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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

Blaster  
  A device that shoots a beam of energy that destroys whatever is in its path.  

This is probably the first occurrence of this very useful sf expression. See also the first use of ray gun from The Black Star Passes (1930) by John W. Campbell.

Well it was for me that, in obedience to Hul Jok's imperative command, I was holding my Blastor pointing ahead of me; for as I blundered full upon the monstrosity it upheaved its ugly bulk—how I do not know, for I saw no legs nor did it have wings—to one edge and would have flopped down upon me, but instinctively I slid forward the catch on the tiny Blastor, and the foul thing vanished—save for a few fragments of its edges—smitten into nothingness by the vibration hurled forth from that powerful little disintegrator.
From When the Green Star Waned, by Nictzin Dyalhis.
Published by Weird Tales in 1925
Additional resources -

Heinlein uses the same word in his 1940 novella Coventry:

He checked over the list again. Enough concentrated and desiccated food and vitamin concentrate to last six months. That would give him time enough to build hothouses for hydroponics, and get his seeds started. Medical supplies- he did not expect to need those, but foresight was always best. Reference books of all sorts. A light sporting rifle- vintage: last century. His face clouded a little at this. The War Department had positively refused to sell him a portable blaster. When he had claimed the right of common social heritage, they had grudgingly provided him with the plans and specifications, and told him to build his own. Well, he would, the first spare time he got.

Compare to the violet-gun from The Brain Stealers of Mars (1936) by John W. Campbell, the stationary automatic blaster from Red Planet (1949) by Robert Heinlein, the neutron disruption blaster from The Complete Paratime (1951) by H. Beam Piper and the meteor blasters from First Contact (1945), by Murray Leinster.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from When the Green Star Waned
  More Ideas and Technology by Nictzin Dyalhis
  Tech news articles related to When the Green Star Waned
  Tech news articles related to works by Nictzin Dyalhis

Blaster-related news articles:
  - What's Another Word For The Army's Handheld Ray Guns?

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