Need help identifying Ray Bradbury story

I was hoping some Ray Bradbury fans would be able to help me identify one of his short stories and if possible tell me which edition it was published in. All I can remember is that the main character found a strange type of gun in a curiosity shop. Not much to go on I know but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sure it’s a Bradbury? There’s a find-the-ancient-gun-in-ye-olde-curiosity-shoppe scene in The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester. I’ll bet there are a lot of stories set in the future (if the one you’re thinking of is) where a character finds an “ancient” revolver, and uses it because “modern” ray-guns and whatnot have been made useless by security devices.

The gun, it wouldn’t have been an early 20th Century Style Death Ray, would it? Sorry. Doesn’t sound like any RB I’ve read.

I don’t think this is a Bradbury story, either-- I’ve gone through six short story collections (I just noticed “The Veldt” is in every damn ONE of them) and this isn’t ringing any bells. For the record I don’t think this is a Stephen King, Harlan Ellison or Arthur C. Clarke, either. Still looking through my cllection of Kilgore Trout.

Not ringing a bell with me, either, and although I’m not the Bradbury fan I once was, I read a lot of his stories in my day, plus saw quite a few episodes of that TV series based on his stories.

jastu, give us some more information. When did you read this story? How old were you at the time? Was it in a Ray Bradbury anthology or in an anthology with works by many authors? Can you tell us anything else about the anthology? Was it paperback or hardback? Did you buy it or check it out of a library? Where were you at the time and how old was the anthology? If you don’t remember the name of the anthology, do you remember any other stories in the anthology? How certain are you that it’s a Ray Bradbury story? Can you tell us anything else about the story?

As a title I’m pulling “Weapons Shop” by A. E. van Vogt out of my memory, but not the story itself. Maybe?

The story was dramatized on TV. I think it had a cowboy setting and I can recall nothing else than some young man bought it.

No doubt the consequences were extreme.

Sounds a little trite for Bradbury, though.

Here’s the Ray Bradbury Theater Episode Guide. Some episodes are described in more detail than others.

Inless this was on some other anthology TV show like Dark Room or The Outer Limits…?

jastu, is this not a short story you read but an episode of some TV show that you think came from a Bradbury short story? It would have helped if you had mentioned that to start with. I wish people who ask “What’s this story?” or “What’s this movie?” questions would realize that we can answer them better if they give us all the details they remember rather than one isolated detail.

here is a pretty complete list of Bradbury’s writings.

I would like to thank all of you who took the time to try and help me with this.

I was actually asking for a girlfriend who knew I liked Bradbury and had asked me for help. It took me some time to get more information from her. She said that she couldn’t find it amongst her Bradbury collection but thought it seemed like one of his. She doesn’t think it’s the Bester novel and although the Van Vogt story sounds good, it has an entirely different plot.

The only information she can remember is that -

  1. it’s a short story
  2. it turned up in one of those sci fi or fantasy collections of the 40’s
  3. it has a man going into a shop where he finds shelves of strange objects, metal, and referred to by the author as doodads or doohickies or some such, he selects one which turns out to be a gun.

That is all she can remember.

There were very few science fiction anthologies published in the 1940’s. There were a couple edited by Groff Conklin:

There was also Adventures in Time and Space edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas, which you can also find by searching in the ISFDb. Neither the Conklin anthologies of the 1940’s nor the Healy and McComas volume contain a Bradbury story. I find it unlikely, though, that jastu’s girlfriend accurately remembers the date of the anthology. If someone wants to search through all anthologies of the 1940’s and 1950’s, say, to find the story (which probably isn’t by Bradbury after all), go ahead.

I think that is the name of the story that ran in Astounding in the '40s, but it and its sequels got collected in “The Weapon Shops of Isher.” The plot concerns time traveling weapons shops which allow people to buy guns to go against an empire, but it gets really complicated (intensely recomplicated) like most van Vogt books of the period.

I don’t remember any Bradbury story on that theme.

I don’t remember Bradbury being anthologized very much in the '40s. He only got popular with the Martian Chronicles stories. I’ll look through my Conklin collection, and Adventures in Time and Space, to see if I can find it, but I believe The Weapons Shop did get anthologized in one of them.

I swear the combination of the brief story description and mention of Adventures in Time and Space is causing a faint bell to ring in my head. I’ll look tonight. Don’t worry, jastu, geeks are on the case.

The mysterious shop that sells magic or miracles or is from the future or isn’t there when you look for it again or whatever is such a trope that it has its own entry in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Without better info, there are too many possibilities.

I’ll try one more, anyhow. It’s in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, edited by Anthony Boucher, which is from 1959. But as Wendell Wagner says, there were so few sf anthologies published in the 1940s (Did you know that one is by Orson Welles?) that the 50s are a better bet.

The story is from 1955. The [Widget], The [Wadget], and Boff by Theodore Sturgeon.

The anthology also has van Vogt’s The Weapon Shops of Isher as an interesting coincidence.

Unfortunately the online Index to Science Fiction Anthologies and Collections is broken; at least the chronological index goes to an alphabetical list of authors instead.

I’m sure it was in a magazine first, so I’ll look in my Day index. That should at least tell if there is a Bradbury story with a likely title.

How familiar is this person with Bradbury? I’m having a hard time believing anyone can mix a Bradbury story up with either Sturgeon or van Vogt. Their styles clash just a bit.

I asked over at SFF World, and someone suggested that it might have come from a collection called The Store of Infinity by Robert Sheckley.

Here’s the table of contents:

The Prize of Peril
The Humours
The Minimum Man
If the Red Slayer
The Store of the Worlds
The Gun Without a Bang
The Deaths of Ben Baxter

A couple of likely sounding titles there.

I just flipped through my copy and none of the stories looked close to right, not even The Store of the Worlds or The Gun Without a Bang.