The Weapon Makers: The Isher weapon shops shift from defense to offense

The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

The Weapon Makers (1943), currently nominated for a 1944 Retro Hugo award, is the sequel to the better-known The Weapon Shops of Isher. As discussed in my review of The Weapon Shops of Isher, A.E. van Vogt was fond of creating fix-up novels based on his earlier works, and the creation and publication history of both of these novels in his EMPIRE OF ISHER duology is complicated. The Weapon Shops of Isher was published in its final form in 1951, several years after The Weapon Makers, but The Weapon Makers is set several years after The Weapon S... Read More

Second Foundation: The poorest book in the trilogy

Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Without a doubt, Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Foundation and Empire left a mark on the genre. They've been read by generations of SF-fans and seven decades after the first Foundation story appeared in in Astounding magazine, the novels are still in print. They may have been the pinnacle of Golden Age SF, but I can't say I thought them great literature. The FOUNDATION novels are big on ideas, but Asimov's style is dreadfully direct and the previous books were in dire need of a good round of editing. Second Foundation is the final novel in the original trilogy. It contains two loosely connected stories. The first was originally published in Astounding in Janu... Read More

Foundation and Empire: One of Asimov’s better books

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

This is the second book in Isaac Asimov’soriginal FOUNDATION trilogy, which later became the FOUNDATION series. It first came out in book form in 1952, but it originally saw print in the form of two novellas, “Dead Hand” (originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, April, 1945) and “The Mule” (originally published in Astounding Science Fiction in November and December, 1945).

Like the first book in the series, Foundation, Foundation and Empire  isn’t a true novel, but rather a collection of linked stories. The first story in the book, “The General “ (renamed from its magazine title) tells the story of Bel Riose, a young, rising star military commander who is trying to make a name for... Read More