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guns in books

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Jim_100, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. Jim_100

    Jim_100 Member

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    I recently read a Clive Cussler book about some crazy Cossack guy. In the book Clive describes a CAR as an M-16 style rifle that is able to shoot a bullet without a cartridge to save space and weight. He also refers to another hand gun as being .9 mm. Twice. I thought it was 9 mm not .9
    I know this is no schocking revelation that authors get stuff wrong but it still bugs me. This guy is able to pay for a weapons person to edit. However if I am just in the dark about a caseless m-16 and .9 I retire as an idiot.
     
  2. JN01

    JN01 Member

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    I'm a fan of Stephen King, but he's not much better on firearms.

    In his latest, Under the Dome, one of the characters uses a Beretta Taurus 92.

    He has also written about flipping off the safety on revolvers.

    He's used technical consultants for various other aspects of stories, but on guns, he remains clueless. Drives me nuts.
     
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    You want good gun detail in books? Stephen Hunter.
     
  4. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    Must have been a Hong Kong Police contract Webley. There have been a few wheelguns with safeties, but yeah, this is a very common flub among writers.
     
  5. Dulvarian

    Dulvarian Member

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    On a side note, the #1 and #2 also joined 2 years apart to the date.

    I feel a little smug for about two seconds, then I get sad that someone make so little of an attempt at something that is not very difficult. It is the same exact reaction I have when the media makes their ridiculous claims on firearms.

    Take that 'massive weapon cache' thread floating around. It would seem a lot more sinister to me if the media story was cold and factual and drew the attention toward all of the minor points... like the fact that he had maps of military installation(s) and some circumstantial evidence that pointed to radical 'jihadi-ness'. As it stands, the sensationalism just draws the eye away from the real topic. Oh, and if you have to tell me that it was 'zomg an arsenal' just tell me how many it was. I can decide for myself if it is a lot.

    (My personal definition of a 'lot' happens to be more than a 'few'.)
     
  6. garyhan

    garyhan Member

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    I can't understand why authors make such errors either. As you say, someone knowlegeable could edit the silly mistakes: or the author could simply stick to what he understands. I would much rather read "He pointed his gun at me" than "He pointed the 8m/m Luger revolver at me and snicked off the two safeties". If you don't know what you're talking about, keep it general.

    gary
     
  7. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Part of Cussler's writing style is to invent his own technology with colorful names. There is also no such thing as a South African "Felo" gun that fires sharpened metal discs, a "Hocker-Rodine" automatic pistol, a "Casper" hypersonic reconaissance aircraft, or a "Satan" anti-ship missile, just to name a few examples that have appeared in his work. He also likes to insert himself into a story. :D

    That could be an editing or printing error.
     
  8. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Let's not forget Ian Fleming giving 007 James Bond a Beretta .25 caliber to fend off villains of the free world.....later he changed Bonds gun to a PPK.

    Then there was the "Man with the Golden Gun".....Fleming's use of custom made 23 carat golden bullets with nickel trace elements were manufactured for the gun by Eastern expert Portugese gunsmith Lazar. It fired single shot 23 carat 4.2 mm golden bullets with nickel trace elements.
     
  9. Archie

    Archie Member

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    Guns in Books.

    My favorite gun mentioned in a fiction story appeared in James Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In one day dream, Mitty admits his ability to score hits at 300 yards with his off hand - firing his .50-80 Webley-Vickers. I know next to nothing about Thurber, but that has to be a send up.

    Second favorite: (from The Hitchhiker's Guide tothe Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams)
    Okay, they're not real and they're not mistakes. I find inventive fiction much more acceptable than downright error.
     
  10. zstephens13

    zstephens13 Member

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    In Stephen King's defense, beretta did sell the rights or factory or whatever to Taurus down in brazil. This is from Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge:

    "A large contract for the Beretta 92 was with the Brazilian army, for which Beretta set up a factory in Brazil. This factory was later sold to the Brazilian gunmaker Taurus. Taurus makes these pistols (called the PT92) without the need for a license from Beretta since their design is based on the original Beretta 92, whose patents have since expired."

    He could have meant a Brazilian made Beretta 92. I wouldn't know, I'm only on page 173. :)
     
  11. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Member

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    I loathe Clive Cussler's writing style. His lack of aviation knowledge is just about as bad as his lack of firearm knowledge. That being said, noone makes me by his books, so it's not like I really care either. I just avoid books like that.
     
  12. danprkr

    danprkr Member

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    Those along with some of his political views about the environment caused me to quit reading him also.
     
  13. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    On the other hand, writers like Elmore Leonard usually get it right. For example "The Hot Kid" a pulp story about a '20's and '30's U.S. Marshall with lots of period correct references like his hero's preference for a Colt .38 in a .45 frame (.38 Super?). Getting his Dad a Krag-Jorgensen because he fought in the Spanish American war only to have his Dad correct him "I was a Huntington's Marine, I carried a Lee rifle."

    Kudos to writing about what you know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  14. Zoidberg523

    Zoidberg523 Member

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    Somewhat off topic, but while we are talking about firearm faux pas, the most irritating for me is the portrayal of guns in cartoons. Yes, I know, they are cartoons, and by their very nature should not be realistic, but there is just no excuse for drawing a revolver that ejects spent cartridge casings after each shot like an autoloader (as happened on Family Guy)... :scrutiny:

    In fact, while I enjoy that show, they constantly portray guns and gun owners in a bad light (especially when it comes to things like gun play, and especially concerning the character "Joe", [who plays a cop, for those of you unfamiliar with the show]).
     
  15. Tamren

    Tamren Member

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    I haven't read a Clive Cussler book since the one where some US Special forces in Antarctica had a "Nasty looking combination Assault Rifle, missile launcher, grenade launcher."

    If you want a fun book where the author got firearms right, check out "Monster Hunter International" by Larry Correia. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's a member of THR. And if he happens to see this post, I'd like to know if there's an MHI 2 in the works yet.....

    David Weber also does a pretty good job of portraying firearms realistically, that is when he's writing about primitive realistic weapons that still use that ancient stuff smokeless powder :p. I think the Honor Harrington series is one of the few books where the main character cleans her replica antique (implied 1911) .45 after every use.

    However, the most knowledgeable gun and military author on my book shelf is David Drake. He even wrote his Hammer's Slammer's and some other short stories as part of mentally recovering from being deployed in Vietnam. Some of the most horrific and possibly most realistic battle scenes out of any books I've read.
     
  16. HunterBear71

    HunterBear71 Member

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    Cormac McCarthy gets it right in No Country For Old Men. Stephen King is great but he really is gun illiterate.
     
  17. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    I give some writers a pass... but when a TECHNO THRILLER writer (Clancy) or SPY writer (Ludlum) or CRIME writer (Cross) gets something wrong it irks me.

    That would be a Colt New Service (.45 Colt frame) in .38 Special (hi-speed) or if its a Smith, a 38/44. I just read The Hot Kid not too long ago, and remember thinking Leonard was pretty good with his guns. Those .38 hi-speed loads were the precourser to the 357 magnum and were VERY hot in their day, and very popular with law enforcement.
     
  18. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Agreed, as well as in cases where an entire plot point revolves around an item of gun lore. In Clancy's Executive Orders the S&W 1076 fires stainless steel-cased ammunition. :scrutiny: This still does not detract materially from the rest of the novel, which is my favorite of his.
     
  19. ClayInTX

    ClayInTX Member

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    When some writers get “big” they use staff to write books in their style in order to get another one out while the market is hot for them while they make personal appearances and autograph sessions instead of pounding keys.

    This is very prevalent in the “generic” markets, such as romances, westerns, and action/adventure. Usually the first book by a big name writer (gonna become big name at that point) is fairly accurate but when these get written by staff the “big name” doesn’t always proof the work completely. This is not to say all the gonna-bees get it right the first time.

    A key phrase, or saying, in the world of fiction writing is “temporary suspension of disbelief” on the part of the reader. It’s when we encounter obvious errors that this suspension become unsuspended and ruins the rest of the book.

    Guns are a real problem for some writers. In science fiction or Hollywood anything goes.
     
  20. Scott30

    Scott30 Member

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    Saw a TV show last night where the commentator said the store owner grabbed his "8mm Glock" to fend off the robbers. Sometimes I think the mistakes are on purpose.
     
  21. GunsAmerica Fan

    GunsAmerica Fan Member

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    OMG Archie I can't believe you mentioned Walter Mitty. I had to write an essay on that for my girlfriend for college and that was exactly what I was thinking when I read the first post on this thread. Pocketa pocketa lmao. We had to take out all the gun stuff from the essay because the teacher would know I wrote it. :)
     
  22. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I've read westerns where the characters thumb shells into a .36 caliber Navy Colt too.
    I've also read about them levering a new round into a .50 Sharps.
    Drives me crazy. If you're going to write about something, know what you're talking about. It wouldn't take ten minutes on the internet to find these things out.
     
  23. Mikhail Weiss

    Mikhail Weiss Member

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    Because their editors don't know any better, either.

    Sometimes they are, either to demonstrate the ignorance of the character(s) involved, or because the work isn't serious to begin with (ergo the earlier-mentioned Family Guy episode).
     
  24. okespe04

    okespe04 Member

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    Cormac McCarthy gets it right in all his books.
     
  25. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Member

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    "I put my .44 magnum pistol with a silencer inside my waistband ... "

    He lost me right there.
     
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