Armaments Race

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"Armaments Race"
AuthorArthur C. Clarke
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesTales from the White Hart
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published in Adventure
Publication typeMagazine
PublisherPopular Publications
Publication dateApril 1954
Preceded by"Patent Pending"
Followed by"Critical Mass"
For the Cold War weapons escalation, see Arms race.

"Armaments Race" is a science fiction short story by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1954, and later anthologized in Tales from the White Hart.[1] Like the rest of the collection, it is a frame story set in the pub "White Hart", where the fictional Harry Purvis narrates the secondary tale.


This comic story discusses the career of Hollywood special effects man Solly Blumberg after he is hired to create mock weapons as set pieces for a science-fiction serial featuring "Captain Zoom" and various alien adversaries. Blumberg becomes involved in what is effectively an arms race as he creates weapons for both the protagonist of the series and his adversaries. The weapons he creates become increasingly elaborate, until he accidentally creates a piece that is functional in the real world and burns down the studio, upon which he is sacked.


The piece was later published as the fourth story in Clarke's collection Tales from the White Hart.[2] The story pokes fun at the stereotypical pulp science fiction of the time.


  1. ^ "Bibliography: Armaments Race". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  2. ^ Clarke, Arthur C. (1957). Tales from the White Hart. London: Ballantine Books. p. Forward.

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