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"Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think of as civilization."
- William Gibson

Variable Sword  
  A sword that could vary in length, and cut through anything.  

Among the various inventions which make use of a Slaver stasis field, the variable-sword was one of the more elegant. Very compact, which was very handy for the kzin who wielded it.

"I have a variable-sword," said Speaker-to-Animals. "I urge calm." The kzin stood against a curved wall. In one clawed fist he held something like an oversized jump rope handle. Ten feet from the handle, held expertly at the level of the kzin's eyes, was a small, glowing red ball. The wire which joined ball to handle was too thin to be visible, but Louis didn't doubt it was there. Protected and made rigid by a Slaver stasis field, the wire would cut through most materials including the back of Louis's crash couch.
From Ringworld, by Larry Niven.
Published by Ballantine in 1970
Additional resources -

Louis Wu, the 200 year old protagonist of this novel, considered grabbing the red ball to gain control of the weapon, but one of the other aliens had a better way to control this unruly kzin.

And what, you ask, is a kzin that you should fear it? Imagine an eight-foot tall tabby cat built like a linebacker, with paws the size of baseball gloves, with retractable claws to match.

Find out about a uniquely flexible blade: the belt sword by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Ringworld
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Ringworld
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

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