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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Pain Canopy  
  Pain by nerve induction improves interrogation.  

Past cultures have used all manner of devices to induce pain - the rack, the wheel, the boot, the dental drill and a host of others. But the Hierarchy is merciful and is not pleased by mutilation. Therefore, it's priests have devised a means of producing all the same sensations of these varied tortures by direct stimulation of the nerves that transmit the sensation of pain. Thus the same results are achieved without any injury to the bodily organism, save it come from shock or convulsion. There is this further advantage - the torture need not be interrupted for fear that injury to the tissues will result in death...

A thick metallic canopy had been moved forward behind the chair. It fitted around the witch's head like a cowl. Curving flanges followed the lines of her body...

"Let the pain enter the fingers of her left hand."

From Gather Darkness, by Fritz Leiber.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
Additional resources -

See also the pain box from Frank Herbert's Dune (1965) as the pain ray from Edmond Hamilton's Crashing Suns (1928).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Gather Darkness
  More Ideas and Technology by Fritz Leiber
  Tech news articles related to Gather Darkness
  Tech news articles related to works by Fritz Leiber

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