“Cease Fire,” Frank Herbert, 1958 — An operator at an outpost near enemy territory is nearly killed by enemy fire. Both sides possess a device that can detect the other. The operator has scientific training and has come up with a way to use the detection device to remotely detonate any explosive. He naively believes his discovery will end all war, but the powers that be know better. His invention will only mean that they will now need to fall back on the gruesome weapons of the past, such as poison gas, as they can no longer use any weapon or substance that might detonate. Modern conveniences, such as gasoline, will also have to be abandoned, as will most modern technology. A new order of things will emerge as this invention will force civilization into economic and social crisis.
Comments: Read in A Century of Science Fiction. A twist on the Cold War arms race and a commentary on the modern reliance on technology.
Author: Wikipedia: “Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Though also a short story author, he is best known for his novels, most notably Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. Dune itself is the “‘-selling science fiction novel of all time,” and the series is widely considered to be among the classics in the genre.'”