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"The way you write science fiction is: you sit down at your writing machine and you open your mind to the first thought that comes through."
- Frederik Pohl

Atomic Pistol  
  Reduces the target to atomic dust.  

Tom, jerking his atomic pistol from its holster... Leveling the pistol at the mob of Selenites rushing at him and pressed the trigger. There was a sharp, spiteful spat. The leading Moon Man disappeared in a puff of white dust, his upraised shovel clattering to the ground.

Rapidly the pistol spat and the charge broke. Even the ape-brained Selenites, who seldom knew fear, could not stand in front of that pistol which caused one of their number to evaporate into thin air every time it spoke.

From Mutiny on Mercury, by Clifford Simak.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1932
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