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The Metal Smile

Edited by Damon Knight

Cover artist unknown

Publisher: Belmont

Pub year: 1968

Cover price: 60¢


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Book detail for The Metal Smile

Cover tagline

12 battles of wits between man and machine

Back cover text

"Do not fold, bend or mutilate"

Marked the beginning of our cybernetic society. How will it end?

The varied answers to that question have proved to be fertile ground for some of the greatest science fiction imaginations. But perhaps we shouldn't look too closely into the future of cybernetics. It may be that the survival capacity of the thinking machine is greater than that of its maker....

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Interior text

It worked very simply. Without warning, a criminal who thought himself safe suddenly would hear the steady footfalls behind him. He would turn and see the two-handed engine walking toward him, shaped like a man of steel and more incorruptible than any man not made of steel could be. For the rest of his days, the man would hear those footsteps behind him. Never in life would he be alone again. And one day — he never knew when — the machine would turn executioner.

The thing was quite close now. It looked to be about seven feet tall, and its motion was very smooth, smoother than human motions. Its feet fell with a heavy, measured tread. Thud, thud, thud. Danner tried to react impassively to its approach. He noted that it had no features, but his mind couldn't help sketching in a sort of airy face upon that blank steel surface, with eyes that seemed to search the room. The thing now stood over Danner and the thudding footsteps stopped.

"No, no!" he yelled at the impassive steel. "You're wrong. You're wrong!"