Re: Books (was Re: [Epic] Nukes in Epic universe)

From: Seth Ben-Ezra <Azathoth_at_...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:31:12 -0500

On 27 Jan 97 at 19:28, A. Allen McCarley wrote:

> > Your joking aren't you? The old SciFi pulp novels and even the stuff
> > from the sixties use that term frequently. It later replaced by
> > "blasters" which allowed hack writers to assume and advanced weapon
> > technology without requiring them to be creative enough to invent one.
> > Oops! I'm preaching again. Sorry about that.
> >
> > danlobb_at_...
> Are you sure they used the word "lasgun", or was it just "laser" or
> even "laser gun?" I remember reading a lot of old pulp novels and
> 60's literature that used the term laser. This fell out of favor as
> more and more of the general public began to realize what a laser
> could and could not do, and, as you say, the term "blaster" became
> popular as no one really had to define what a blaster was. (Incidentally,
> the word phaser was invented because someone pointed out to Roddenbery,
> at the last minute, that a laser simply couldn't do what he was asking
> it to.)
> However, Dune is the only place I actually remember seeing the term
> lasgun. If I'm wrong, please correct me. I love digging up and reading
> old science-fiction.
> By the way, I assume that a lasgun is *not* a laser, since no matter
> how much energy you feed back into a laser you do *not* get a
> thermo-nuclear blast.

Dune has a glossary (good thing to). According to it, a lasgun is a
"continuous-wave laser projector. Its use as a weapon is limited in a
field-generator-shield culture because of the explosive pyrotechnics
(technically, subatomic fusion) created when the beam intersects a

Now you know as much as Frank Herbert did. :) The whole concept rests
largely on the sci-fi concept of "technobabble", something familiar to
all of us who have seen more than one episode of Star Trek. I'll bet
you that Frank Herbert wanted to have a more primitive weapons
technology (probably due to his primitive political system, which could
be compared to the early days of the Roman Empire), but didn't feel
that he could get away with removing some of the staples of sci-fi. So
he came up with a (rather brilliant, IMHO) way of allowing for the
existence of such weapons but limiting their use. Just speculation, of

Seth Ben-Ezra
Received on Tue Jan 28 1997 - 13:31:12 UTC

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