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"[Science fiction] has become big business, where books are merchandised and promoted and distributed and placed on sale like slabs of bacon or cans of soup."
- Frederik Pohl

Numbitol  
  You guessed it, a topical anesthetic.  

Eventually the armor was cut loose and his arm smeared with Numbitol. The stewards helped him into a powder-blue uniform, red sash, gold braid, epaulettes; all wrinkled and crushed, but better than monofiber overalls. The stiff jacket hurt his arm despite the anesthetic until he found that he could rest his forearm on the pistol butt.
From The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Simon & Schuster in 1974
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