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"...science fiction is sort of like a sociological genome. It's a huge range of possible futures, most of them useless; some vital. You never really know in advance."
- Peter Watts

Contact Venom  
  A poison that is absorbed through the skin.  

Very nice phrase; you get the idea instantly.

She put her hand to the door of Nikolai's apartment and died almost instantly. An assassin had smeared the door handle with contact venom.
From Twenty Evocations, by Bruce Sterling.
Published by Interzone in 1984
Additional resources -

Of course, there are lots of nasty substances that are either absorbed by the skin or react immediately - like poison ivy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Twenty Evocations
  More Ideas and Technology by Bruce Sterling
  Tech news articles related to Twenty Evocations
  Tech news articles related to works by Bruce Sterling

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