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The blade runs around the circumference of the very tall chimney's rim, and at some point as it slowly rises the man will have to jump to his death. There's a note explaining to him that he's the subject of an experiment that's been run many times, which is to see whether he elects to jump outwards, or inwards down the chimney, once the blade rises to a point that it's bisecting him.

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  • I'm having trouble picturing this; is the blade the complete circumference? Chimneys taper as they rise, so is the blade in segments? How fast does it rise? The top of the chimney must have substantial thickness for him to wake without falling; how does the blade force him completely off, without permitting sufficient space to stand on one side or the other?
    – DavidW
    Feb 22 at 0:55
  • I have most of the editions of Galaxy from 1960 to 1980 and I can't find a story like this in any of them. Feb 22 at 7:59
  • As I recall, the rim is perhaps nine inches wide and the blade is cylindrical, rising through a slot in the middle of the rim. Once it rose to a couple of feet high the man would be forced to make a choice. Feb 22 at 8:38
  • If it wasn't Galaxy then it must have been Amazing Stories, as those were the only two mags I read at the time. I envy you your collection! Feb 22 at 8:39
  • I've now been through Amazing Stories from 1958 to 1980, and I cannot find your story in any of those issues. There are a few issues I don't have so I guess I could have been unlucky and your story is in one of the missing issues. Feb 24 at 10:09

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