The Weapon Shops of Isher

by A. E. van Vogt
Reviewed date: 2005 May 31
Rating: 2
191 pages
cover art

The authoritarian Empire of Isher rules the world. The only checks on the Empress's total power are the weapon shops. They appeared out of thin air and declare "The right to buy weapons is the right to be free." Weapon shop guns are the ultimate defensive firearms: easy to use, tremendously powerful, and they will only fire in self-defense. These foolproof defensive weapons are available to anyone except Imperial agents. The citizenry thus armed prevents the total tyranny of the Empire of Isher.

Of course the Empire would love to see the weapon shops destroyed, and the ultimate showdown between the shops and the Empire will determine the fate of humanity. Unfortunately, The Weapon Shops of Isher is a fix-up novel: it was hastily cobbled together from several short stories. It is disjointed and unfocused. Point of view jumps from character to character, and the subplots have little or nothing to do with each other. To top it off, two of the subplots hinge heavily on time travel--which I hate.

This novel should never have been published. It would have been better to produce an anthology of the short stories in their original form.

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