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"it slowly dawned on me that the landscape of science is maybe what interests people a great deal in science fiction."
- Gregory Benford

Nerve Control Lines  
  Designs that take control of human nervous systems.  

It could have spent the night marking up the tableland with elled nerve control lines — he’d have to make sure he never looked directly at the ground — or it could simply be waiting for the arrival of the greater ship that had dropped it onto the planet...

Jamieson sighed with the intensity of his hope, and prepared to retreat. As he turned away, quite incidentally, accidentally, he glanced at the rock behind which he had shielded himself from possible direct fire.

Glanced at it, and saw the elled lines in it. Intricate lines, based on a profound and inhuman study of the human nervous system. Jamieson recognized them, and stiffened in horror. He thought in anguish: Where, where am I supposed to fall? Which cliff?

With a desperate will, wdth all his strength, he fought to retain his senses a moment longer. He strove to see the lines again. He saw, briefly, flashingly, five vertical and above them three lines that pointed east with their wavering ends.

The pressure built up, up, up inside him...

Technovelgy from The Rull, by A.E. van Vogt.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1948
Additional resources -

Now, from the point of view of the Rull:

...he hovered on the perimeter of the man’s defensor energies, studying the lifeboat, and pondering the possible actions the other might take against him.

Finally, with a tireless patience he examined the approaches to his own ship. At key points, he drew the lines that-could-seize-the-minds-of-men. There was satisfaction, shortly after the sun came up, in seeing the enemy “caught” and “compelled”.

Ultimately, the man succeeds in using food to prime a Pavlovian response in the Rull, eventually making his argument that the two races should make peace.

(Conditioning the Rull)

Compare to Van Goom's Gambit from Van Goom's Gambit (1966) by Victor Contoski, Display-Induced Epileptic Seizure from Press Enter (1984) by John Varley, BLIT from Blit (1988) by David Langford and the ugly T-shirt from Zero History (2010) by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Rull
  More Ideas and Technology by A.E. van Vogt
  Tech news articles related to The Rull
  Tech news articles related to works by A.E. van Vogt

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