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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why do fiction writers mess up anything to do with firearms?

I'm not down to my normal standard today but I think I need to write something. Hopefully this will entertain you until I can come up with something better.

I like to listen to audio books when I'm driving. Unfortunately, I drive quite a bit so I listen to lots of books. The books have to be in a certain range of reading levels for me to listen to them. If the level is too easy then the book is boring. If the book has ideas that are complex or has too much detail then I have a hard time because I have to drive and can't put too much of my mind on the book.

One author that writes at a comfortable level for listening to while driving is Stephen King. Lately, I've been listening to Duma Key. All around I've thought it was ok. Not too complicated and not boring.

Spoiler Alert
I am fixing to give details from the book.
If you haven't red it and want to I suggest you stop reading here.


At one point in the book the protagonists are walking through an overgrown area on one of the keys when they are attacked by a 12 foot long aligator. One of them pulls out a huge handgun to stop the monster.

The first odd thing was that when the safety was on SAFE a red dot was showing and when the safety was on FIRE then the red dot was gone. I've never seen a gun that showed a red dot when it was on SAFE and no dot when it was on FIRE. I guess there might be one out there.

Let me go off on a tangent here:

My thought on little colored dots on the safety is that they should all be red. Both on SAFE and FIRE. Who in their right mind trusts the safety on a firearm? Would you point a handgun at your head and press the trigger just because the safety was on? I wouldn't.

I think the markings on firearms should be changed. Instead of FIRE it should say UNSAFE. Instead of SAFE it should say MORE UNSAFE because of all the idiots out there that think a firearm is somehow safe because you pushed a little metal bump from one spot to another.

Now back to my regular post.

The first round vaporizes the top half o the alligator's head ( A side issue - taking off the top half is a neat trick. Take a look at pics of an alligator's head and see what would go away if you took the top half of it off.)

Of course this doesn't stop the aligator so the guy fires again. This time the aligator is lifted up so that it is standing vertically on it's hind legs. The next shot takes out the entire stomach region of the monster.

Wow!! That must be some kind of handgun!! Turns out that the weapon of mass destruction is a .357 magnum. I'll bet it could knock satellites out of orbit just like a .50 BMG.

I wonder what kind of ammo the guy was supposed to have been using. A .500 S&W won't vaporize parts of a deer and it won't throw them through the air or raise them up on their hind legs. I thought that would be obvious but some people still get their ideas from TV and movies.

Then the story gets kind of silly. The guy that did the shooting complains about the fierce recoil. Oooohhhh, it hurts. I'm thinking it must have been a M640 or M340. An M340 with full power loads is sort of brutal, no question about it. So, what kind of .357 Magnum was the hero shooting that had such brutal recoil? Was it a J-frame? Maybe a Ruger SP101? No. It was an IMI Dessert Eagle.

The DE weighs about 4 pounds. I think the early ones were just under 4 pounds while the newer Mk XIX models run about 4.5 pounds. Unloaded. It's gas operated. It doesn't recoil that bad.

A GP-100 revolver weighs a little over 2 pounds and it doesn't recoil that bad even with full power loads. The DE is a cake walk.

The heros were also whining about how heavy the ammunition was for it. The guy was carrying about 50 rounds for it. Wow. 50 rounds of .357 ammo is SO heavy.

Then it got really funny when the guy just slips this chunk of steel into his belt. No holster. No mention of a heavy belt meant for carrying a handgun. He just slips it in his belt and it stays there while he climbs through a window to get into and then out of a house.

Seems to me that if you are going to write a book with firearms in it and you are going to put in details like the color of the little dots on the UNSAFE lever, then you ought to go to the trouble to find out what you are writing about.

I would think that an author with Mr. King's resources could spend the time and money to learn something about firearms, but I guess not.

Other than this part I've found the book to be ok to listen to while driving. It has all the usual twists and turns you expect from this sort of book. It keeps me from falling asleep but isn't enough of a mental load to distract me from driving. I'm not sure about the character who owns a multi-million dollar construction business being a big fan of John Kerry, but it is a fiction book full of monsters so I'll give that a pass. Listening to this is also much less depressing than listening to the news.


Anonymous said...

My guess would be that most people don't know enough about firearms to catch this kind of glitch.

Wyn Boniface said...

I don't. ;)

Bitmap said...

Hermit and Wyn:

Oh please. Flying alligators?

Really, I think you're right that many people wouldn't notice the problems. I just think if someone is going to invest their time in writing a fairly long book then maybe they could spend a few hours learning about some of the items in their book.

Anonymous said...

King is anti-gun and knows diddly about firearms. He's all into what sounds good. He's also a bad author.

Paladin said...

I'm hit and miss with liking King's books, or not. Loved "The Dark Half". Hated the "The Dark Tower". Loved "The Stand".. etc.

"Instead of FIRE it should say UNSAFE. Instead of SAFE it should say MORE UNSAFE.."

- That's Genius, Man... Made me snort! :)


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