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The Weapon Makers (The Empire of Isher #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,017 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
The first paperback edition of this classic was in Ace Double D-94, under the title "One Against Eternity." This is second appearance, with original title restored.
Paperback, 186 pages
Published 1966 by Ace Books M153 (first published 1946)
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Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonDune by Frank HerbertLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Excellent Space Opera
136th out of 371 books — 2,033 voters
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice BurroughsBrasyl by Ian McDonaldCalculating God by Robert J. SawyerFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyGalactic Patrol by E.E. "Doc" Smith
Classic Science Fiction (List 2)
22nd out of 39 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,705)
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Steven Peterson
May 18, 2014 Steven Peterson rated it liked it
A. E. Van Vogt was a science fiction writer who dealt with BIG ISSUES in his works. He was not so good with creating real human characters; his words do not soar. Here, we have a book that features the Weapon Makers as a check on the empire. The balance between the two forces prevents the empire from overwhelming human freedom. Here, we see relations among several key characters, the Empress Innelda, Captain Hedrock, Prince del Curtin.
Lisabet Sarai
Mar 01, 2014 Lisabet Sarai rated it liked it
My husband has raved about the Weapon Shops books for decades. A popular article on the ways in which technology might help reduce gun violence finally motivated him to dig his 1943 paperback edition out of the boxes in the attic and share it with me.

Van Vogt wrote what I consider to be one of the best science fiction short stories I've ever read ("A Can of Paint"), so I had high expectations of this novel. Unfortunately, they weren't entirely realized.

The book offers some inspired ideas. An e
Glenn Schmelzle
Nov 29, 2009 Glenn Schmelzle rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2015 Graham rated it really liked it
Really odd book, kind of loses the plot a bit at the end, but up to that point is at least interesting.
I'm sorry to say that A.E. van Vogt's "The Weapon Makers" is not a very good sequel to his "The Weapon Shops of Isher." The first half of the book is just as good as the previous book. But, once the protagonist launches himself into space, the book just turns silly. It loses all pretense of being Science Fiction and turns into some kind of..., well, I don't know what to call it: Science Farce? The first, and least problematical, issue is the lack of even lip-service to the speed of light being a ...more
Scott Davis
Jul 10, 2014 Scott Davis rated it it was amazing
Society has changed, and through genetic manipulation, the central character headlock is immortal. He cares about society and wants to make it better. So, he executes a long range plan to make society better. His plan stretches over hundreds of years. Why not? He’s immortal.

Something I loved about this book is all the technology the author used to flesh out the story. Everything from matter transmitters to warp drive. From a science fiction historical perspective... Keep in mind this is 1943 whe
May 17, 2014 Will rated it it was amazing
Another fun cosmic romp, where the House of Isher and the Weapon Shops must be saved from themselves while simultaneously kept from knowing that an immortal superman is watching them.... when he finds that seemingly all-powerful aliens are watching HIM. And the trouble with aliens is... they're alien.

I again thought of John C. Wright's essays... in another, he takes up the common wisdom that in the Bad Old Days SF was bereft of Strong Female Characters. Really? Is the Empress Isher to be dismi
Matteo Pellegrini

Come nelle «Cronache della Galassia» di un altro gigante della f.s., Isaac Asimov, anche in questo romanzo di Van Vogt il vero protagonista è il cosmo: avventure, viaggi, congiure, battaglie, tutto ha dimensioni sovrumane, tutto si svolge sullo sfondo smisurato e strabiliante dell'universo. E' la fantascienza epica al suo livello migliore, una saga del meraviglioso che dà al lettore il senso dell'inesauribile ricchezza dell'universo.

Feb 11, 2015 Ietrio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
Oh, boy! When I was 11 the book was so cool! Today it is an avalanche of stupidity. From the Weapon shops, there is a clear upgrade in ideas and somehow the text is less dated, but only a bit.
Sep 05, 2014 Andres rated it it was ok
Me costó mucho trabajo terminarlo, me parecía algo lenta la narración y no acabe de agarrarle el feeling. El final, sin embargo, es bastante bueno.
Robin Dawes
Jun 11, 2015 Robin Dawes rated it it was ok
I can't believe I enjoyed this so much when I was a teenager - it's clunky and tedious.
Jun 04, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
1981 grade A
2009 grade B+

Series book WS1

(A bit old)
Apr 03, 2015 Fred added it
Wonderful book, read it at least 3 times. Hedrock Rocks!
Aug 29, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: tossed, ebook
One Empire rules Earth and as a counter-balance the neutral Weapons Shops try to make sure the government doesn't get *too* oppressive. Someone figures out intersteller drive and oddly this shifts the balance of power. Our Hero must restore the balance and handle first contact. This reads like one of those classic spy novels like The Thirty-Nine Steps set in an undefined future.
Mark Cameron
Feb 10, 2013 Mark Cameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Cool book

There are lots of neat gadgets. There is an interesting relationship between the House of Isher (the monarchy) and the Weapon Shops (sort of a check and balance).

There is a lot of good stuff in the book but it should have been more fleshed out.

It's old school sci-fi. It's not bogged down in technical details explaining how every little piece of technology works.
Jul 09, 2008 Aaron rated it really liked it
I was overjoyed to find my old copy of this at parents house this weekend after thinking it lost for 15 years. It wasn't exactly what i remembered, but still, a great story. For having been written in 1943, it hardly shows it's age and fully embraces a future with such advanced technology, it bears little resemblance to today. Looking forward to finding more van Vogt.
Isabel (kittiwake)
Set six years after "The Weapon Shops of Isher", this is story of how the immortal man behind the weapon shops manipulates both the weapon shops council and the Empress, to ensure that Isher society remains stable in the face of the development of a star ship drive and a possible attack by alien invaders.
Mar 03, 2010 Dmadden rated it it was ok
Pure lurid colored, comic book van Vogt. Shouldn't be a surprise, that's mostly what he does. Funny how he can occasionally pull something together that goes beyond that.
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 16, 2009 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This story takes place aprox. 7 years after the Weapons Shops of Isher. I again give 4 rather than 5 simply because it's not quite as readable as some by Van Vogt.
Dec 03, 2011 Andreas rated it did not like it
A of Golden Age classic that has aged very badly.
May 06, 2012 Peter rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Interesting ideas that impacted me greatly when a teenager but not so much later
Florin Pitea
Apr 28, 2013 Florin Pitea rated it really liked it
Read it back in the late 1980s and enjoyed it quite a lot at the time.
Dale Rosso
Dec 16, 2013 Dale Rosso rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Pure classic Sci-Fi, enjoyed the story. I love the Weapon Shops of Isher books.
Jan 20, 2010 DavidO rated it it was ok
Not as good as the Weapon Shops, but okay.
JR Smith
JR Smith marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2016
Terry rated it liked it
Jun 27, 2016
Mircea rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2016
A Lynch
A Lynch rated it liked it
Jun 26, 2016
WitchDr marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2016
Timothy Leitzke
Timothy Leitzke marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
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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
More about A.E. van Vogt...

Other Books in the Series

The Empire of Isher (3 books)
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • The Empire of Isher: The Weapon Makers/The Weapon Shops of Isher

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