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The Weapon Shops Of Isher (The Empire of Isher #2)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,379 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Paperback, 127 pages
Published October 1969 by New English Library (first published January 1st 1951)
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4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is a great example of the "big idea" science fiction classic. Set thousands of years in the future, the story revolves around the struggle between a corrupt empire and the mysterious "weapon shops" that provide the population with a means to insure that the government can never become all powerful. Libertarian SF at its best and arguably Van Vogt's best book ever.
Another dystopian outing by Van Vogt, and one which demonstrates moments of depth and subtlety surpassing his other work. Yet, at its heart, it suffers from the same ridiculous problems as most of his stories.

What may be most interesting about this book is how it feels like a prototype for the dark, socio-political sci fi of Philip K. Dick and the Cyberpunk authors. The characters try to move through complex, corrupt bureaucratic systems, and often end up beaten and weaker for it as they seek to
A.E. van Vogt's "The Weapon Shops of Isher" is a 1951 book he formed from three of his 1940s era short stories. So, you have to keep several things in mind about it. First, since its source stories were initially published in the magazines of the time, the prose tends to be a bit terse and abrupt. There's no subtlety in what it's trying to get across or in how it does it. Second, since it's a story originating during the 1940s (The Golden Age of Science Fiction), it's old and the world has chang ...more
Mouldy Squid
Jul 10, 2012 Mouldy Squid rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of old-timey science fiction adventure
Shelves: science-fiction
A blast from the past, literally. The Weapon Shops of Isher is classic golden age adventure science fiction the likes of which is no longer seen today. Van Vogt fills the work with catchy prose, sly humour and understated profundity. Reduced to its most basic essence, The Weapon Shops… is a somewhat tongue in cheek libertarian critique masquerading as serious libertarian literature. While the philosophies on display are commonly read as totalitarianism versus personal freedom, the more complex s ...more
So, I read this because I remember enjoying the short story on which it is based (The Weapon Shop). This expanded version adds several additional plot lines that, while interesting and not unenjoyable, ultimately just make it take longer to get to the punchline at the end. Certainly not as egregious in that respect as, say, the Gamearth books, those pissed me off. I'm not sorry I read The Weapon Shops of Isher, I enjoyed it, and it's quite a slim volume. But next time I'll probably just read the ...more
A classic from the Golden Age of SF. The society envisioned rests on an unusual concept...

"His idea was nothing less than that whatever government was in power should not be overthrown. But that an organization should be set up which would have one principal purpose: to insure that no government ever again obtained complete power over its people."

So we have the Weapon Shops, in their strange buildings none of the Empress' soldiers or policeman can enter, offering ultra high tech "smart" guns w
Steve Poling
This is '40s vintage pulp science fiction at its best. The plot is something of a mess with threads going off in all directions. But darned if I don't love it as much today as when I was a kid. Could Van Vogt have done better? Probably. But think of the times and what was expected of him. Besides, if it wasn't for the writers of the Golden Age, I would neither read nor write SF today. So, three cheers for A. E. Van Vogt and this wonderful little gem of writing.
The Weapon Shops of Isher est un roman de SF qui raconte l'histoire de Cayle Clark, un homme vivant dans les années 1950 qui fait la découverte d'un nouveau magasin, un Weapon Shop. Les Shops vendent des armes d'un pouvoir presque inimaginable, mais ne peuvent être utilisée que pour la légitime défense. En entrant dans le magasin, Clark se retrouve plusieurs millénaires dans le futur, où les weapon shops existent encore et s'opposent toujours au pouvoir en place, celui de l'empire Isher.

Le conc
Roddy Williams
‘In the year 4784, the Universe is contained within the empire of Isher ruled by the Empress Innelda.

‘Dedicated to pleasure, Innelda’s dictatorship has driven Isher to the brink of cosmic disaster. For against her stand the impregnable Weapon Shops, their immortal leader Robert Hedrock and a man from the 20th century with terrifying power.’

Blurb from the 1974 New English Library paperback edition

Van Vogt had a definite talent for writing narratives which had that David Lynch quality of abstracte
Jun 04, 2010 Simon rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Another of his fix-up novels, like The Voyage of the Space Beagle although unlike that book, why the short stories were brought together and reworked into this novel is a mystery to me. There just seems to be two unrelated story lines spliced together in order to bulk out and produce a novel. In "The Voyage of the Space Beagle", the stories fitted together in sequence well in an episodic way. In this book they are essentially parallel narrative strands that are never brought together.

Still only
Bruno Di Giandomenico
Well it is a Classic. Today probably it would not fare well, but it helped build the genre.
Hedrock the immortal founder of the Isher civilisation is the main character of this book and is much more present and active than inthe previuos book, the weapon makers.
As per the usual rule of Van Vogt, every chapter di Isher with a cliff hangar and sometimes Hedrock saves him self only because of a stroke of luck.
Fascinating character. Is the No Man, Goonish by name who anticipates the Mentats of Dune f
What starts off as a Second Amendment thought experiment veers off into speculation on time travel and political corruption.

Thousands of years in the future, an empire declares war on an underground society that supplies defensive weaponry to honest individuals. The outcome is to be decided by two people: your standard Immortal With Advanced Technology, and a typical Chosen One who is out seeking his fortune.

Van Vogt is a clumsy wordsmith, making for a tedious (though occasionally amusing) read
Doug Dandridge
Jun 24, 2012 Doug Dandridge rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fan of classic scifi
A really cool gem from the early atomic age.
This one is really a cool story from a more innocent age. The only
immortal man on Earth battles it out with a Imperial government that would
like total power. The weapons shops are established to stop this, allowing
the people to buy guns that are beyond anything the Empire possesses.
There are several story arcs going at the same time, including a man who
becomes unstuck in time and bounces back and forth through past to future,
going farther each tr
Involved in a peculiar paradox of time, McAllister a 20th century reporter finds himself 7000 years in the future when the Isher empire is dominated by the empress Innelda, a mere pawn in the economics of her own civilization. McAllisters arrival sets off a chain of events which destine him for a complex fate. This is one of many books by A. E. Van Vogt that I read in the late sixties. It is memorable for the shops of the title that protect the right of people to obtain weapons in the distant fu ...more
Nice quick read for classic SF fans. Basic premise seems to be "What would happen if someone (who happens to be benevolent...) invented the perfect !defensive! gun?" Couple big caveats of course, but that seems to be it.

Of course the inventor also turns out to be the only immortal human? But that is only mentioned in passing and we learn nothing at all about that thread within the confines of this book.

There are a couple interesting time travel least I'm guessing they would be a
Mike (the Paladin)
I own an omnibus edition of The Weapons Shop of Isher and The Weapons Makers now as the old paper backs are long gone. The only thing that keeps these from 5 star ratings is that they are not quite as "enthralling" as some reads. Still these are wonderful books and of course they will prevoke thought and debate.

The weapons shops exist basicly to keep the totalitarian government of the Emporess Isher from being able to take the last step to complete totalitarianism. The weapons shops moto is: "Th
J Allan
Curious. Weird story, seems sort of ridiculous in a way (the title comes from the existence of near-magical Weapons Shops that sell all-powerful defensive handguns to citizens to balance the power of the Empress of Isher) but the author treats it very seriously, and the story somehow delves into both strange cosmic time-travel ideas and also the very human psychology of the various characters, especially on the level of their interaction with society. I really enjoyed it. And I like how the auth ...more
i liked the ending a lot, but getting there was kind of a slog, for such a short book.
A classic that has left influence riddled throughout our culture. Read it if only to understand your pop iconography. Like much great literature I'm sure it's been over interpreted and mis-interpreted by people wishing to bend it to their cause.

It has a lot to say, and leaves you with even more to talk about. It's remarkably short on anachronisms giving how long ago it was written and how far in the future it's set. Oh, and it's a fun read, and not overly long.
This was a reread of a book i liked a long time ago. I still like it. I just really enjoy sci-fi from 40-60 years ago.
It's wholesome, imaginative, and more fun than anything else.

C. J. McAllister got stuck on a time seesaw with a huge building on the other end. And to make a long story short, is the big bang.

Cayle Clark grabs life by the horns. Fara Clark learns to love the weaponshops. Robert Hedrock pulls the strings. All in 155 pages.
Imagine a time and place where anyone can buy a weapon to protect themselves from a corrupt government and a weapon that no government official or spy can hold or fire. Something from Ann Rand? Maybe? It is very American in its own way too.

A. E. van Vogt was a science fiction write of the 1960s that was never as popular as Asimov or Heinlein, but he wrote some interesting ideas.
An oldie that took me a while to find (it's out of print and even Cincinnati's voluminous public library didn't have a copy). Cool premise, although I was a bit sensitive to the idea that weapons shops are the saviors of civilization after Newtown, and some of the writing either dragged along or was unsatisfying. Probably won't check out any more by him.
This seems to be a longer version of a short story about the weapon shops that I have already read, expanded to go into more detail about the workings of the weapon shop organisation.
A decent book, but dated (written in 1951) - I enjoyed it more when I first read it years ago. Basically a libertarian work in a science-fiction setting.
Jack Thomas
I had read this book in my teens, and was always fascinated by its interwoven subplots. So as not to be a spoiler, I'll simply say it's a good, easy, read.
I enjoyed it very much. Especially considered it was written in the 50's.
The ending seemed a bit slammed together, but overall it was a fun read.
sacha kenton
this was quite interesting, don't want it to get lost in the shuffle. unfortunately the 'what if' it poses about guns isn't physically possible.
Good 1940's/1950's Science Fiction - it was much better when I read it as a 2008 it fails to capture.
Good sci-fi story built around the concept of guns that only work in self defense
A Golden Age classic that has aged very badly.
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Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century—the "Golden Age" of the genre.

van Vogt was born to Russian Mennonite family. Until he was four years old, van Vogt and his family spoke only a dialect of Low German in the home.

He began his writing career with 'true story' ro
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