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"People ask me how I do research for my science fiction. The answer is, I never do any research. I just enjoy reading the stuff, and some of it sticks in my mind and fits into the stories."
- Frederik Pohl

Light-Sword  
  A laser tuned for use as a cutting tool.  

Conflict arises on the Ringworld, and Louis Wu has need for training received earlier in his 200 year long life.

Light-swords, laser weapons, had een used on all the worlds. Louis's training was a century old, and the war he had trained for hadn't happened after all. But the rules were too simple to forget.

The slower the swing, the deeper the cut.

From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

More rules for fighting with a light-sword may be found in the book.

This is a similar concept to the lightsaber of Star Wars fame; the earliest reference to something like this that I can find is the force-field penknife by Isaac Asimov.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld
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