I am trying to identify a short story that appeared in Analog sometime in the 1960s. My memory is a bit hazy, but here goes: The main character is a secret policeman in an Eastern European country. He begins to notice that a number of his new colleagues have a particular physical deformity - I believe it was the shape of their ears, but I may be wrong. He finally comes to understand that these men are aliens and they are taking over the secret police in order to control human society. I think he is killed at the end, but I'm not sure.


1 Answer 1


It’s The Double-Edged Rope, by Lloyd Biggle Jr, published in the June 1967 Analog,

The main character gets all the way to the Dictator, but then notices something odd about him

The Glorious Leader rose and walked away. Marzoff’s admiring eyes followed him - - - contemplated his ears, odd-looking ears that seemed sculptured on, in the low relief on the side of his head - - “You’re not our glorious leader!” Marzoff blurted - - - ‘.
Dmitri Storavieff looked up “Ah, Marzoff. You’re back. - - and what of this mysterious conspiracy?” “There wasn’t any sir. I’m sorry to have wasted the time.” - - -
“What odd ears that man has.” Storavieff thought suddenly. “Strange I never noticed them before.” Ears! - - there was something about ears in the new regulations - - Certain capitalist correspondents were ridiculing the shape of ears among citizens of the southern provinces. - - - Any mention of ears was henceforth to be a criminal offence - - And quite right too - -

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