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"Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think of as civilization."
- William Gibson

Matter Annihilation Ray  
  A beam that forces electrons into protons, thereby destroying ordinary matter.  

Myriad arrowed rays leapt from her black length, sparkling jets of green radiance. They converged upon the silver-armored turret from which stabbed the two defensive beams.

Brown powder swirled away from the turret - neutronic dust, matter annihiliated as such, when its electrons had been hurled into central protons by the rays.

From Twelve Hours To Live, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to the disintegrator from Garrett P. Serviss' 1898 novel Edison's Conquest of Mars and the blaster from the 1925 story When the Green Star Waned.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Twelve Hours To Live
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