dick (1954)
A slicing ray of death!

Nat Schachner (1932)
An air-cushioned armored combat vehicle powered by a fusion generator.

David Drake (1979)
Super-Weapon - first use of term
A generic term for an advanced destructive device or technology.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1939)
Sustained Atomic Reaction
The idea that a sustained reaction could lead to an atomic explosion.

H.G. Wells (1914)
Synchrophased Power Beams
Focuses energy beams from multiple planets on the same object.

Murray Leinster (1947)
Talking Bomb - psych warfare
A psychological warfare weapon that talks to the enemy.

Robert Heinlein (1959)
Strong webbing in a tiny capsule, it expands to a net, capturing a suspect.

William Nolan (w/G.C. Johnson) (1967)
Thermodyne Heat Ray
Device focuses, and projects, a heat beam.

Ray Cummings (1942)
Thought-Screen - stop alien mind control
A device that prevents other people from taking over control of your thoughts and mind.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1942)
Time-Warping Construct
A device that appears to cause alternate worlds or paraworld.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
A handheld beam weapon.

W.F. Wallace (1952)
Vandelite Gun
An artillery device that freezes the explosive material for firing so it doesn't explode in the gun when it fires.

George Griffith (1903)
Vapor Charge
A bullet that discharges gas.

William Nolan (w/G.C. Johnson) (1967)
Variable Sword - better than Ginsu
A sword that could vary in length, and cut through anything.

Larry Niven (1970)
Vibroblade - not messy
A knife-like weapon.

Robert Heinlein (1940)
Violet-Gun (Ion Gun)
Ultra-violet fury!

John W. Campbell (1936)
Vortex Gun
A device that projects whirling fields of atomic instability.

Jack Williamson (1939)
Walking Fort - a fort with robotic legs
A biomimetic fort based on the model of a centipede.

Jack Vance (1964)
Wandering Mine
A landmine with legs.

Maureen F. McHugh (1994)
War-Balloon (Navigable Aerostat)
Enormous dirigible airships used for war.

George Griffith (1893)
Weapon Sound Tracker - I hear you
Locate an enemy by the sound of gunfire.

Greg Bear (2007)
Wire Gun
Shoots a length of constricting wire.

Ray Cummings (1936)
Wunderland Treatymaker - peace through power mining
A weapon based on a power mining technique - a bit more advanced than a shovel.

Larry Niven (1980)
Zeroentropy Spray - as close to 0 degrees
A method of reducing the disorder of an object as much as possible, reducing the temperature close to absolute zero.

Fritz Leiber (1943)
Inflicts a fatal frostbite on living tissue.

Clark Ashton Smith (1931)

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'the real border was defended by ...a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats...' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 2/24/2024 )
Bullet Steers Itself! The Advanced Low-Cost Munitions Ordnance ALaMO
'You've heard of a bullet that has your name on it.' - Michael Crichton, 1985.
(re: Michael Crichton, 12/11/2023 )
Russians Think US Is Weaponizing Asteroids
(re: Philip Nowlan and D. Calkins, 11/29/2023 )
Drone Bombings In Moscow Foreseen 100 Years Ago
'Once the target is confirmed, it uses an IR laser to send a coded signal back to the parent, clearing it to attack.' - Daniel Suarez, 2012.
(re: Daniel Suarez, 5/25/2023 )
TM-62 Loitering Ground Landmine
Runaway movie comes to life!
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/5/2023 )
LANIUS Loitering Drone Munition Scouts And Maps
'... micro-missiles proceeding at walking pace.' - Philip E. High, 1968.
(re: Philip E. High, 11/5/2022 )
Israel Deploys Sharp Shooter AI-powered Robot Guns
'They lock onto the target... and do the actual shooting once the target is identified.' - Michael Crichton, 1980.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 10/23/2022 )
Drone Loiter Munitions Now Available
'...a series of airborne loiter-drones posted on indefinite guard above.' Iain M. Banks, 2004.
(re: Philip E. High, 10/21/2022 )
Anduril Lattice Anvil Counter Drone System
'These drones are autonomous-programmed to find and kill their victim, and then to self-destruct.' - Daniel Suarez, 2012
(re: Daniel Suarez, 1/19/2022 )
SPECTER Electroshock Round Fireable From Shotgun
'...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little cases of glass.' - Jules Verne, 1875.
(re: Jules Verne, 7/13/2020 )
Electric Lasso Gives Police Options
'The blast of silver threads enveloped her...' Nolan and Johnson, 1967.
(re: Nolan and Johnson, 7/5/2020 )
R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...' - Iain M. Banks, 1990.
(re: Iain M. Banks, 6/15/2020 )
CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.' - Jules Verne, 1875.
(re: Jules Verne, 11/25/2019 )
HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.' - HG Wells, 1898
(re: HG Wells, 5/3/2019 )
ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.' - Poul Anderson, 1966.
(re: Poul Anderson, 8/19/2018 )
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...' - Daniel Suarez, 2012.
(re: Daniel Suarez, 7/29/2018 )
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.
(re: John Brunner, 1/21/2018 )
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 11/24/2017 )
TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
(re: 309, 8/6/2017 )
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
(re: Michael Crichton, 7/13/2017 )
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.' - Keith Laumer, 1976.
(re: Keith Laumer, 3/1/2017 )
Railguns For Surface Ships
'It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets...' - John W. Campbell, 1933.
(re: John W. Campbell, 5/21/2016 )
DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
(re: Larry Niven, 2/1/2016 )
Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 8/17/2015 )
HEL MD Laser Weapons Will Sound Like Star Wars, Star Trek
Considering how important the film's sound track is, the sounds of Star Wars weapons are not described in the original novel.
(re: Niven/Pournelle, 6/6/2015 )
What's Another Word For The Army's Handheld Ray Guns?
'I was holding my Blaster pointing ahead of me...'- Nictin, Dyalhis, 1925.
(re: Nictzin Dyalhis, 5/2/2015 )
SoSITE: US Pilots To Command DARPA Drone Army
'With a click of his pinky he brought up a pop-up menu, then selected *Kill Everyone*'- Daniel Suarez, 2009.
(re: Daniel Suarez, 4/3/2015 )
XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.
(re: Alfred Bester, 3/15/2015 )
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'- Robert Heinlein, 1959.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 2/20/2015 )
EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'- Philip E. High, 1966.
(re: Philip E. High, 12/16/2014 )
US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality. Thanks to a lot of engineers and visionaries.
(re: HG Wells, 12/12/2014 )
China's Crab Walker Robot Tank In Firing Mode
'The mechanism was to consist of eighteen segments, each equiped with a pair of legs...'- Jack Vance, 1964.
(re: Jack Vance, 9/19/2014 )
EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?
(re: Michael Crichton, 7/12/2014 )
Navy Deploys LaWS First Ship-Borne Laser
When you hear that music, you know you're in for adventure - and predictions of possible technological futures! Jonny Quest is right again.
(re: Various, 3/3/2014 )
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
(re: Various, 5/16/2013 )
Navy Shoots Down Drone, With Help From Dr. Benton Quest
Okay, so maybe it's not quite a parapower ray gun - but it works, in the real world.
(re: Various, 4/11/2013 )
DARPA's Upward Falling Payload Like Leinster's Wabbler
'The Wabbler plunged into the water... It dived swiftly... slowly, it settled downward.'- Murray Leinster, 1942.
(re: Murray Leinster, 1/15/2013 )
Arafat Poisoned With Polonium?
'"This man was poisoned with a super-powerful radium salt," Rab Crane declared...'- Edmond Hamilton, 1938.
(re: Edmond Hamilton, 11/26/2012 )
Bond's New Smart Gun In Skyfall
Didn't Judge Dredd have these in the 1970's?
(re: Various, 11/19/2012 )
Spraytect Self-Defense iPhone Case
'... the joymaker in his hand hissed and sprayed him with something...'-Frederik Pohl, 1965
(re: Frederik Pohl, 10/27/2012 )
Army Seizure Ray Inspired By Pikachu (Updated)
A deliberately-induced epileptic seizure.
(re: John Varley, 9/28/2012 )
US Special Ops Wants Paralysis Device
'I have invented a weapon, Miss Carlyle... A paralysis ray!'
(re: Arthur K. Barnes, 6/3/2012 )
Laser-Guided Smart Bullet Prototype
'Look, it's all electronic...'
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/26/2012 )
Self-Guided Bullet Accurate Over One Mile
'The back half is all solid propellant. Valves for directional control ... look, it's all electronic.'
(re: Michael Crichton, 1/30/2012 )
US Army-Branded Gaming Peripherals
Last Starfighter, your peripherals are ready now!
(re: Various, 1/13/2012 )
Switchblade Surveillance Missile
'You've heard of a bullet that has your name on it.'
(re: Michael Crichton, 10/28/2011 )
StunRay Paralyzes With Light
This weapon has been around in different forms in sf for quite a while.
(re: Michael Crichton, 4/3/2011 )
DoDAMM Autonomous Robot Sentry Gun
This gun targets and fires automatically.
(re: Michael Crichton, 12/10/2010 )
Assault Intervention Device - A Pain Ray Gun
Should this device be used in the United States?
(re: Ray Cummings, 9/22/2010 )
XM-25 'Judge Dredd' Rifle For Special Forces
According to reports, the Lawgiver may soon be seen in action in Afghanistan. Or a near real-life equivalent.
(re: Various, 5/9/2010 )
Robotic Underground Munitions
I think that if you want to destroy enemies in bunkers, you go with claws or robotic earthworms, courtesy of Philip K. Dick and Harry Harrison.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 3/20/2010 )
Anubis Tactical MAV For Time-Sensitive Fleeting Targets
It's incredible how close this science-fictional scenario is to playing out in real life.
(re: Philip E. High, 3/5/2010 )
Airborne Laser Destroys Missile
Ray gun fans, rejoice! A successful test of the Airborne Laser Testbed has been accomplished.
(re: H.G. Wells, 2/13/2010 )
Chavez: US 'Tectonic Weapon' Caused Haiti Quake
Just how much sci-fi has this guy been reading?
(re: Various, 1/25/2010 )
Thermal Laser Weapon Evolves From PHaSR
It's a long road to the phaser, but 'set it on stun' is getting closer to reality.
(re: Various, 9/27/2009 )
Hovering Crowd Control Beam
Who would think of using non-lethal beams from the air to enforce civilized behavior?
(re: Larry Niven, 8/2/2009 )
Brain Interface Weapons War Crime Immunity
DARPA has developed brain-interface devices that use special algorithms and neural signals to determine that a soldier has made a choice BEFORE he is consciously aware of it. Can a person commit a war crime without being aware of making a decision?
(re: Various, 7/31/2009 )
Multimode Directed Energy Armament System
I suppose calling this a 'ray gun' might be going too far, since I doubt it's portable. With proper miniaturization, maybe.
(re: Harold Ramis, 4/26/2009 )
Taliban Looking For Right iPhone App
In which I put together a Mullah, a iPhone and a missile-launching app.
(re: Various, 2/15/2009 )
DARPA Seeks Self-Repairing Hunter-Killers?
Not content to have effective robotic weapon systems, DARPA wants to make sure they are 'damage tolerant.'
(re: Joseph E. Kelleam, 12/16/2008 )
Energy Cannon Now On Order
These lightweight laser-based energy weapons should be able to shoot down tactical targets like surface-to-air missiles and rockets.
(re: Jack Vance, 12/11/2008 )
Nanohmics Flash Grenade And Blade
It turns out that a working prototype very similar to the UV grenades in Blade has been created.
(re: Various, 12/10/2008 )
MKV-L Multiple Kill Vehicle Video
Defensive weapon video shows successful test; video also shows the basic concept for the MKV-L.
(re: George Lucas, 12/8/2008 )
Guided Bullets By Exacto From DARPA
DARPA once again pushes the envelope in a way that was clearly foreseen in books and movies.
(re: Nolan and Johnson, 12/3/2008 )
Rocket Balls - Pentagon's Kinetic Fireball Incendiaries
This looks a lot like a diagram of the mechanical theory of heat; I want to know what happens if the walls start to close in.
(re: Philip E. High, 11/14/2008 )
Palm Pistol Defensive Firearm
Interesting little device is a pretty close analog to an Isaac Asimov device from the 1950's.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 10/29/2008 )
XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon Like Judge Dredd's
New smart gun fires rounds that detonate where you want them to, even in mid-air.
(re: Various, 10/21/2008 )
Super-Resolution Vision System Super Sniper Scope
DARPA goes sfnal in creating a sniper scope that can see through the fog of war.
(re: Various, 9/18/2008 )
Wasp Knife Kills With Cold
This weapon was developed to kill animals quickly when threatened in the wild; now, it has found its way into Britain.
(re: Various, 7/20/2008 )
'Kill Switch' Feared By Pentagon
It's a fine time to go looking for chips with embedded backdoors; didn't they see this in the movies and on TV?
(re: Various, 5/5/2008 )
Training Videogames Bought By Defense Intelligence Agency
This series of games is intended to teach analysis how to succeed in intelligence work.
(re: Frank Herbert, 4/30/2008 )
MAHEM Metal Jets Like Clarke's Stiletto Beam
This idea amazed me the first time I read about it, in Arthur C. Clarke's excellent novel 'Earthlight.'
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 4/23/2008 )
Ghostbuster Approach To Neutralizing WMD
You knew that someday it would come to this; Homeland Security calls upon the Ghostbusters.
(re: Harold Ramis, 4/21/2008 )
SWORDS Robots Pulled From Iraq For Bad Behavior
The reason that the SWORDS robot was pulled from use in Iraq is finally revealed; it appears that a new successor has been named for combat robot.
(re: Various, 4/13/2008 )
NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod Nails Perps Spidey-Style
What device catches thieves just like flies? Look out, it's the NET-2000 Shooting Net Rod. Unlike other sites, I provide two videos, one for picture, one for the correct sound.
(re: Stan Lee/Steve Ditko, 3/17/2008 )
Mosquito Device - Project X For Kids?
Is the Mosquito device a harmless way to disperse crowds of unruly teens, or is it the indiscriminate use of a sonic weapon on children?
(re: Ayn Rand, 2/13/2008 )
Navy EMRG Hypervelocity Projectiles
This weapon can even strike targets on the other side of mountains.
(re: Various, 2/3/2008 )
Giant Air Vortex Gun
You can tell the holiday season is approaching; I'm fondly remembering one of my favorite toys from the 1960's - and look, somebody made a giant version of it.
(re: Jack Williamson, 12/3/2007 )
Laser Dazzler Looked At By Canadian Forces
Are sunglasses a reasonable countermeasure for this device?
(re: Various, 11/16/2007 )
Invisible Tank Makes The Rounds (I Think)
I'm not really sure about this story, but I couldn't resist it.
(re: Ray Cummings, 10/30/2007 )
Super Soaker With Electro-Hydrodynamic Power
This prototype device could allow police to fill up their nonlethal weapons from your garden hose.
(re: Various, 8/23/2007 )
LED Incapacitator And The Minority Report Game
A bit of reader help on this one, if possible.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 8/15/2007 )
Skullcandy G.I. Headphones Not Quite Skullgun
I'm not sure if you can get this one through an airport or not.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 8/3/2007 )
TASER XREP Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation
This little device comes just 132 years after it was first conceptualized by Jules Verne.
(re: Jules Verne, 7/11/2007 )
Stink Bullets And PKD's Sheep Dip Isolator
Philip K. Dick always thinks up the ultimate version of everything.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 7/2/2007 )
SPIKE Fire-And-Forget Missile World's Smallest
If this tiny missile gets any smaller, you're going to have to see reruns of Crichton's Runaway to find out more.
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/20/2007 )
Paralysis Beam From Peak Beam Systems
It appears that the US Army is interested in developing a paralysis ray.
(re: E.C. Tubb, 2/21/2007 )
Active Denial System Heat Ray Warming Up
Raytheon finally gets this nonlethal crowd-dispersing weapon out in public view.
(re: H.G. Wells, 1/27/2007 )
HCID: Handwear Computer Input Device Combat Glove
Interesting military control glove concept under development.
(re: Various, 1/22/2007 )
Laser Gunship Prototype By 2007
The military is working hard to bring this weapon system online, hopefully in time for Cyberdyne Systems to use it.
(re: James Cameron, 10/22/2006 )
South Korean Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot
This autonomous robotic sentry gun has a choice of lethal and non-lethal rounds, and comes with voice recognition as standard equipment.
(re: Michael Crichton, 10/7/2006 )
Long Range Stunners - Again
Another long range stun weapon - actually, Jules Verne had this one first.
(re: Jules Verne, 9/13/2006 )
Saddam's Supergun And Verne's Columbiad
It appears that Impey Barbicane of the Baltimore Gun Club and Saddam Hussein had more in common that I would have thought possible.
(re: Jules Verne, 9/12/2006 )
Lethal Frisbee UAV Robots
Modular Disc-Wing (Frisbee) Urban Cruise Munitions are on their way, thanks to the USAF.
(re: Various, 9/7/2006 )
Password-Protected Bullets Wait In Their Chambers
Jeez, another password to remember. But the system has options to let you avoid 'what the heck is that password?' hell.
(re: Various, 6/27/2006 )
Cylogic Smart Avenger Runaway Project
Just don't let Gene Simmons of KISS get one of these planned smart missiles - you saw what he did with smart bullets in Runaway.
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/2/2006 )
Pulsed Energy Projectile EMPs Your Nervous System
PEPs use plasma to electromagnetically pulse your nervous system into thinking something bad is happening. And you can fine-tune it.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 2/13/2006 )
Robotic Sentry Gun From USMechatronics
Two brothers build an autonomous robotic sentry gun as a summer project.
(re: Michael Crichton, 12/6/2005 )
Military Sets PHASR On Stun
Send security down to the transporter - and don't forget the PHASR rifles.
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 11/8/2005 )
AESA Radars Used As 'Death Ray' Weapons?
The Pentagon is actively developing electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that could be used as weapons.
(re: George Griffith, 10/14/2005 )
Armed Dolphins Freed By Katrina?
Armed dolphins trained to hunt terrorists may be loose in the Gulf of Mexico, freed accidentally by Katrina.
(re: Various, 9/26/2005 )
HELLADS: Lightweight Laser Cannon
Ultra-light High Energy Liquid Lasers are coming.
(re: Niven/Pournelle, 8/25/2005 )
Lynntech Non-Lethal Weapon - Jules Verne Right Again
Under DARPA's auspices, Lynntech of College Station, Texas, is developing a non-lethal projectile with a longer range than a Taser.
(re: Jules Verne, 8/18/2005 )
Piezer - Homeland Security Orders Verne's 1875 'Leyden Ball'
DARPA is looking for an untethered electro-muscular disruption non-lethal stun weapon.
(re: Jules Verne, 8/18/2005 )
Inertial Capacitive Incapacitor: HomeSec Does Verne
With Homeland Security, Physical Optics Corporation is taking a page from nineteenth century science fiction writer Jules Verne.
(re: Jules Verne, 8/18/2005 )
Active Denial System Has Researchers Worried
The 'Sheriff' Active Denial System (ADS), due to be implemented in Iraq by 2006, has some scientists and researchers expressing concerns.
(re: H.G. Wells, 7/21/2005 )
DARPA's 'BigDog' Robot Now In Puppy Stage
The Defense Advanced Research Project Authority (DARPA) Learning Locomotion project seeks to create algorithms that help multi-legged platforms learn to walk in varied terrain. DARPA will be handing out a series of $600K-$800K research grants to teac
(re: William Gibson, 3/14/2005 )
America's Army And The Last Starfighter
America's Army, the official U.S. Army game, is an online video game that has registered about 4.7 million users. More than 30,000 people log onto the game's servers every day; thousands more play in unofficial leagues. It claims to present the most
(re: Various, 2/17/2005 )
Polymeric Nitrogen: Science Fiction Explosive
Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry have synthesised a polymeric cubic form of nitrogen where all atoms are connected with single covalent bonds, similar to carbon atoms in diamond, creating what may be the most powerful explosive e
(re: E.E. , 8/10/2004 )
MTHEL - Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser
The Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) successfully tracked and destroyed a large-caliber test rocket at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
(re: George Griffith, 6/10/2004 )
Electrolux Death Ray
"The Rolls-Royce of atomic weapons?" Maybe. Take a look at sculptor Greg Brotherton's Electrolux Death Ray, and decide for yourself.
(re: George Griffith, 5/10/2004 )
Active Denial Technology: Directed Energy Weapons
Active Denial Technology disables enemy soldiers or crowds with a painful beam of electromagnetic energy that inflicts a disabling, burning pain over the body by triggering heat receptors in the skin.
(re: William Gibson, 4/28/2004 )
VLe Provides Non-Lethal Response
The VLe handgun provides variable-lethality in the same weapon, giving law enforcement and homeowners a non-violent alternative; like Stephenson's Loogie Gun, only less icky.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 3/30/2004 )






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