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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

Flame-Pistol  
  Incinerates everything in its path.  

How do you kill a doughpot?

It’s invulnerable to bullets; nothing less than the terrific blast of a flame-pistol will kill it, and then only if the blast destroys every individual cell. It travels over the ground absorbing everything, leaving bare black soil where the ubiquitous molds spring up at once—a noisome, nightmarish creature.

Ham sprang aside as the doughpot erupted suddenly from the jungle to his right. It couldn’t absorb the transkin, of course, but to be caught in that pasty mess meant quick suffocation. He glared at it disgustedly and was sorely tempted to blast it with his flame-pistol as it slithered past at running speed. He would have, too, but the experienced Venusian frontiersman is very careful with the flame-pistol.

It has to be charged with a diamond, a cheap black one, of course, but still an item to consider. The crystal, when fired, gives up all its energy in one terrific blast that roars out like a lightning stroke for a hundred yards, incinerating everything in its path.

From Parasite Planet, by Stanley G. Weinbaum.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1935
Additional resources -

It's not cheap to use:

He snatched his flame-pistol and sent a terrific, roaring blast into the horror, a blast that incinerated tons of pasty filth and left a few small fragments crawling and feeding on the debris.

The blast also, as it usually does, shattered the barrel of the weapon. He sighed as he set about the forty-minute job of replacing it—no true Hotlander ever delays that—for the blast had cost fifteen good American dollars, ten for the cheap diamond that had exploded, and five for the barrel.

Compare to the flesh gun from The Computer Connection (1974), by Alfred Bester and the earliest references, the flame pistol from Invisible Ships (1931) by Harl Vincent.

Thanks to Winchell Chung of Project Rho for the tip on this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Parasite Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanley G. Weinbaum
  Tech news articles related to Parasite Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanley G. Weinbaum

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