Share for friends:

The Weapon Shops Of Isher (1980)

The Weapon Shops of Isher (1980)

Book Info

3.97 of 5 Votes: 3
Your rating
0671431293 (ISBN13: 9780671431297)
pocket books

About book The Weapon Shops Of Isher (1980)

‘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 editionVan Vogt had a definite talent for writing narratives which had that David Lynch quality of abstracted weirdness; elements which didn’t really belong but seemed to fit nevertheless.Here we are in the year 4784 AD. Humanity is under the control of the Empress Illenda, a young girl in charge of an Empire which covers Earth, Mars and Venus. However, an organisation exists independently of the Empress’ control; the Weapon Shops. The shops appear at random and offer extraordinary personally-attuned weapons which can only be used defensively and which will leap into the hand when needed. the shops all sport a 3D display sign which reads:-FINE WEAPONSTHE RIGHT TO BUY WEAPONSIS THE RIGHT TO BE FREEThe Weapon Shops are engaged in an ongoing battle with the Empress’ authorities who are seeking to shut them down.Part of The Weapon Shops’ plan (masterminded by an immortal human named Robert Hedrock) is to send a man through time as a kind of temporal counterweight to a vast building which is swinging back and forward in time and destined to appear beside the Empress’ home at a certain point, where it will explode.The luckless human is McAllister, a reporter who entered a Weapon Shop in ‘Middle City’.He was taken to the far future, ‘charged’ with the energy picked up by travelling through time in such a manner, and was sent on his pendulum journey to the far past.Meanwhile in 4784 AD, the Weapon Shop scientists have discovered Cayle Clark, a young man with an exceptionally high ‘callidity’ rating (van Vogt is vague about what callidity actually is, although we get the idea that it’s Very Important), and have assigned Lucy, a female Weapons Shop agent, to make his acquaintance and keep an eye on him.Cayle discovers he has a talent for gambling but after getting too greedy, is held by the gambling house and sent to a ‘House of Illusion’ where men become slave playthings for female clients in a virtual reality environment.The House is consequently raided and Cayle ends up on Mars.This seems to be the point where Cayle’s callidity kicks in. he manages to return to Earth where he enrols in The Empire’s armed forces and gains access to the time-swinging building-bomb of the Weapon Shops.He hitches a lift back in time and helps ‘himself’ to amass a fortune, an action which forces the Empress to halt her war against the Weapon Shops for fear of a similar incident wrecking the financial stability of the Empire. This explanation, it has to be said, does not bear close examination.The familiar van Vogt hallmarks are here; the giant building, the logical alpha male (Robert Hedrock), the feudalistic society existing alongside fantastic technology, the esoteric organisation operating inside exoteric society, the young man with superior powers.One can almost pick out the elements which Philip K Dick (self-confessedly influenced by Van Vogt) employed in his own work. The Shops themselves are almost a pure Dickism; incongruous elements appearing in a normal suburban setting, in this case a Weapon Shop with a Dick-esque cheesy cheerful sign with slogan which can be viewed from all angles without distortion, a slogan which of course echoes the American constitution on the right to bear arms.

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 changed drastically since then. The most obvious changes are probably the on-going World War II at the time the first two parts were published and the social roles of women during the time. With that in mind, van Vogt has done a pretty amazing job here. I first (and before this Kindle version, last) read this book darn near 40 years ago in my youth. Yet, as I re-read it today, I realized that I remembered almost everything about it. It made that much of an impression on me. If I were to rate the book solely by today's standards, I might say it was OK. But, because it seems to have weathered the intervening 60 or so years pretty decently, and because it's so memorable, I'm raising my rating to a Very Good 4 stars out of 5.The two novels in A.E. van Vogt's "Isher" series are:1. The Weapon Shops of Isher2. The Weapon Makers (Isher)

Do You like book The Weapon Shops Of Isher (1980)?

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 at this point in time. 50-60 years later and I suspect readers are too jaded, but they may have been novel at the time.

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 future, but also the monarchical rule of the empire which is a throwback to early historical time. It reminds me of Wells' time traveler and his visit to an Earth whose future is very different.

Oh boy! When I read this book for the first time I was about ten. And I do recall I liked all van Vogts. I don't think that was a latter suggestion as I have read quite a lot of his books.Now some decades later I am in shock. Was I so stupid? This is a low quality fairy and unicorn tale. It's cheap. It's dated. The characters do not work well. And it is so machist! The highest purpose in the life of a woman is to be married. Men can have other purposes.This is one of the most silly books I have ever read. The author thinks why don't I make him - her do that? And pop! You have some new magic propriety to the device. It's all so magical and unexplained.And the style! "Her reaction to that was so violent that she grew calm in her anger"What was I thinking back than?

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author A.E. van Vogt

Other books in category Nonfiction