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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Para-Beam  
  A beam of energy that paralyzes the victim.  

In the controlled future of the novel, terrifying metamen using para-beams pursue enemies of the state.

Curt skidded to a halt, staring wildly at the advancing figure of the metaman, and darted to one side.

Blue fire streamed through the air where he had stood a moment before. It swung, lifted and Curt felt his legs go numb and almost lifeless as the blue ray stabbed past him, missing him by a fraction.

...Again the blue ray sent coldness through him, slowing his reflexes and chilling his blood with the touch of paralysis and he sobbed with pain as he forced his sluggish muscles to carry his sagging weight...

Then blue fire seared him with a freezing cold and he fell into a bottomless pit of overwhelming darkness.

From The Mechanical Monarch, by E.C. Tubb.
Published by Ace Books in 1958
Additional resources -

Para-beams had originally been designed as non-lethal weapons, but in time they had evolved into something else.

"...we had to give you artificial respiration, massage the heart, keep your blood circulating and make sure your brain cells didn't deteriorate...

The para-beam can cripple a man, bring him down and render him helpless, but it's a dangerous thing to use...

Compare to the paralysis ray from Arthur Barnes' Satellite Five (1938).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mechanical Monarch
  More Ideas and Technology by E.C. Tubb
  Tech news articles related to The Mechanical Monarch
  Tech news articles related to works by E.C. Tubb

Para-Beam-related news articles:
  - Paralysis Beam From Peak Beam Systems

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