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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Blackout Gas  
  Cuts input from the optic nerve.  

It was fascinating to watch. Blackout gas is invisible and has no odor but it does contain a chemical that acts almost instantly, bringing about a temporary but complete paralysis of the optic nerve. Within fifteen seconds everyone in the bank was blind.
From The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge, by Harry Harrison.
Published by Pyramid in 1970
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