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Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Theme.

In sf Terminology, the handgun that blasts had an early place of honour along with the Death Ray, Disintegrator and other generic Ray Guns. Blasters were standard-issue Weapons in early Space Opera, filling the role of six-guns in Westerns. The term seems to have been introduced – as "Blastor" – by Nictzin Dyalhis in "When the Green Star Waned" (April 1925 Weird Tales), which also gives "disintegrator" as a synonym; the more usual spelling is found in Henry Kuttner's "Hollywood on the Moon" (April 1938 Thrilling Wonder), with its mountain-levelling "atomic blasters", though these seem not to be handguns. Blasters go by many names: Isaac Asimov calls them atom-blasts in early episodes of his Foundation sequence (though later they are simply blasters), while E E Smith's Lensman books refer to them by brand names, with the early "Lewiston" blaster being superseded by the "DeLameter". [PN/DRL]

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