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"We are all repositories for genetically-encoded information that we're all spreading back and forth amongst each other, all the time. We're just lousy with information."
- Neal Stephenson

Paralysis Bomb  
  A device like a hand grenade that released paralyzing radiation.  

Heinlein also calls them "parabombs."

"At the middle of the watch exactly on the bell you will enter the Palace by the door where you received this. Forty paces inside, take the stair on your left; climb two flights. Proceed north fifty paces. The lighted doorway on your right leads to the Virgins' quarters, there will be a guard at this door. He will not resist you but you must use a paralysis bomb on him to give him an alibi. The cell you seek is at the far end of the central east & west corridor of the quarters. There will be a light over the door and a Virgin on guard. She is not one of us. You must disable her completely but you are forbidden to injure or kill her..."

Twenty-five feet away the guard and the doorway. He was supposed to be one of us but I took no chances. I slipped a bomb from my belt, set it by touch to minimum intensity, pulled the primer and counted off five seconds to allow for point blank range. Then I threw it and ducked back into the jog to protect myself from the rays.

I waited another five seconds and stuck my head around. The guard was slumped down on the floor...

From If This Goes On..., by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1940
Additional resources -

The same technovelgy was used in Methuselah's Children, a story written the same year.

Lazarus stopped in the archway giving into the transbelt tunnel and waited for them. "What's the trouble?' he asked easily as they came up.

"The legate--"began one. He got no further; a paralysis bomb tinkled and popped at his feet. He looked surprised as the radiations wiped all expression from his face; his mate fell across him. Lazarus waited behind a shoulder of the arch, counted seconds up to fifteen: "Number one jet fire! Number two jet fire! Number three jet fire!"-added a couple to be sure the paralyzing effect had died away. He had cut it finer than he liked. He had not ducked quite fast enough and his left foot tingled from exposure.

He then checked. The two were unconscious, no one else was in sight.

Compare to the paralysis ray from Satellite Five (1938) by Arthur K. Barnes. Also, compare to the paralyzing eye from L. Sprague de Camp's The Best Laid Scheme (1941), the paralyzing ray from Ray Cumming's Blood of the Moon (1936), the paralyzing cone from The Atomic Conquerors by Edmond Hamilton (1927) and the para-beam from EC Tubbs' Mechanical Monarch (1958).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from If This Goes On...
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to If This Goes On...
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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