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"None of us, no matter what continent or island or ice cap, asked to be born in the first place, and that even somebody as old as I am, which is 80, only just got here."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Reason Hypervelocity Railgun  
  Multichamber weapon accelerates tiny splinters of metal.  

Fisheye is up on his knees now and has torn away the canopy and space blanket that have covered him until this point. In one hand he is holding a long device a couple of inches in diameter, which is the source of the whirring noise. It is a circular bundle of parallel tubes about pencil-sized and a couple of feet long, like a miniaturized Gatling gun. It whirs around so quickly that the individual tubes are difficult to make out... The device is attached to a wrist-thick bundle of black tubes and cables that snake down into the large suitcase... The suitcase has a built-in color monitor screen with graphics giving information about the status of the weapon system...

"See, I told you they'd listen to Reason," Fisheye says, shutting down the whirling gun.

"...See, it fires these teeny little metal splinters. They go real fast - more energy than a rifle bullet. Depleted uranium."

From Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam in 1992
Additional resources -

This device is a high-tech upgrade to the needle pipe described in Ray Cummings 1928 novel Beyond the Stars. David Gerrold wrote about something similar in his War Against the Chtorr novels.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Snow Crash
  More Ideas and Technology by Neal Stephenson
  Tech news articles related to Snow Crash
  Tech news articles related to works by Neal Stephenson

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