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A Stunner is a general term for a science fiction weapon that is designed to temporarily impair the motor and/or cognitive functions of a living being, usually by rendering it unconscious, but otherwise unharmed.
The most famous examples of this kind of weapon include:
- Phasers in the Star Trek franchise which can be set to stun an opponent with variable severity.
- Stunners in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold which causes a temporary reduction in nerve activity within a radius of the impact site.
- Stunners in the Solar Queen series by Andre Norton which disrupt the motor function, although leaving the shot person conscious.
- The Wraith of Stargate Atlantis use stunners to capture humans alive, in order to feed on their life energy.
- Also in Stargate Atlantis, Ronon Dex's personal energy pistol can be set to two settings: stun and kill.
- Stargate SG-1's Zats are not true stunners; although one shot is sufficient to stun, a second burst is fatal. The single shot from a Zat does not necessarily incapacitate, as strong or prepared enough targets can shrug off the effects in several seconds (the second shot is still fatal).
- In Battlefield Earth, Psychlo weapons are basically two-in-one, with one barrel firing destructive shots and the other emitting green pulse that stuns and knocks the target back.
- In the novel Dune stunners are projectile weapons whose pellets knock out their targets.