Andy Weir (author of The Martian) on why Stun-Settings on weapons would be cooler than lightsabers

“The absolute best technology in sci-fi is arguably the most mundane concept in the genre’s arsenal: stunners.

From Star Trek’s “phasers on stun” to that one (and only one) time in Star Wars when the stormtroopers used a stun setting to subdue Princess Leah, stunners are such a staple of science fiction that no one even questions them. As a literary device, they allow the protagonists to get into gunfights without being mass murderers. But if stunners existed in real life, they would change the world.

And don’t talk to me about tasers. Those are one-shot, very close-range weapons that can do long-term physical harm. I’m talking about fictional stunners, which are as effective at range as handguns, and render the target unconscious without hurting them.

We could all just carry them around. They’re not like real guns. If someone gets mad or loses their temper, worst that happens is someone gets harmlessly knocked out. But if somebody tries to rob a bank, everyone stuns him. If somebody decides to go on a killing spree, everyone stuns him.

What’s that? There’s a hostage situation? The police come and stun everyone. Riot? Stun everyone. Worried about the new stun powers turning your country into a police state? Well, you outnumber the police and you all have stunners. Whatever your political leanings, stunners downgrade potential conflicts to a non-lethal arena.

Even criminals would get in on the action. There’s no longer any need to threaten the life of the 7-11 clerk. Just stun him and take the cash drawer. No one has to die. Of course, the clerk will probably have a stunner, too, so there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll just wake up in jail.

If there was an area-of-effect version (why wouldn’t there be?) the military could deal with conflicts in civilian areas much better. “Sorry we knocked you out. There were terrorists on your roof so we blitzed the whole block to be safe. Here’s your hat, it fell off when you laid down. Have a nice day.

Yeah. You can keep flying cars and lightsabers. I’ll take stunners.”

There are a lot of things that you should know about me. 

My mind is a dangerous place–it is dark and messed up. I might be reluctant to let you in because even I would get lost in my thoughts of drowning in a sea of blood, of sinking my teeth into the decay of my mortality, and of all of the monsters I trade my secrets with at night.

My heart is still something unknown and something I have yet to own. It breaks every time it beats and anchors my body to the ground. It is shameful and worships metaphors and similes. Desire seeps out of my skin and I use it to set myself on fire on the darkest of dawns.

My body is a constellation of scars and bruises. It is an immense space full of clandestine ramblings, a dusty box filled with unsent love letters, a map of veins and worn-out skin. I am made of crossed fingers, 11:11 wishes, false hopes. I am stitched by dilemmas, fears, insecurity and depression and there will be times that you won’t be able to understand me. I have the tendency to be very clingy and sometimes, insensitive.

There will be times that I will push you to the verge of giving up but please, don’t tolerate me. Don’t whisper prayers of your love for me. Do not ever try to worship me. And most of all, do not ever try to save me.

Because I don’t need to be saved.

I won’t need one. I am not that damsel in distress who cries and wait for her prince to swoop in and save her. I’m not going to be bruised nor damaged. Nor gonna need any kind of repairing.

If I ever find myself deciding to love you, it’s going to be because I am complete enough for it. It’s going to be because I’m prepared to capitulate, carrying the knowledge with me that I won’t let any piece of me to be a patch of yours and vice versa. It’s going to be because we already are better for one another. It’s going to be because I am confident in my own skin that I won’t need any saving, I am confident in my own self to have faith in love even when everybody else is trying to make change of that faith.

—  s.a., to the boy who will have the courage to delve deeper in my sea

‘’The future is not a straight line, It is filled with many crossroads. There must be a future that we can choose for ourselves.’’ 

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