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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Pain Ray  
  Creates pain by nerve induction.  

What could be worse than being hunted by aliens in absolute darkness?

I took a step through the darkness toward one of the corridor's doors. But in an instant I had halted, for through the darkness a buzzing sound came to me and at the same time fiery, tearing pain ran through every nerve in my body...

It was evident that our strange captors were aware in some way of every move we made in the darkness, and that the buzzing was of some pain-producing weapon of theirs. Later we were to learn that it was one that set up electrical pain-currents in the nervous system. Pain is but a sensation or electrical current in a certain nerve, and this strange weapon was one that by induction set up pain-currents of more or less intensity in every nerve in the body.

From Crashing Suns, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Popular Fiction Publishing Co. in 1928
Additional resources -

Later in the story, the following description is given:

Down the stair and into the corridor came a half-dozen great eyeless monsters who carried with them funnel-like instruments of metal that I knew were the pain-producers...
Fans will of course recall the pain box from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Crashing Suns
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to Crashing Suns
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

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