The Edge of the Knife

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Author: H. Beam Piper
Published: 1957
Language: English
Wordcount: 17,133 / 57 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 71.5
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 15,413
Added to site: 2006.06.15 13957
License: ©

This etext was produced from Amazing Stories, May 1957. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the copyright on this publication was renewed.

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to force you to resign. With your contract, he can't do that, not without good and sufficient cause, and under the Faculty Tenure Law, that means something just an inch short of murder in the first degree. Now, what's Whitburn got on you?"

Beat around the bush and try to build a background, or come out with it at once and fill in the details afterward? He debated mentally for a moment, then decided upon the latter course.

"Well, it happens that I have the ability to prehend future events. I can, by concentrating, bring into my mind the history of the world, at least in general outline, for the next five thousand years. Whitburn thinks I'm crazy, mainly because I get confused at times and forget that something I know about hasn't happened yet."

Weill snatched the cigarette from his mouth to keep from swallowing it. As it was, he choked on a mouthful of smoke and coughed violently, then sat back in the booth-seat, staring speechlessly.

"It started a little over three years ago," Chal


Average Rating of 4.4 from 7 reviews: *****

I don't like sci-fi. I downloaded the book by chance and was about to put it away because it was catalogued partly as a sci-fi.
Then I began to read it and couldn't stop. It's not at all sci-fi, it could be real and its main attractive isn't so much the plot, which is perfectly organized and fast-paced, but the satyrical professoral types, aptly combined with rare good people.
A somewhat bitter but also good-natured and original story.

JoJo Biggins

A pretty good story ruined by an abrupt and unfulfilling ending.

Sardo Weems

Good story, with a well-drawn character as the history professor who remembers (and blurts out) history that hasn't happened yet. Well crafted, clever, with a good ending.

Woody Curle

You've gotta read this one!!!!


This is a pretty good read. Not very outstanding, but a gem of a short story. It does serve as an introduction to the Terro-Human Future History series, but nothing more. You've seen the other reviews about the story of how a professor can see into the future, that pretty much sums it up. Check it out if you want something else if you like Asimov's Foundation Series.

R Stephan

Nice short story with surprise at the end.


A tense little story about a history professor who finds he can see into the future. Careful details make the story come alive, and make up for some one-dimensional secondary characters. The story evokes the post-McCarthy-era university system, and the preservation of tenure rights is a big issue. So is the tension between hiding what you know is true but can't admit, and bringing truths out into the open before society is ready to hear them. It's a fun read.

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