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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Belt Sword  
  A piece of very thin material sewn between the two leather sides of a belt.  

This item is given a very short mention in the book. I wonder if there is a material that is like this, or whether this is purely the imagination of the author. In the US, we tend to think that concealed weapon means a handgun; more exotic possibilities don't occur to us.

Stepping closer to the window, he touches his belt. Stitched between two layers of black calf is concealed a ribbon of a very particular, very expensive material. Under certain circumstances, it ceases to behave as though it were some loosely woven, tissue-thin fabric, something a child might accidentally pull to pieces, and becomes instead thirty inches of something limber, double-edged and very sharp. It's texture, in that state, has reminded him of fresh cuttlebone.
From All Tomorrow's Parties, by William Gibson.
Published by Putnam in 1999
Additional resources -

Of course, you have a basic problem with such a weapon; what if you whip it out and your pants fall down? This character is not mentioned as wearing suspenders.

My daughter showed me a product that is really very similar to a belt sword. It is a combination of a bracelet and a hair scrunchie; it consists of a piece of thin metal with a u-shaped cross-section sewn inside a brightly colored piece of fabric. Ordinarily, the item is in a "straight" configuration; but, if you bend it in the middle (pressing it against your wrist, for example) it snaps into a tightly curled configuration, hugging your wrist.

Hopefully, it is not possible to remove the metal part and use it as a dagger...

I'm told that there is also a double-edged steel weapon from India called a "whip sword" documented in Way of the Warrior: The paradox of the Martial Arts. (Thanks to Yoon Ha Lee.)

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  More Ideas and Technology from All Tomorrow's Parties
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