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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Weapon Shops Of Isher

This book has been on my mind this last week, or actually, a few of the ideas I remember from the book, along with the title. Heck of a good title. I just went a-Googling for it and found one (1) copy for sale and numerous reviews, which mostly panned the book for being poorly written but praised for the plethora of big ideas. The Weapon Shops Of Isher and The Weapon Makers by A. E. Van Vogt, were published in the early 1950's. I probably read them when I was a teenager in the 1960's.

One review I found contained this little tid-bit:
The curse of surprise

The atomic engineer Neelan, one of three main viewpoint characters in The Weapon Makers , suffers to the full what I call the van Vogtian curse of surprise. Not only is Neelan often startled by events, and struck dumb by realizations — sometimes twice on the same page — but he is even surprised, confused, or dumbfounded by things he already knows.
Anyway, one key element of the book is the motto of the weapons shops:

"The right to buy weapons is the right to be free".

The weapon shops are a court of last resort for people suffering from the injustices of the Empire of Isher. They form the opposition. Reminds me of a phrase used in England: the loyal opposition. I am wondering if this an idea whose time has come, or maybe it's already here.

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