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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Stun Pistol  
  A hand-held device that causes unconsciousness.  

A hand-weapon flashed -

To Bayta, consciousness returned sluggishly, but without the "Where am I?" sensation. She remembered clearly the odd old man who called himself emperor, and the other men who waited outside. The arthritic tingle in her finger joints meant a stun pistol.

From Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1952
Additional resources -

Compare to the paralysis ray from Arthur K. Barnes' 1938 novel Satellite Five.

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