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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Standish  
  A beam weapon of frightful intensity.  

Considering the fact that lasers had not yet been invented, this seems like a pretty good description of what a military-grade laser cannon might look like in 2010.

Going up to a blank wall, he manipulated an almost invisible dial set flush with it surface, swung a heavy door aside, and lifted out the Standish - a fearsome weapon. Squat, huge, and heavy, it resembled somewhat an overgrown machine rifle, but one possessing a thick, short telescope, with several opaque condensing lenses and parabolic reflectors...

He set his peculiar weapon down, unfolded its three massive legs, crouched down behind it, and threw in a switch. Dull red beams of frightful intensity shot from the reflectors and sprks, almost of lightening proportions, leaped from the shielding screen under their impact.

From Triplanetary, by E.E. 'Doc' Smith.
Published by Not known in 1934
Additional resources -

If you are interested in exotic weapon technologies, consider taking a look at the fictional neutron disruption blaster or the real-life Active Denial Technology Directed Energy Weapon.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Triplanetary
  More Ideas and Technology by E.E. 'Doc' Smith
  Tech news articles related to Triplanetary
  Tech news articles related to works by E.E. 'Doc' Smith

Standish-related news articles:
  - Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!

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