Back in the days of the space program ordinary folks were introduced to laser beams. We didn't know what to do with them, but they seemed cool. They revolutionized communications. Gone are wire telephone cables. Fiber optics carry laser beams at much more capacity.
Earlier this week I got to benefit from them directly as I had surgery to remove a few tumors from my nose. I was out of the surgery in less than an hour. In days of old I'd have had stitches and maybe even plastic surgery. Now, just some minor bandages for a few days and that was pretty much it. Sure, it hurt a little for the first day, but the pain was minimal compared to what a scalpel and stitches would bring.
My problem had been I had a tough time finding a doctor who would help me. I finally found a dermatologist who was really into laser surgery. I don't know why other doctors were unwilling to do it. It was a piece of cake. Like all surgeries, there are risks and it goes without saying that it's comforting to have a good, experienced surgeon. But, once completed, what was warping the very shape of my nose and cutting off breathing in one nostril was gone. Poof.
So, in science fiction, they shoot the bad guys with laser beams. But, right now, they use them for surgery and it is truly amazing.