"In my mind I have gone all over the universe, which may make it less important for me to make piddling little trips... I did enjoy seeing Stonehenge. It looked exactly the way I thought it would look."
- Isaac Asimov
||Needle Beam Gat
||A thin disintegrator beam.
Remember that a "gat" is a slang term for a gun in the 1930's.
|He must warn her. Placing the crystal lantern on a table, he pushed past
the door into the murky twilight. In
his right hand he held a needle-beam
gat, drawn from a holster at his belt.
There was no use to take chances.
He gripped at the needle-beam
gat hanging in its holster. The shouts
of the green men reverberated deafeningly. Now a second and even larger
cavern loomed ahead...
The green man came forward
threateningly, preparing to throw a
sharp stone fragment, equipped with
filed spikes. Omar leveled the needle-
beam gat. When the Eolanian sprang,
a blue beam of intense light cut his
body in half. Omar turned as his ad-
versary sank to the floor, and again
screamed a warning in the native
man leaped over the body of Oolanth,
and again the needle beam spat its ray
Simultaneously the entire horde be-
gan edging in.
"Be ready to run for it!" shouted
THEN he turned and shot the bluish needle beam down along the cavern
floor. The slender ray bored into a
dome shape plastered into the rock
floor. For a moment it ate into the
stonework. Then something erupted.
A shrill whistle of escaping vapor followed a spray of rock upward. Before
the astonished natives could attack, a
mouth from the deep interior of Venus
spat up, and the expanding gas created a column of ice that reared up like
a cold flame.
"Back!" cried Omar, grasping Enid
by the arm. "It's carbon dioxide — pure
carbon dioxide. And it's been under a
Enid seemed paralyzed. She had
seen ice formed by the release of carbon dioxide under pressure in liquid
oxygen experiments. Heat was absorbed from the air, and the pure oxy-
gen became a cold liquid. She saw it,
an icy, silvery stream, trickling away
from the mounting column of ice to
run across the face of the dead Oolanth.
The blue disintegrator beam traveled
farther along the cavern floor, cutting
crazy furrows to other mouths of cement, which shrieked with escaping
gases and spouted up other tongues of
(From Moon Crystals)
|From Moon Crystals,
by J. Harvey Haggard.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1936
Additional resources -
Compare to the needle-gun from Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter by Isaac Asimov (1957) and needle gun from Slacker's Paradise by Malcom Jameson (1941) and needle pipe from Beyond the Stars by Ray Cummings (1928).
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