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"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan

Flesh Gun  
  A weapon that burns the skin and meat off the victim.  

It was the usual hell in the streets; a labyrinth of horror. The streets and lanes twisted and corkscrewed, crossing each other, sometimes broken through abandoned buildings, giant heaps of debris and small wastelands. They were dotted with rotting bods, alive and dead and stinking. There were cul-de-sacs where gangs lurked, fought, and swung in Sado-Mac wars that would have astonished Krafft-Ebing. We passed one blind alley where a small mob was poised for an attack, but they were all skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun.
From The Computer Connection, by Alfred Bester.
Published by Berkeley Publishing in 1974
Additional resources -

Compare to the heat ray from War of the Worlds (1898) by HG Wells, the death-ray from The World Masters (1903) by George Griffiths, the short-wave surgical knife from Boomerang (1953) by Eric Frank Russell, the ray gun from The Black Star Passes (1930) by John W. Campbell and the pencil heat ray from Brigands of the Moon (1930) by Ray Cummings.

See also the flame pistol from Invisible Ships (1931) by Harl Vincent.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Computer Connection
  More Ideas and Technology by Alfred Bester
  Tech news articles related to The Computer Connection
  Tech news articles related to works by Alfred Bester

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