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The Edge of the Knife

The Edge of the Knife
This story was rejected by two top-flight science-fiction editors for the same reason: "Too
hot to handle." "Too dangerous for our book." We'd like to know whether or not the
readers of Amazing Stories agree. Drop us a line after you've read it.
Chalmers stopped talking abruptly, warned by the sudden attentiveness of the class in
front of him. They were all staring; even Guellick, in the fourth row, was almost half
awake. Then one of them, taking his silence as an invitation to questions found his voice.
"You say Khalid ib'n Hussein's been assassinated?" he asked incredulously. "When did
that happen?"
"In 1973, at Basra." There was a touch of impatience in his voice; surely they ought to
know that much. "He was shot, while leaving the Parliament Building, by an Egyptian
Arab named Mohammed Noureed, with an old U. S. Army M3 submachine-gun. Noureed
killed two of Khalid's guards and wounded another before he was overpowered. He was
lynched on the spot by the crowd; stoned to death. Ostensibly, he and his accomplices
were religious fanatics; however, there can be no doubt whatever that the murder was
inspired, at least indirectly, by the Eastern Axis."
The class stirred like a grain-field in the wind. Some looked at him in blank amazement;
some were hastily averting faces red with poorly suppressed laughter. For a moment he
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