In the year 2203, power is transferred through a random lottery that picks the Quizmaster, the most powerful position on Earth. Challengers may be chosen to take out the Quizmaster legally by assassination. This is not an easy method, however, because the Quizmaster is protected by a Corps of telepaths (known as "teepers") who can easily tell when a threat is near. When 10-year Quizmaster Verrick is toppled and replaced by 63-year-old Cartwright, an electronics repairman and socially progressive Prestonite (follower of the long-dead freethinker John Preston, who insisted there was a tenth planet in the Solar System, beyond Pluto, which he named Flame Disc), Verrick schemes to position an assassin to take out the new Quizmaster so Verrick can regain power. Biochemist Ted Benteley, the hero of this novel, has just been thrown out of work and pledges fealty to Verrick, only to learn that he will be one of about 24 experts and intellects whose consciousnesses will be filtered in and out of a robot Verrick has maneuvered to get chosen as assassin, so that teeps will not be able to keep mental track of him as he stalks Cartwright. The Corps responds by hiding the new Quizmaster at Luna base, where the robot assassin inexorably follows him, and the chase eventually leads to Flame Disc, the legendary tenth planet. This is one of Dick's simpler, more straightforward plots, from 1955.
This report prepared by David Loftus