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"I can remember when the first pulsars were discovered. I was able to go and sit down and listen to graduate students talking about what their theories, to explain what pulsars really were."
- Vernor Vinge

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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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from All Tomorrow's Parties
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to All Tomorrow's Parties
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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