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"I do think there is a link in that in both cases, writing fiction or writing a computer program, at any given moment you're focusing on a very specific and particular thing—one word, one line of code, whatever."
- Neal Stephenson

Ferretscope  
  A counter-surveillance tool to detect the presence of listening devices.  

The woman took my arm and urged me down the corridor. I glanced back and saw Zeb silhouetted in in the portal, covering our rear. My guide paused and pushed me into an almost pitchblack alcove, then she took from the folds of her robes a small object which I took to be a pocket ferretscope, from the small dial that glowed faintly on its side. She ran it up and down and around, snapped it off and returned it to her person.

"Now you can talk," she said softly. "It's safe."

I felt a gentle touch at my sleeve. "Judith?" I whispered.

"Yes," she answered, so softly I could hardly hear her.

From If This Goes On..., by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

Compare to the eavesdropper from James Blish's 1957 novel Cities in Flight.

Thanks to Connor Lawrence for submitting this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from If This Goes On...
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to If This Goes On...
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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