I would like to find a story about a man (maybe a farmer/rancher?) on trial for something I thought farm-related, which is live-televised to the world, who presents the plans for a homemade laser- or ray-gun in bits and pieces during the trial. Objections are raised to his information but he prevails and

by end of story he has given the full plans to the world, and influenced how humanity will continue with any one being the possessor of this deadly technology.

I was convinced this was Bradbury but cannot find it as such. I recall that it was in a collection of scifi short stories; would likely have read it 1978-1985 (but it could have been an older volume that I picked up then). Thanks for any help.

  • Now why does this story suddenly sound so topical? >_>
    – jono
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


That's Committee of the Whole by Frank Herbert. I think I read it in The Best of Frank Herbert, though I've mislaid my copy so I can't check.

From the article:

It deals with the concept of restraint as a paramount virtue necessary for survival of a human race in times when both information and the means for production of weapons of mass destruction are available to every individual.

  • Thanks so much! Mind is Officially.Blown. by how fast you answered. And the Frank Herbert fan in me is sooo embarrassed. Commented May 21, 2013 at 1:11

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