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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Paralysis Ray  
  A special ray that produces paralysis.  

This is a very early use of this concept.

"I have invented a weapon, Miss Carlyle, that will render the monster on Satellite Five helpless!" he proclaimed dramatically. "A paralysis ray!"

Gerry was dubious. She had seen abortive attempts at paralysis rays before.

"What's it's principle?" she asked.

"The transmission of a nerve impulse along the nerve fiber is provided by local electrical currents within the fiber itself... Passage over the junction point between cells is effected by a chemical transmitter, acetylcholine...

Tommy Strike stirred.

"Old stuff, Doc. Sir Henry Dale and Professor Otto Loewi won the Nobel Prize for that discovery seventy years ago. Nineteen thirty-six, wasn't it?"

Lunde now exposed the interior of the leaden colored box... The interior showed a bewildering array of tubes and coils, all in miniature... The lens was shutterlike, similar to a camera lens...

"This, in effect," went on Professor Lunde in lecture style, "produces a neutron stream... And the penetrating neutron blast destroys the acetylcholine by adding to its atomic structure, thus making it so extremely unstable that it breaks itself up at once."

From Satellite Five, by Arthur K. Barnes.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1938
Additional resources -

Compare this to Heinlein's paralysis bomb from Methuselah's Children several years later, the paralyzing eye from L. Sprague de Camp's The Best Laid Scheme (1941), the paralyzing ray from Ray Cumming's Blood of the Moon (1936), the paralyzing cone from The Atomic Conquerors by Edmond Hamilton (1927) and the para-beam from EC Tubbs' Mechanical Monarch (1958).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Satellite Five
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur K. Barnes
  Tech news articles related to Satellite Five
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur K. Barnes

Paralysis Ray-related news articles:
  - Paralysis Ray Uses Photocontrolled Molecular Switch
  - US Special Ops Wants Paralysis Device

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