"The Weapon Shop"
Short Fiction 1942 15,400 words
  • When accepting this tale for publication, Campbell said "'Weapon Shop' was, like much of your material, good without any detectable reason for being interesting. Technically, it doesn't have a plot, it starts nowhere in particular, wanders about, and comes out in another completely indeterminate place. But, like a park path, it's a nice little walk. I liked it, as you may have gathered from the 25% extra." [From a letter dated June 12th, 1942, as reprinted in The John W. Campbell Letters: Volume II.]

  • Van Vogt was to later compare this story with his life in the article "My Life Was My Best Science-Fiction Story," saying that both were meandering, heading nowhere in particular, but interesting and enjoyable nonetheless.

Part of the
Isher Series
1 —     The Weapon Shops of Isher 1951
2 —     The Weapon Makers 1943
3 —     The Weapons of Isher, Part Two 1982

The Weapon Shops of Isher is a novel created from the three original Weapon Shop stories (see below for full list).

The Weapon Makers is a book-length sequel to the original stories.

Both books were later included in an omnibus volume.

Italian author and translator Roberta Rambelli wrote a lengthy sequel to the series in 1982, entitled Le armi di Isher, Parte seconda (The Weapons of Isher, Part Two).

Original Stories:
"The Seesaw" 1941
"The Weapon Shop" 1942
The Weapon Shops of Isher 1949
Versions

1942

original version

1951

adapted for fix-up novel
Included In
The Best of A.E. van Vogt: Volume 1 1979
The Best of A.E. van Vogt    [British] 1974
M33 in Andromeda 1971
The Weapon Shops of Isher 1951
English
Astounding Science Fiction magazine
1942 December Street & Smith
bedsheet Vol 30, No 4 132 pages $0.25

cover art by
William Timmins

First appearance

3 illustrations by
W.A. Kolliker

Cover image: Showcase
Illustration images: other
Data: Walwyn
Adventures in Time and Space anthology
edited by Raymond J. Healy & J. Francis McComas 1946, etc.

Some editions of this anthology are in fact heavily abridged, and the contents differ from edition to edition. As far as I can tell, "The Weapon Shop" was left out of the 1952, 1954 (Selections from Adventures in Time and Space), and 1966 editions. It was however included in the retitled edition, Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space.

Data: ISFDB
Famous Science-Fiction Stories: Adventures in Time and Space anthology
edited by Raymond J. Healy & J. Francis McComas 1957, etc.

Alternate title for the 1946 anthology. As far as I can tell, van Vogt's story was included.

Data: ISFDB
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 1 anthology
edited by Robert Silverberg 1970, etc.
Data: ISFDB
The Great Science Fiction Stories: Volume 4: 1942 anthology
edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg 1980, etc.

This anthology was later published as part of the omnibus Isaac Asimov Presents The Golden Years of Science Fiction (Second Series) (1983).

Data: ISFDB
War and Peace: Possible Futures from Analog anthology
edited by Stanley Schmidt 1983, etc.
Data: ISFDB
Isaac Asimov Presents the Golden Years of Science Fiction: Second Series omnibus
edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg
1983 Bonanza / Crown
hardback 0-517-41367-1 723 pages price: ?

cover artist: unknown

An omnibus containing two of the anthologies in Asimov's Great SF Stories series, Volume 3 (covering 1941) and Volume 4 (covering 1942).

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction anthology
edited by Isaac Asimov & Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg 1989, etc.

This anthology was reprinted under various titles over the years:

Data: ISFDB
Science Fiction: Classic Stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction anthology
edited by Isaac Asimov & Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg 1991, etc.

This anthology was originally published as The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1940s (1989).

Data: ISFDB
Great Tales of the Golden Age of Science Fiction anthology
edited by Isaac Asimov & Charles G. Waugh & Martin H. Greenberg
1991 Galahad
hardback 0-88365-772-4 466 pages price: ?

cover artist: unknown

This anthology was originally published as The Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction: Short Novels of the 1940s (1989).

  Data: ISFDB
The Prentice Hall Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology
edited by Garyn G. Roberts 2000, etc.
Data: ISFDB
Give Me Liberty anthology
edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Mark Tier
2003 January Baen
paperback 0-7434-3585-0 386 pages $7.99

cover art by
Carol Heyer

This anthology was later included in the omnibus Freedom! (2006).

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB
Freedom! omnibus
edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Mark Tier
2006 July Baen
trade 1-4165-2072-4 720 pages $14.00

cover art by
Carol Heyer

An omnibus containing two anthologies, Give Me Liberty (2003) and Visions of Liberty (2007).

Cover image: ISFDB Data: ISFDB