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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Stunner  
  A non-lethal weapon; typically used like a firearm but only renders its victim unconscious.  

In the flashing instant Hawat had time to see they were Sardaukar, hard faces set in battle frenzy, that they were unshielded and each carried a knife in one hand, a stunner in the other.
From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

As far as I know, the first person to use "stunner" in an sf story was C.M. Kornbluth in his 1941 story Fire-Power. I don't have a quote - anyone?

Larry Niven adds one to his copseye surveillance device from Cloak of Anarchy:

For the first time ever, I looked into a copseye. It was impressively simple. I picked out the stunner by its parabolic reflector, the cameras, and a toroidal coil that had to be part of the floater device.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

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