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Book Title: The Weapon Makers|
The author of the book: A.E. van Vogt
Edition: Ace Books M153
The size of the: 618 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2083 times
Reader ratings: 7.3
Date of issue: 1966
ISBN 13: 9780441131532
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books:
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 empire whose absolute power spans the solar system is kept in check by the existence of the Weapon Shops, purveyors of irresistible energy weapons that are tuned to their owners and can be fired only in self defense. Only ordinary citizens may purchase these weapons; the doors to the shops will not open to police and Imperial soldiers. Hence a delicate but peaceful balance has reigned for more than four millenia, between the powers of the Empire and the individual.
The invention of an interstellar drive threatens this balance, and only one man can stop the worlds of the empire from crumbling into devastating war. Robert Hedrock is not just any man, but an immortal, with intimate relationships to both centers of power. However, both the Empress and the shadowy organization behind the weapon shops believe he is a traitor. Both forces strive to destroy the only man who can save them.
This excellent premise, enhanced by many clever details, is spoiled by the absence of any limits on Hedrock's powers. I have the same complaint about some paranormal books. When magic (or in this case, technology) can do anything, I lose interest, because the outcomes become totally predictable. Indeed my favorite type of sci fi posits one single societal or technological change, and then explores its effects. This book is exactly the opposite, full of spy rays, matter transmitters, devices that temporarily turn rats or men into giants, and more.
I also found the style to be rather wooden. Most of the emotion (such as there was) feels flat and one dimensional. Furthermore, I sometimes had to read the convoluted sentences two or three times before I could figure out the intended meaning.
Van Vogt's treatment of sex particularly annoyed me - namely, the fact that he couldn't even bring himself to mention it. One of the main characters becomes pregnant after a few hours with Hedrock. Hard to imagine how, given what we're told.
On the other hand, this book has a fabulous alien encounter sequence, in the reaches of deep space. The aliens have the ability to enter Hedrock's mind and twist his perceptions. His attempts to understand and utilize their modes of thought as weapons against them were perhaps the most convincing aspects of the book.
Overall, I enjoyed The Weapon Makers, but I also found it deeply flawed. It is usually considered a product of science fiction's golden age. To me, it felt immature, far less rich and subtle than many more modern novels.
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Read information about the authorAlfred 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' romances, but then moved to writing science fiction, a field he identified with. His first story was Black Destroyer, that appeared as the front cover story for the July 1939 edtion of the popular "Astounding Science Fiction" magazine.
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