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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Correia on guns, etc

An interview on guns in fiction:
Ryan: What are the common pitfalls in fiction where it’s clear that the author has never held or fired a modern firearm?

Larry: It isn’t just guns, but any topic where the reader is an expert and the author is clueless. The problem is that when you write something that the reader knows is terribly wrong, it kicks them right out of the story and ruins the experience for them. Guns are especially hard because they are super common in fiction, and there are tons of readers who know about them.

Most of these really glaring errors can be taken care of with a little bit of cursory research. Technical things can be taken care of by a few minutes on the manufacturer’s webpage, which will keep your characters from dramatically flipping off the safety on a gun that doesn’t have one.

Beyond that, however, is the actual use of the gun. The character using it should have a realistic amount of knowledge based on their skill, knowledge, ability, and training. If you are gong to be writing about a character who is a professional gunslinger, then you need to do some research to make sure that person does what a professional gunslinger would do.
And speaking of Larry Correia, Daniel somehow manages to abuse a writer at the Atlantic even more comprehensively than Larry's customary prison-raping of various Guardian contributors in The Wrong Corpse and the Highbrow Coroner:
Noah Berlatsky at The Atlantic declares science fiction dead of terminal nostalgia:

    Poor George Orwell wants his panopticon back.

He also quotes an important fresh voice in science fiction that:

“we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.”

Then he spends the rest of the article writing about Marvel comic books and their related movies.

The thesis, that science fiction has lost its way in a retrospective swamp of camp nostalgia for Star Wars, Star Trek and comic books is a bait-and-switch, however:

    Science fiction is everywhere in popular culture, and it seems like it’s managed to be everywhere in the present by largely jettisoning the future.

Berlatsky has switched terms on the reader. He isn’t talking about science fiction as a genre, he’s complaining about pop culture, as if that has anything to do with the core idea factory of science fiction, which, and always has been, books.

It does not.

If the reader needs any more confirmation, the critic’s only example of a “current” science fiction writer whose ideas run counter to the prison of pop culture is…Octavia Butler, a prog-writer who has been dead for nearly a decade, and whose most prominent work is more than thirty years past its publication date.
The ironic thing is that Berlatsky may well have a credible defense in resorting to the example chosen. The corpse of the late Octavia Butler, as it rots and feeds the worms, is arguably producing more interesting, less noxious output than are the Pink SF writers giving each other awards these days.

Labels:

67 Comments:

Anonymous Bob Ramar December 17, 2014 7:16 AM  

One of the more amusing errors I have seen is in "Dr. No" by Ian Fleming. In it, Quarrel is using a Remington revolver against the 'dragon' sent out by Dr. No to capture Bond and Quarrel.

Anonymous Ralph December 17, 2014 7:36 AM  

@ Bob Ramar: Can you elaborate on what the error is? Remington does make revolvers and why wouldn't a panicked man fire a gun at something even if the gun has no hope of being effective?

Blogger Joshua Dyal December 17, 2014 7:59 AM  

I'm always fascinated by the rejection of the past, and what motivates it. So what if pop culture "sci fi" is ridden with space opera and comic book memes and conventions that are decades old? When I first discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs, his best works were already nearly 80 years old, and they were still as fresh and exciting to me then as they were when they were first published. For example.

For that matter, the same thing happened when I first read the Iliad.

"Forward looking" is often no more than a dog-whistle for "progressive" which in turn is a dog whistle for cultural Marxist.

Which, of course, is an idea that's now well over a century old.

Blogger RC December 17, 2014 8:08 AM  

I was once repairing my oldest son's Daisy BB gun. There was a robin in the yard and I thought it'd be fun to make it fly off. I aimed two yards ahead of the bird and shot. Instead of flying off, the bird fell over dead. Upon inspection, I'd hit it directly in the right eye, the shot having curved in, a special feature of that fine weapon. So, if I ever encountered a monster and all I had was a BB gun, I'd shoot at it.

I've only read one of Correia's books and nothing about the technical aspects of the story took me out of it; rather, it was the fact that his heros repeatedly gather or possess just barely what they need to survive throughout the story - just barely, nearly every time. That's not for me, but the man sells books. Good for him.

Anonymous WinstonWebb December 17, 2014 8:23 AM  

In The Walking Dead: The Fall of The Governor Part1, Martinez uses a .357 Magnum revolver...with a silencer.

Blogger Tank December 17, 2014 8:34 AM  

The problem is that when you write something that the reader knows is terribly wrong, it kicks them right out of the story and ruins the experience for them

Exactly.

If it happens once, you shake your head. After two or three times, you throw the book away.

Anonymous PA December 17, 2014 8:43 AM  

Tom Wolfe famously depicted the early-2000s big college scene very accurately in "I Am Charlotte Simmons"... except for the part where he had frat partiers jamming to Brittney Spears.

Anonymous Bob Ramar December 17, 2014 9:08 AM  

Ralph: At the time "Dr. No" was written (mid-1950's), Remington was not making pistols. They made cap and ball revolvers during the 1860's and 1911 automatics during WW2 under contract to Colt.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 17, 2014 9:18 AM  

Before you react badly to what you perceive as a weapon error you better be very sure what you know is actually correct or complete.

There are a lot of weapons out there with mechanisms that you've likely never seen before. There are also many weapon types that you would not normally associate with the manufacturer that actually made them.
Either the mechanism was superceded by something better years or decades before you were born or only a set of prototypes were ever made. Either way it disappeared down the memory hole so thoroughly that even enthusiasts don't know about it.

Just because it isn't currently being made does not mean it has never been made. And just because it has never been made in America does not mean is has never been made.

www.forgottenweapons.com

What I've learned over the past few years is that there's some really weird stuff out there and I'm constantly being surprised by something new but is only new to me.

Anonymous Ignorance IS Strength December 17, 2014 9:28 AM  

Pimping Orwell, then using words and language incorrectly and deceitfully to further what is a cultural and political agenda. You can't make this irony sh*t up.

Anonymous Ralph December 17, 2014 9:28 AM  

Along similar lines, I was kicked out of the story in Old Mans War when the big bad drill seargent who hated everything felt the need to preemptively apologise to homos. It was so out of character it was jarring.

Anonymous Squirrel stew yum December 17, 2014 9:50 AM  

I was once repairing my oldest son's Daisy BB gun. There was a robin in the yard and I thought it'd be fun to make it fly off. I aimed two yards ahead of the bird and shot. Instead of flying off, the bird fell over dead. Upon inspection, I'd hit it directly in the right eye, the shot having curved in, a special feature of that fine weapon.

When I grew up in Tennessee, the boys used BB guns to shoot squirrels in the eye. And into the pot they went...

Anonymous The other skeptic December 17, 2014 10:05 AM  

Speaking of new writers, I purchased The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo develops Space Drives last night and was disappointed.

Oh, that's not its actual name. A Sword into Darkness, I think.

Blogger Giraffe December 17, 2014 10:07 AM  

Stephen Hunter had some stupidity in Point of Impact.

Blogger JP December 17, 2014 10:14 AM  

I recently read a book about some sort of marine commander and his sexy secretary escaping from an underground base. It was actually kind of good, until they wound up in Israel and while running away from unkown attackers, a grenade blast sends him tumbling head over heals into a 1st-storey apartment. If it wasn't the Kindle edition, I'd have flung the book FROM my 1st-Storey apartment.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 17, 2014 10:18 AM  

" GiraffeDecember 17, 2014 10:07 AM
Stephen Hunter had some stupidity in Point of Impact. "



This I gotta hear. Purdy please.

Anonymous Amadan December 17, 2014 10:18 AM  

To me, the more glaring error in Dr. No was when the author refers to sharks as reptiles.

Blogger tz December 17, 2014 10:22 AM  

Larry: It isn’t just guns, but any topic where the reader is an expert and the author is clueless. The problem is that when you write something that the reader knows is terribly wrong, it kicks them right out of the story and ruins the experience for them.

This was my main problem with Throne of Bones, every time the "church" came up. Enough detail copied from Roman Catholic practice, but some hideous error or distortion or wrong context.

The excuse of "in my universe that kind of gun was different" wouldn't hold if you wrote in lots of specific details of a specific model the reader has as his CCW. Same for me with the broken references to the church.

But the most important thing - Vox once mentioned he would like to write something as engaging as Dune - is these things break the spell, the flow, the immersion in that universe. Errors (including spelling and grammar, as well as technical ones) cause the reader to return to this world in an instant. And I'm giving my full attention - hours of it at a time - and I can do so (proofread!) at over 200wpm. I'm not skimming at 600-800, I miss too much detail. I'm putting forth effort to seriously read. The only thing I ask is not to break the spell with egregious errors, even if the plot, characters, etc. are mediocre and not excellent. Even the most excellent plot, character development, etc. is broken by such errors.

The other usual way to break the spell is fade-to-gray. The best example is the overly technical chapter that should be a passage. X shot Y is turned into a treatise and includes the last time and method the gun was cleaned, minutiae about the holster, the color of the box of bullets . Zzzz. Even if I'm interested and learning, "Handguns for Dummies" inserted into the text kills the excitement and breaks the spell at some point.

A final one is an abrupt change in style, going from 3rd to 1st person as an example.

If I have a criticism of Castalia House, it is that they don't seem to care about such, only that it is blue and not pink. They don't bother to proofread. A good editor can make a great author from a good one.

Anonymous Daniel December 17, 2014 10:34 AM  

It really only bothers me when it is too detailed and wrong. For example, when two characters are arguing technical details, I don't care if I notice an inaccuracy: people are wrong all the time in conversations. Or if a character-especially one ignorant of guns- "sees" someone take the safety off of a gun that doesn't have a safety. Point of view really makes a difference.

The stuff with the grenade explosion is a symptom of the movies. It would have been more exciting and more realistic for the grenade to go off somewhere behind the character and for him - in a daze - to find himself standing inside the apartment, with shattered glass all around.

The book doesn't have to tell you that he simply ran through a sliding glass door in fear for his life. The ignorant reader can think it was something with the off-target grenade, while the credulous one can fill in the narrative realistically.

There is some accurate writing that can be tedious, too: details that seem to exist only to demonstrate the author's mastery.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 17, 2014 10:39 AM  

...flipping off the safety on a gun that doesn’t have one.

Or thumbing back the hammer on a Glock. I remember reading that one.

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 10:41 AM  

This was my main problem with Throne of Bones, every time the "church" came up. Enough detail copied from Roman Catholic practice, but some hideous error or distortion or wrong context.

Can you provide some examples?

Anonymous ZhukovG December 17, 2014 10:44 AM  

I didn't recall any shootouts among the clerics in TOB.

On a more serious note, as a Roman Catholic I had no issues with TOB. It's a fantasy that includes some cultural reference to Classical Rome. I was pleased that the TOB Church was not a carbon copy of the RC Church.

Blogger LordSomber December 17, 2014 10:55 AM  

This is the "gun" version of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect:

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”


― Michael Crichton

Anonymous Giuseppe December 17, 2014 11:02 AM  

David Baldacci has a . 44 Magnum S&W semi-auto pistol in his excretable sex-slaves from Mexico story. I thought I was maybe out of touch and S&W had maybe done one of those recently, but no. Still just the automag, and desert eagle and one other whose name I always forget that looks like a 1911 on steroids.
The book was crappy enough as it was but that was enough to tell me David doesn't bother with basic stuff for his gung-ho army ranger main character...not reading another book by him.

Blogger Krul December 17, 2014 11:11 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Krul December 17, 2014 11:12 AM  

Joshua Dyal - So what if pop culture "sci fi" is ridden with space opera and comic book memes and conventions that are decades old?

Sure, SciFi and Fantasy may have silly conventions, comic book memes, space opera cliches, etc. But they have something in abundance that no other genre has.

Do you know what that is?

Bellies.

Enjoy.

Anonymous Giuseppe December 17, 2014 11:16 AM  

Krul,
That's actually why we keep writing!

Anonymous Daniel December 17, 2014 11:25 AM  

They don't bother to proofread. A good editor can make a great author from a good one.

This is not accurate. Being a digital-first publisher, they not only proofread in the traditional (if not formal) sense, but they welcome errata lists and make corrections to the copy with far more frequency than traditional publishers.

Also, upon looking fairly carefully at paperbacks from the "golden edit" age, the typos and inaccuracy of the old stuff were just as obvious as they are today. I wonder if the contemporary eye has been trained by spellcheck to be more sensitive and bothered by what are otherwise inconsequential errors.

Don't get me wrong: my own typos, etc. annoy the hell out of me, and I owe it to someone who is bothering to take the time to read my stuff to present work without error. On the other hand, I can't think of a single book that I have ever set aside due to mechanics. Generally, there's got to be something more wrong with it than a poorly described gun or the occasional typo.

I think I got one of the earliest print versions of TOB, and the errors in it were far less than the original print edition of Game of Thrones (I have no idea if later printings have corrected them, but the original was literally riddled with them: enough of a distraction that I thought it might be a literary ploy at first. Once I realized it was just typos, I ignored and moved on.)

I read GoT when it came out - not necessarily 1st edition, but an early edition.

Anonymous . December 17, 2014 11:26 AM  

David Baldacci has a . 44 Magnum S&W semi-auto pistol in his excretable sex-slaves from Mexico story.

Excretable? If it's that bad, I don't want to eat it, let alone shit it out afterwards.

Anonymous HalibetLector December 17, 2014 11:28 AM  

The problem is that when you write something that the reader knows is terribly wrong, it kicks them right out of the story and ruins the experience for them

Exactly.

If it happens once, you shake your head. After two or three times, you throw the book away.


I find myself throwing more and more books away these days. Same with TV and movies. As soon as the cultural marxist programming rears its head more than once in a story, I'm out. I used to be able to just ignore it and enjoy the story, but I seem to be losing my tolerance for it.

read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read.

This is something I've noticed the boomers are especially good at. Whenever a local news story gets something wrong, my parents know and are quick to complain that they never get anything right. Then they take the entire rest of the news broadcast at face value. Drives me up the wall every damned time.

Anonymous Michael Maier December 17, 2014 11:29 AM  

WinstonWebb December 17, 2014 8:23 AM In The Walking Dead: The Fall of The Governor Part1, Martinez uses a .357 Magnum revolver...with a silencer.


If memory serves, Ludlum did the same in The Chancellor Manuscript. Maybe it was the first Bourne Identity. Not sure, but the scene was in a limo.

Even as a non-gun nut, it pissed me off.

Blogger Chris Mallory December 17, 2014 11:30 AM  

"Remington was not making pistols. They made cap and ball revolvers during the 1860's"

They also made cartridge revolvers with the models 1875, 1888, and 1890.
So, it is conceivable that one made it's way to the Caribbean during the Spanish American War and was picked up by a fisherman/fixer like Quarrel in some back alley trade a few decades later.

Anonymous Giraffe December 17, 2014 11:35 AM  

This I gotta hear. Purdy please.

All right. The whole 10 black king thing was kind of stupid. Old guns are not necessarily better than new ones. The idea that it had to be the tenth black king because no other rifle in the world could do it is just stupid. He used the Winchester model 70. Which is known as the rifleman's rifle. Made famous by the controlled round feeding which made them reliable. But while they were accurate enough, they were not usually known for great accuracy. There's a reason that most bench rest rifles used to be built on the model of rifle that Nate hates. Because they are easy make very accurate.

There was a point in one of the books where he is making head shots at something like 400 yards on moving targets at an impossible rate. Come on. He was using a mini 14 too, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, the books weren't too bad, and perhaps I used a bad example. Most of my gripes are pretty minor, but they did stand out at the time, even if I don't remember them all that well now.

Jerry Miculek has since shown me that there maybe are people who just are that good.

Lee Child is especially bad with guns. In one book, Reacher is saved because a gun had been stored cocked in a desk drawer so it wouldn't fire because the spring went bad. Stupid. Spring technology is pretty good for about the last century.

In another book, he has a sniper wasting the "cold bore shot" because it isn't reliable.. Wrong. The cold bore shot is the one that is reliable and the point of impact will wander as the barrel heats. I think he may have had that in two books.

Anyway, I didn't want to admit I read Lee Child.

Anonymous AlteredFate December 17, 2014 11:38 AM  

If something as easily verified as gun details are getting botched, then there are other matters that must be wholly wrong. As an example, I suspect that in fantasy lit much of the details and behavior of various breeds of horses, a subject constantly visited, is completely wrong. I no nothing of horses, but my suspecions come from the fact that the typical fatass, city dwelling, sfwa author has likely not spent much time in the saddle. If the verifiable subject matter was looked at in most of fiction, I'd bet a good portion of the details are wrong. But then it is fiction. Just shows the author doesn't care much

Anonymous Stilicho December 17, 2014 11:52 AM  

OT: was reading one of John C. Wright's posts this morning and came across this gem:

Why are the elite so out of touch with the common man? The common man comes from the common experience of Christendom, and Christendom combined Jewish faith with Greek rational philosophy and Roman civic virtue. The dehumanist who rejects all authority must indeed reject that most demanding of authorities, Christ, and finds he cannot reject Christ without rejecting also faith, reason and virtue.

Blogger pyrrhus December 17, 2014 12:01 PM  

OT: I have greatly enjoyed Riding the Red Horse, both the fiction and non-fiction parts! Will post a review on Amazon.

Blogger JartStar December 17, 2014 12:02 PM  

Clancy is the one who got the ball rolling on techo-geeks discussing minute details of a story involving military tech and guns in general. I think storytelling is better for the change.

Anonymous Daniel December 17, 2014 12:02 PM  

I no nothing of horses, but my suspecions come from the fact that the typical fatass, city dwelling, sfwa author has likely not spent much time in the saddle.

And here is where I think you may be mistaking expertise with knowledge (or perhaps I am misunderstanding you). An author only needs enough knowledge to pass in the things he describes.

For example:

A long tube that makes fire, then a bang.

AND

The Multi-Role Adaptive Design Sniper Rifle fires a .338 Lapua Magnum with a modular barrel system and an ambidextrous magazine release.

Can describe the exact same gun accurately. If the first one is from the perspective a Marine, and he's not being ironic or goofy, it is bad description. But if the second one is from the perspective of a time-travelling caveman standing next to the gun (therefore not at a distance where the little muzzle flash comes before the sound) , it is also bad description.

Especially in science fiction and fantasy, the author by definition will not have first hand experience in casting spells or piloting a rocket. One of the most heavily researched novels I can think of on the technical side is Apollo at Go! and it gets plenty of its educated guesses wrong (the landing site, the microasteroids, and other dramatic elements were concerns before launch, but turned out to be unfounded fears), and it doesn't hurt the story one bit, because it reads well.

Most expert horsemen, in other words, are mastering horses, not fiction books. Correia is a gift to gun nuts, because he gets his guns right, but I don't think you have to be as good at guns as Correia to write good gun books. Of course, if you don't like guns, you really shouldn't write gun novels.

Anonymous Heh December 17, 2014 12:02 PM  

Why are the elite so out of touch with the common man? The common man comes from the common experience of Christendom, and Christendom combined Jewish faith with Greek rational philosophy and Roman civic virtue. The dehumanist who rejects all authority must indeed reject that most demanding of authorities, Christ, and finds he cannot reject Christ without rejecting also faith, reason and virtue.

Also, they are assholes.

Anonymous Meh December 17, 2014 12:06 PM  

I didn't want to admit I read Lee Child.

I like guns. I own them. I also like the Reacher books. They're not faultless... but few things are.

The latest book was merely adequate, unfortunately.

Blogger pyrrhus December 17, 2014 12:09 PM  

"This is the "gun" version of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect."

As a former chess tournament player and master, my friends usually cut out NYT articles on chess and give them to me. In some cases, it has rapidly become clear that the writer has no idea of even the rules of chess, and has obviously made up parts of the interviews.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 17, 2014 12:11 PM  

Don't get me wrong: my own typos, etc. annoy the hell out of me, and I owe it to someone who is bothering to take the time to read my stuff to present work without error. On the other hand, I can't think of a single book that I have ever set aside due to mechanics.

Same here. I'm kind of obsessive about grammar myself (stuff like "Everyone had their own opinion" still makes my teeth hurt, even though everyone does it now), so every typo or mistake that I notice is somewhat jarring, but they're inevitable. I've never read a book in which I didn't spot a few, but typos would never make me stop reading an otherwise good story.

Blogger njartist December 17, 2014 12:14 PM  

The common American man comes from the common experience of Christendom, and Christendom combined with Israelite faith.
Fixed it.

Jew/Judeo- refers to the Talmudic religion: the mystical religion of Babylon.

This nation was founded by Protestants - founding their faith on the Bible; not Rome and not the traditions of the elders.

The continent - not some damned island - was claimed by John Cabot in the name of God, England, and France in direct contradiction of the Pope who gave the New World to Spain and Romanism. Hint: here is an institutional reason why the Romanists are so eager for Mexicans and other South Americans to invade the united States.

Anonymous Giraffe December 17, 2014 12:19 PM  

Well, I like Child too, and I own most of his books. Casting Tom Cruise as Reacher was an abomination. But Child has a touch of liberal idiot in him. I did get a little tired of the formula after awhile where Reacher has it all figured out halfway through and the reader doesn't get clued in till the end.

Anonymous Meh December 17, 2014 12:23 PM  

Not even sure who you could cast as Reacher -- maybe Ahnold back in the day. How many 6' 5", 240lb actors are there?

Anonymous VD December 17, 2014 12:27 PM  

This was my main problem with Throne of Bones, every time the "church" came up. Enough detail copied from Roman Catholic practice, but some hideous error or distortion or wrong context.

You're such a whiny little bitch, TZ. I don't mind substantive criticism, but yours is about as nonsensical as it comes. Even if the Amorran Church was the actual Roman Catholic Church, the latter's practices have changed over the last 1500 years. One could write a perfectly historical account from, say 1200 AD, and you'd still be complaining that it wasn't correct and it threw you out of the book because it's not what you are familiar with now. Your complaint doesn't even make sense, except in that it's not the way you want it to be.

If I have a criticism of Castalia House, it is that they don't seem to care about such, only that it is blue and not pink. They don't bother to proofread. A good editor can make a great author from a good one.

You're absolutely and completely full of shit. Again. Furthermore, you observably know nothing about the current marketplace. We corrected over 100 typos per book that we found in the Eternal Warriors books that went through the Simon & Schuster editorial process, one of which went through it TWICE, including editing, line-editing, and proofing. To claim that we care more about ideology than quality is simply a lie.

Furthermore, we do that cleanup even though nobody but you actually seems to care about it. I've formatted the books of multiple top-selling authors and Castalia's are cleaner than literally ANY of them. And when people send us errata, we promptly fix them and get them into the current files, something the mainstream publishers do not do. That's why the current ATOB is version 008. Also, we will send a new version to anyone who has bought an old version that wants one.

Finally, you appear to be confusing proofreading with editing. Ask John C. Wright how much editing we do in comparison with Tor. Or ask the guys we just published in RED HORSE; I made more than a dozen corrections to the Pournelle story first published in 1983. For example, if you look at the SECOND Tor paperback edition, George Santayana is twice spelled "Santayanna". We do more editing than they do. Far more, in some cases.

Blogger Nate December 17, 2014 12:29 PM  

Just getting guns right is enough to make a book sell well. The Bob the Nailer books are really not that good... but he gets all the gun stuff right... and that's enough.

Anonymous VD December 17, 2014 12:32 PM  

If you want to complain about A THRONE OF BONES, complain about the escape from the besieged casta. That one, I screwed up, plain and simple, being too blown away by the incredible quantity of dirt a legion moved every single time they set up camp.

There was nothing conceptually wrong with it in theory, but I think they probably would have needed twice as much time as I gave them because the difference between a tunnel and a ditch is how many men you can simultaneously bring to bear. Mea culpa.

Blogger Krul December 17, 2014 12:33 PM  

Giraffe - Well, I like Child too, and I own most of his books.

Same here.

Casting Tom Cruise as Reacher was an abomination.

Definitely. The character of Reacher in the novels is so tough because he's a big, bad bruiser; his advantage comes from his size and strength, and while he's not described as ugly, he's not especially handsome either. I don't need to point out that pretty, smiley little Tom Cruise does not fit the description, nor does he try to act like he does.

But Child has a touch of liberal idiot in him.

More than a touch in Nothing to Lose, the one about eeeevil Christians trying to start Armageddon by placing a dirty bomb in an American city.

I did get a little tired of the formula after awhile where Reacher has it all figured out halfway through and the reader doesn't get clued in till the end.

At this point, Reacher is getting to be too much of a Mary Sue for me. He automatically knows everthing he needs to know for the plot no matter how obscure, or classified. It always bothered me how he was the only one who knew what a Zec was in One Shot, and it's never explained how he knew it.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 17, 2014 12:36 PM  

As soon as the cultural marxist programming rears its head more than once in a story, I'm out.

I even notice it affecting my appreciation for older stuff, which isn't really fair, but there it is. For instance, I recently read Dune for the first time (somehow missed it when I was younger), and pretty soon there's the Baron with his boy sex slaves. Now, this was clearly presented as a bad thing, so there's no issue with propaganda as there would be with virtually anything current. But I'm so tired of being inundated with The Gay that I still found myself groaning, thinking, "Could I just go a few months without having to read about any homos, good bad or indifferent?"

Blogger JDC December 17, 2014 12:40 PM  

I am no gun expert, and that fact became a mini-nightmare last week when I missed an 8-point because I'm an idiot. I use a Mossberg 12 gauge with a rifled barrel and sabot rounds. It was raining, so I kept my gun in the carry case until I got into my blind. In the blind I like to keep as quiet as possible, so instead of loading all the shells into the loading flap and racking one, I quietly open the breach, slide a shell in and quietly move the forestock forward. Well...the buck was in my sights, I took the safety off, took a breath to calm my nerves and pulled the trigger...and nothing. I had to rack another shell and by that time he had already gotten the h*** outta there. This will haunt my dreams...

Anonymous Jack Amok December 17, 2014 12:43 PM  

Before you react badly to what you perceive as a weapon error you better be very sure what you know is actually correct or complete.

There are a lot of weapons out there with mechanisms that you've likely never seen before.


Yep. Usually one of the examples brought up of getting guns wrong is the old "he said the revolver had a safety, no revolver has ever had a safety" bit. I laugh when that comes up. Probalby the first real firearm I ever handled was a .38 revolver of my dad's (I think he got it from one of his uncles). It has a safety, a slide button either just in front of or just behind the trigger, built into the trigger guard. It's been decades since I saw that gun. I can't remember for sure, but I think it was a S&W. Obvoiusly not something with a large production run.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 17, 2014 12:45 PM  

I recently read a mystery novel from the 80s that included a few snippets of BASIC programming. (It also included British guns, so it's kinda in the Ilk wheelhouse with guns and programming. If anyone likes mysteries, check out Twice Shy by Dick Francis. One of his better ones, in my opinion as a big fan of his books prior to about 1997 or so.)

Anyway, one of the bits of BASIC code was exactly and obviously wrong. I chuckled and went on. It wasn't critical to the story, so it was really no more important than a typo. On the other hand, if one of the guns had acted completely other than it should, that would have directly impacted the story because it would mean the guy really couldn't have done what he did, so that would have been a lot more annoying.

Blogger Josh December 17, 2014 12:46 PM  

If you want to complain about A THRONE OF BONES, complain about the escape from the besieged casta. That one, I screwed up, plain and simple, being too blown away by the incredible quantity of dirt a legion moved every single time they set up camp.

And, counter to the OMG NO EDITING claim, didn't that get revised?

Anonymous Giraffe December 17, 2014 12:49 PM  

..... I quietly open the breach, slide a shell in and quietly move the forestock forward. Well...the buck was in my sights, I took the safety off, took a breath to calm my nerves and pulled the trigger...and nothing.....

That should have worked. I do that fairly often. Maybe you didn't have the slide all the way forward to lock the bolt.

Anonymous Don December 17, 2014 12:50 PM  

Never read a 'Reacher' book but Ryan Hurst? Opie from Sons of Anarchy seems to physically fit the description. The guy is huge.

Anonymous VD December 17, 2014 12:54 PM  

And, counter to the OMG NO EDITING claim, didn't that get revised?

First, ATOB isn't even a reasonable complaint about Castalia. It was edited, fully, by the experienced editor at Marcher Lord. He just missed that one. And I was actually referring to the revision; I did extend the time and shorten the distance as much as I could there without rewriting the scene, it's now less incredible but still on the unlikely side.

However, no one seems to notice anymore, so I seem to have papered that blunder over sufficiently. I'll probably revisit it when we redo the hardcover when Book Two comes out next year.

Blogger JartStar December 17, 2014 12:55 PM  

tz - Can you cite three current publishers of new (in the last 20 years) fiction which meets your exacting editorial demands?

Anonymous Daniel December 17, 2014 1:03 PM  

Just getting guns right is enough to make a book sell well. The Bob the Nailer books are really not that good... but he gets all the gun stuff right... and that's enough.

Absolutely. You can sell plenty of books if you get the core point of interest obsessively correct. Not everyone reads books for the same reasons. In fact, there's definitely a market for people who won't gripe about the poor quality of a story, but will throw their kindle fire into an actual fire because a shooter puts his thumb on the nape of his Glock.

Anonymous Giraffe December 17, 2014 1:08 PM  

However, no one seems to notice anymore, so I seem to have papered that blunder over sufficiently. I'll probably revisit it when we redo the hardcover when Book Two comes out next year.

I think you make more of an issue out of it than it really was. I noticed it when I read it. I was thinking at the time that the logistics of a tunnel aren't that simple. But I didn't know how far a stadia was, so I didn't know how long a tunnel it was supposed to be so I didn't dwell on it. It didn't take me out of the story and make me think, "this author is an idiot".

Mileage may vary for others.

Anonymous Daniel December 17, 2014 1:10 PM  

Not even sure who you could cast as Reacher -- maybe Ahnold back in the day. How many 6' 5", 240lb actors are there?

Dolph Lundgren, today. He could do it, in fact he should do it. Even his face is perfect (looked too boyish 20 years ago). He is completely underrated as a still viable--if old--action guy.

Anonymous Giraffe December 17, 2014 1:29 PM  

Dolph Lundgren, today. He could do it,

Bingo.

Anonymous Meh December 17, 2014 2:10 PM  

Dolph is pushing 60. Too long in the tooth.

Jason Statham would work.

Anonymous Giuseppe December 17, 2014 2:29 PM  

You misunderstand. It's the literary version of an accomplished turd. As a writer you could shit that stuff out with only marginal effort.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 18, 2014 2:23 AM  

However, no one seems to notice anymore,

FWIW, I consider that scene the weakest one of your's I've read. Realistically, that's praising with faint damnation, but don't get lazy.

Anonymous Michael Maier December 18, 2014 2:36 PM  

Nate December 17, 2014 12:29 PM Just getting guns right is enough to make a book sell well. The Bob the Nailer books are really not that good... but he gets all the gun stuff right... and that's enough.

Movie didn't, though. They had the baddies putting a .50cal slug of Nailer's into a paper sabot to be shot out of another .50cal by the crippled Commie. Oops.

Anonymous Anonymous December 21, 2014 4:26 PM  

dramatically flipping off the safety on a gun that doesn’t have one

I had not realized that firearm safeties were so sensitive. Or so aware.

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