The Dark Tower and Ruger


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Flashpoint
September 30, 2004, 03:51 PM
I've been listening to the audio book, The Dark Tower by Steven King, it 's a really good story, but something in the book has me wondering. At one point in the story, in about the late 60s, one of the characters gets ahold of a Ruger .44 auto pistol. I've done some seaches for this gun and have turned up nothing. Does this gun exist or is it just King's embelishment?

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Trebor
September 30, 2004, 04:03 PM
King doesn't know the first thing about firearms. I'm amazed at how many gunnies like "The Dark Tower," considering the wildly unrealistic firearms portrayal.

Btw, it's not just guns. King doesn't generally do much research and is known for all sorts of large and small errors in all sorts of topics. Generally, they don't bother me, if the story is good, but there are some whoopers of mistakes in his books.

SLCDave
September 30, 2004, 04:22 PM
I think in This Thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=86836&highlight=The+Dark+Tower) I came to the conclusion that you had to just accept that, in the world Jake came from, Ruger made a semi-auto .44, and in other worlds, there was Nozz-A-La Cola, the cola for discriminatind Bumhugs everywhere.... :D

mtnbkr
September 30, 2004, 04:34 PM
I'm reading the last book. There's already a mention of an 8 shot Colt SA revolver.

Still, it's a good series. :)

Chris

White Horseradish
September 30, 2004, 05:32 PM
Yeah, and Roland's guns are chambered in .22LR.

Well, the story is good, so I can live with that.

c_yeager
September 30, 2004, 05:36 PM
Well, the real answer is that King isnt real great on firearms knowledge. At least he chose the name of an ACTUAL manufacturer of firearms.

If you want to rationalize it you could argue that since the entire premise of the novel is the existence of parrallell (sp) universes that in the particular universe in which the Ruger .44 was acquired such a weapon actually exists.

Hell maybe in that universe ".44" is a really neat auto cartridge similar to .44spec or something.

mtnbkr
September 30, 2004, 05:47 PM
Yeah, and Roland's guns are chambered in .22LR.

Where'd you see that? I thought they had mentioned that it was a 45 or that the slugs were large. Nothing I read made me think it was a 22lr.

Chris

SLCDave
September 30, 2004, 05:54 PM
In "The Drawing of the Three" it mentions Roland obtaining ammo, and they were Colt 45 rounds, IIRC.

PromptCritical
September 30, 2004, 09:59 PM
A buddy of mine told me yesterday that ruger did in fact make an Automag type semi auto.

tc300mag1
September 30, 2004, 10:01 PM
They were winchester 45 rounds in the 3rd book

Dr.Rob
September 30, 2004, 10:32 PM
Which are missing, along with the two revolvers he picked up in New York from the cops at the start of book 4.

That was a big error, like rewinding and saying... no I don't want to end it thatw ay after all.

tulsamal
October 1, 2004, 12:00 AM
King doesn't generally do much research and is known for all sorts of large and small errors in all sorts of topics.

I don't agree with that. King does a lot of a real "meet the people" research when he writes a book. He spent months with troopers when he was writing From a Buick 8. He cares deeply about really understanding his characters. That's always been the best part of his books: you really come to know and care about the people in his books.

So how do we explain the fact that he gets so many gun facts wrong? I've got a theory! If he said things that were totally wrong we could just figure he didn't know or care about guns. But he gets right up next to the truth but then misses. It used to bug the heck out of me. He would talk about a rifle that "felt like" he was describing the .350 Remington Magnum. But he would call it the ".351 Magnum." Or that Ruger .44 "semi-auto pistol." These are the kinds of things most writers would keep straight just by looking at a Gun Digest. I've started to write him a letter several times but I haven't because I came to a conclusion: he's doing it on purpose.

Remember years ago when some kid went crazy and started shooting people and then they discovered he had recently read a King story like that? King took a lot of heat about writing stories that might "direct" teenagers in how to do something bad. I think he made a conscious decision to slightly change the guns in his stories. He tweaks what they are called or what caliber they are. And he does it so no one will do a John Hinckley with one of his stories. If some nut job goes to a gun store and asks for "one of those Ruger .44 semi-auto pistols" they will be met with a blank stare. Probably a good idea on his part.

Gregg

ZeroX
October 1, 2004, 12:12 AM
I remember that story, tulsa. I liked it a lot, actually. :uhoh:

But it could also just be some mistake in editing or some such.

tony4311
October 1, 2004, 12:53 AM
Which are missing, along with the two revolvers he picked up in New York from the cops at the start of book 4.

that always bugged me but I got over it pretty quick.
Picked up the final book last night myself :D

Trebor
October 1, 2004, 01:05 AM
tulsamal,

Re-read some King books and look at the little details. He may hang out with State Troopers and do other similiar research to get the broad idea of a topic, but he often gets the little details wrong. It's not just guns, it's all over the place whenever he gets overly specific. The guns jump out at us because that's what we are familiar with, but guys who are into cars have noted a bunch of errors and guys who are into flying have noticed some whoopers there, etc. It's a pattern since he started writing. He just guesses or makes up the details he needs on the fly and sometimes he's right and sometimes he's wrong.

The only example I can think of off the top of my head without digging through some books is when he calls a "Hurst shifter" a "Hearst" shifter in one of his books (maybe "Christine"?)

cracked butt
October 1, 2004, 02:39 AM
Don't knock King, he's far from being the only popular author who makes serious mistakes when writing about guns.

misANTHrope
October 1, 2004, 08:19 AM
In the final analysis, I don't read and love S. King books for lavish technical detail, or even casual technical detail. That's what the Tom Clancy & Stephen Coonts section of my bookshelf is for. I expext those guys to be technical. With King, I expect him to put me in the dark corners of his character's minds, and to understand them and why they do what they do. That's the beauty of King, and it takes more than a 44. Ruger auto to annoy me.

YMMV.

entropy
October 1, 2004, 09:14 AM
Clancy gets gun stuff wrong, too. There's a fine line between writers who know nothing about guns, like King; and writers like Jerry Ahern, who would spend a whole page on someone's gun, then another on the Alessi double shoulder holster....:rolleyes: Don't get me wrong, I like all three writers books, I prefer when a writer includes a glossary so those who know what an MP5A2 is can get on with the story, and those who don't can look it up.;)

Joe Demko
October 1, 2004, 11:21 AM
King tells a good story almost always, and a great story once in a while. You can count me in with the people who don't crack open a King novel looking for technical data.
As for his being a liberal, that shouldn't be a surprise when you consider that he came of age in the sixties. If it pleases you to screen your authors for ideological purity, more power to you, but I do not. Their political leanings do tend to color their world view; but unless the political values are the point of the novel, I don't find them too disturbing in an otherwise good story.
As I said in another thread here on this topic, King is fascinated by guns, but also seems to be a bit fearful of them and know only a little about them. FWIW, you can often hear errors greater than his come out of the mouths of people, some of them behind the counter, at gunstores and gunshows.

Feanaro
October 1, 2004, 12:15 PM
If you want to rationalize it you could argue that since the entire premise of the novel is the existence of parrallell (sp) universes that in the particular universe in which the Ruger .44 was acquired such a weapon actually exists.

The Wastelands was quite a bit ago but I seem to remember that Jake came from our universe. The universe with the Rose is ours, or so I gathered. But it has been a long time.

As for King missing details, meh. If I wanted to scrutinize everything all the time I would get a job involving microscopes. I have attempted to do some writing before and part of the fun of fiction is that you don't have to get everything right. If someone calls you out on XYZ fact, you can just say it's different in your world. Saves time and effort. ;)

Calhoun
October 1, 2004, 12:15 PM
Remember folks, Mr. King writes fiction. One of the perks of his job is that he can take liberties with facts. It's what makes a good story. The same thing goes with movies, TV, the talk around the water cooler at work, and most of the things said by politicans :neener:

I really enjoy his stories. If you haven't read it, check out The Stand. It's really long but worth the read. You'll never look ar someone coughing in public the same way again.

Calhoun

SLCDave
October 1, 2004, 01:45 PM
You'll never look ar someone coughing in public the same way again.

Man, that's the truth. I have a cold now, too...:uhoh:

Anytime I get sick, that's the first thing I think of!

Thumper
October 1, 2004, 01:56 PM
A buddy of mine told me yesterday that ruger did in fact make an Automag type semi auto.

Did you laugh at him a lot?

mec
October 1, 2004, 02:30 PM
King once came up with a Colt Woodsman in .38. He has had a long time to get some basic gun stuff right but isn't interested. On the other hand, he's no worse than Ian Fleming and seems to have better tastes in liquor and tobacco.

Firethorn
October 1, 2004, 05:34 PM
The Wastelands was quite a bit ago but I seem to remember that Jake came from our universe. The universe with the Rose is ours, or so I gathered. But it has been a long time.


I just read the first book, and I know that Roland didn't come from our universe. He's carrying revolvers in that, and given the sci-fi/fantasy/alt universe coming apart setting I'd forgive caliber errors.

A .44 Auto doesn't seem impossible at all. I've seen centerfire pistols in .25-.50. If you think about it, if John Browning had been born slightly later, he might have gone with a .44 instead of a .45, given the tendency to smaller faster calibers in later years. 4 parts .45, one part .40 perhaps. ;)

Thumper
October 1, 2004, 05:37 PM
.44 Auto doesn't seem impossible at all.

Of course not. There are thousands out there , but none of them are Ruger.

c_yeager
October 1, 2004, 09:09 PM
King once came up with a Colt Woodsman in .38. He has had a long time to get some basic gun stuff right but isn't interested. On the other hand, he's no worse than Ian Fleming and seems to have better tastes in liquor and tobacco.

The sad difference is that Fleming's books centered around the weapons for a large part. In kings books the weapons are just tools used by the characters and all the reader really needs to know is that they go *bang* and hopefully kill things.

Yes i like technical books too (clancy, dan brown, nance etc) but, i'm not reading King for the technical accuracy. I read him to get put into a place i would never have put myself otherwise and meybe get a little scared in the process. REally the only books that scared me spitless were IT, The Stand (in parts) and The Shinning. Of course i read them when i was a kid, but, i still lost a lot of sleep.

mec
October 1, 2004, 10:44 PM
You weren't alone. According to one King interview. Pet Sematary scared him so bad, he had a hard time finishing it. He used to have his wife look under the bed to make sure nothing was lurking there to get him.

c_yeager
October 2, 2004, 05:09 AM
You weren't alone. According to one King interview. Pet Sematary scared him so bad, he had a hard time finishing it. He used to have his wife look under the bed to make sure nothing was lurking there to get him.

Forgott all about that one, i remember reading it with a flashlight under the covers. I lost some major sleep for awhile.

Feanaro
October 2, 2004, 05:59 AM
I just read the first book, and I know that Roland didn't come from our universe. He's carrying revolvers in that, and given the sci-fi/fantasy/alt universe coming apart setting I'd forgive caliber errors.

Roland comes from another world, I know that.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS:





But I distinctly remember(Though I have distinctly remembered many things wrongly. Not even 30 and I'm senile already. :)) that Eddie, Jake, and Susannah all come from "our world." The world with the Rose is the sort of central, "real" world, or so I remember. Though at different times, of course. And Jakes gets the .44 semi-auto, made by Ruger, from his world, which is ours. Clear as mud. :D

c_yeager
October 2, 2004, 07:32 AM
But I distinctly remember(Though I have distinctly remembered many things wrongly. Not even 30 and I'm senile already. ) that Eddie, Jake, and Susannah all come from "our world."

It is implied that they come from our world. But not outright stated. In fact i believe that the characters have a discussion on this very idea in one of the books where they conclude that while their worlds are clearly similar they may in fact have been different. For example Susannah was either picked up in the 1960s OR from a world that closely resembled the 1960s of our world. So either they came from different versions of the real world OR Roland travelled through time as well as accross dimensions to pick up his companions.

I find that it is better to not think too much about Stephen Kings books or you end up going around in circles or not. The easiest explanation is that King doesnt know jack about guns. And i can accept that.

Josh
October 2, 2004, 02:27 PM
Listening to Song of Susannah right now.

I remember Roland's trip into the gunshop when he picked up more ammo for his revolvers.

He did pick up .45 Winchester.

Is that .45 ACP or .45 long Colt?

I imagine Roland's revolvers being .45LC.


Josh

sigman4rt
October 2, 2004, 07:25 PM
King is not real big on gun knowledge, he's also not real big on the 2nd ammendment and gun rights. He's spent a lot of time and money on anti gun causes. That is why I will no longer support him with a dime of my money. I buy his books used or yard sales. He lives about 60 miles from me in his gated house with his armed security guards but does'nt want me to have the right to protect myself. He and Rosie O'd on the same wavelength. It shames me to say I'm a native of the same state as him. Sad but true.

Wolfy
October 2, 2004, 08:41 PM
In book seven the last in the series he makes a reference to Thermopylae.

Here is the thread I started on it.


http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=103246

c_yeager
October 3, 2004, 04:26 AM
He's spent a lot of time and money on anti gun causes.

I'd like to see a source for this claim.

mec
October 3, 2004, 09:19 AM
A couple of years ago, he said something about the large number of guns being responsible for the big homocide numbers. I skipped the dark tower book that came out about that time. I read the most recent one and noticed that, at one point he talked kind of like one of us- compared the torpid unarmed mall crawlers to sheep.

Could be that he is largely indifferent to the subject. That would be a lot better than being one of those idiotic celebrity red brigade crusaders.

sigman4rt
October 3, 2004, 05:42 PM
What it comes down to, atbest he's middle of the road. The wife runs that house and she is rabidly anti-gun. So he, being the scared little boy you read about in so many of his books, does what she wants. She runs him like a pack of hounds on scent. Saw them both at an interview they did a couple years ago, it was almost embarrassing.But for whatever he spends a lot of time, money, and talk in support of left wing causes.

mec
October 3, 2004, 08:46 PM
It used to be understood- back when there was a dominate mainstream culture, that artists, writers actors and such were nuts and wierdos- attributes that caused them to think " outside the box" and come up with innovations that entertain and enrich the culture. Nobody much cared what they thought about practical matters. People gave them quite a bit of space to be wierd, amoral and scofflaw because nobody with any sense would accept them as role models.

Kings wife is (or was before the money came), a social worker. Social workers are very much like artists, writers, and actors except that they do not think or create, they are artless, cannot write and do not act beyond simple hystrionics.

c_yeager
October 4, 2004, 06:08 AM
Kings wife is (or was before the money came), a social worker. Social workers are very much like artists, writers, and actors except that they do not think or create, they are artless, cannot write and do not act beyond simple hystrionics.

30 seconds with Google would have shown you that "King's Wife", Tabitha King has been a published novelist since the 1980s. She may well have been a social worker (might still be for all i know). But the fact that she is clearly a writer as well proves that people don't really fit into the neat little boxes that you have constructed for them.

As far as King being anti-gun i would still like to see a source for that claim.

mec
October 4, 2004, 09:54 AM
You caught me. I got king's wife mixed up with the wife of Howard Stern. Neither Stephen King or Tabitha king appear on the NRA list of anti-gun celebrities
http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=15

Kind DID make a statement as an answer in an interview a few years ago relating violent crime to the widespread ownership of guns. He didn't expand the premise but it sounded like the beginning of an anti-gun preachment.

In the latest Dark Tower Book, he did make a statement about the Unarmed, un-alert, and sheep-like. This sounded like the beginning of a Pro- Gun preachement.

King was a 1970s hippie who turned into a writer who can turn a very net phrase and paint pictures in words. If he does begin crusading for gun control, I'll be too disgusted to keep on reading his stuff but, meanwhile I do not expect him to come across like a baby boomer with blue collar roots (me)- or a highly intellectual epistemologist like yourself.

Joe Demko
October 4, 2004, 12:11 PM
King has done his fair share of presenting guns in a favorable way, his ignorance of their specifics not withstanding. In The Stand, Stu arms himself with an army carbine after escaping from the medical laboratory, for example. There is also when the boys used the "borrowed" .45 to defend themselves in The Body. Even in The Dark Tower series, where we are given to understand that guns are something that only gunslingers have, we see plenty of "civilians" armed with (old) guns.
The thing about guns in King's stories is that many of his stories are set in a supernatural milieu where a firearm would be superfluous or the presence of a gun would defeat any possibility of suspense. For a writer in the horror/suspense genre, evoking those emotions trumps any need for "realism." What a THR member would do (bang!) when confronted with a menace, and what a Stephen King character would do isn't going to have much overlap for exactly that reason.
Failing some documentation of King's supposed anti-ism, I'm going to go with the idea that he is like so many Americans, and just doesn't have much of a commitment one way or the other.

c_yeager
October 5, 2004, 06:44 AM
This isnt even remotely conclusive and it most likely means nothing about the individuals themselves. But, their charatable foundation did give $25,000 to "Physicians for Social Responsibility" in 2000. And THOSE guys are hugely antigun in a nasty and pervasive way too. (source (http://www.activistcash.com/foundation.cfm/did/485) )

Also on that page you can see a sizable donation to Green Peace, which is another issue entirely.

Now the PSR, while antigun also has a strong environmental agenda, I do believe that Tabitha (and maybe Stephen) are big on "The Environment" and this is probably why they got the grant. But, if you want some kind of really strained link between Stephen King and an antigun agenda there you have it.

Personally,
I'm going to go with the idea that he is like so many Americans, and just doesn't have much of a commitment one way or the other.

I think this hits the nail squarely on the head.

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