The Weapon Shop
|"The Weapon Shop"|
|Author||A. E. van Vogt|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction short story|
|Published in||Astounding Science Fiction|
|Media type||Print (Magazine)|
"The Weapon Shop" is a science fiction short story by A. E. van Vogt originally published in the December 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. In 1951 it was included as part of the fix-up novel The Weapon Shops of Isher. it was among the stories selected in 1970 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as one of the best science fiction short stories published before the creation of the Nebula Awards. As such, it was published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964.
A small businessman named Fara faces mounting professional and personal troubles despite his fierce devotion to the Empress who rules the solar system. He is infuriated when a weapons shop, which sells fantastic technology but which is not controlled by the Empress, materializes in his town. He fails in his efforts to have the shop expelled, and is soon further humiliated and impoverished when his son participates in a scam against him.
Nobody is willing to help him except, surprisingly, the operators of the weapons shop. Fara discovers that the size and power of their organization far surpass his initial understanding, and that they represent a bulwark against the otherwise absolute power of the Empress. Although most of the villagers follow the Empress through blind authority, the Weapon Shop has been secretly working in order to protect their rights and freedom. They offer him evidence that organizations owned by the Empress herself organized the theft of his money and store. The weapons shop organization restores his stolen property, and he quietly joins their resistance to the state.