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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

Pencil Heat Ray  
  An offensive, man-portable heat ray.  

"Back, Gregg! Get back!" I could barely hear his whisper. We crouched as far back into the doorway as we could get. I was armed. My official permit for the carrying of the pencil heat ray allowed me always to have it with me. I drew it now. But there was nothing to shoot at...

"...The figure was making off! My pencil ray was in my hand and I pressed its switch. The tiny heat ray stabbed through the air, but I missed... perhaps my pencil ray had seared his arm.

From Brigands of the Moon, by Ray Cummings.
Published by Astounding Stories of Super Science in 1930
Additional resources -

Very early use of the concept of a pocket-sized ray gun.

Nat Schachner used this term in his 1932 story Pirates of the Gorm:

A hand moved slowly around the slit—a hand that held a pencil-ray. Even in the dim illumination, Grant noted the queer spatulate fingers. A Ganymedan! In the entire solar system only they had those strange appendages.

Pemberton catapulted out of his berth like a flash. Not a moment too soon, either. A pale blue beam slithered across the blackness, impinged upon the pillow where his head had lain only a moment before. The air-cushion disintegrated into smoldering dust. Grant's weapon spat viciously. A hail of tiny bullets rattled against the panel, and exploded, each in a puffball of flame.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Brigands of the Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Cummings
  Tech news articles related to Brigands of the Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Cummings

Pencil Heat Ray-related news articles:
  - Assault Intervention Device - A Pain Ray Gun

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