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 Post subject: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:45 am
Posts: 22
Sometimes you don't sweat the details. Sometimes mistakes can be jarring and unpleasant.

Calling a revolver a pistol - don't sweat.
"He flipped the safety off his revolver" - author (Not Simon Green) can't be bothered to even look up "revolver" on Wikipedia.

When it's Shotgun Suzie's eponymous long arm it pays to at least get the most basic things right. Our Author doesn't, and it detracts from the story like talking about the propellers on a rocket.

Some of the howlers:

1) Shotguns don't fire "bullets". They use shells. The shells are loaded with buckshot or slugs. Sometimes the shells are more exotic like flaming Dragon's Breath, the piano wire-strung "Bola" round or the utter horror of the flechette load.

2) You do not rack a double barreled shotgun. It is hinged at the stock for reloading. You rack a pump-action shotgun.

3) Unless you're using something very rare like the Doorbuster round a shotgun will not blow a door off its hinges. Even then it's iffy.

And one which screamed "Simon Green does not know what he's talking about"

He says Suzie emptied her weapon in less than a minute. If she were using a double-gun she could do that instantaneously. If she were using a self-loader it would happen as quickly as she could pull the trigger. If she were using a pump action weapon it might take eight seconds. Some of the great competitions shooters can take a handful of clay pigeons, throw them up in the air, mount the shotgun and hit each of the targets before it hits the ground.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:18 am
Posts: 918
Location: Bristol. UK
I can understand you irritation, I have the same feeling when an author uses terms in completely the wrong way.

I think most of this comes from the US having a culture of gun owning and use where as over here the only time we see them is on (American) TV shows.
I remember walking down a side street in LA and finding a store with the front window full of guns !! For a Brit that was a very surreal moment.

Simon was at a panel at the Marcon convention back in 09 with amongst others author Michael Z. Williamson who writes hard military SF. He writes (if you don't know his work) from a background of a 22 year veteran of the US Air Force and US Army.
He observed that he can tell in a few pages if the author of a piece is familiar with the 'hardware' he writing about purely by the terms and usage.

I think an author can do all the research in the world, but without real experience of the equipment being written about it'll always seem a little 'off' to anyone who lives with it day yo day or grew up with it.

But that's just my thoughts, anyone else like to jump in ?


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:45 am
Posts: 22
You certainly have a point. An insider's perspective is always different than an outsider's. That sort of thing is easy enough to ignore unless the reader is obsessive about the subject.

What's harder to ignore and what can break the flow of the story is a failure to get the very basics right. The late lamented Poul Anderson did a very nice job of keeping fantasy authors from bouncing their reality checks in his classic essay On Thud and Blunder. Slightly different genre. Same idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:18 am
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Location: Bristol. UK
I'll pass your comments on to the great man.

It's interesting, at least 3 other people read these before they get typeset.

His agent, but I guess if you live in a loft in NY and work in a high rise office you probably don't do a lot of shooting or even own a gun ?

His publisher, as above.

And the proof readers, and while it's their job to spot error in grammar and spelling and occasions when a character exits a room and then exit it again 3 pages later ! You'd think one of them might have brought it up?


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:45 am
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Imagine what would happen if an American tried to write about ale or brewing a cup of tea ;)

I'm from the wilds of Oregon. The gun racks in the backs of pickups aren't just a fashion statement. A lot of people hunt, which saves the State the cost of hiring rangers to cull the growing herds of deer and elk. That sort of knowledge is a little more common than in New York City where guns are effectively illegal.

As I said, if he needs a few unusual horrors there's always the "exotic" shotgun ammunition. Not suitable for hunting. Very difficult to explain to Officer Friendly why you used them for self defense. But there for the true enthusiast, the specialist and those attempting to compensate for physical inadequacies real or imagined.

Here's a test of some of them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paPJqUA86jw

And here's a catalog with pictures http://www.deltaforce.com/catalog/12gaugeammo.html . The turn your shotgun into a flamethrower and foul the barrel Dragon's Breath isn't there.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:44 am
Posts: 12
I read some of those lines about guns and laughed to my wife that the author was definitely English.

I realize as an American that we have a much greater access to guns and the knowledge that brings. Hell, I currently have a 10 guns in my house and I can purchase as many as I want in less than 30 minutes and bring them home that day.

Whenever I have friends from out of the country come and visit I always take them shooting. My wife's friend Yuko visited us from Japan last year and now she can say she has shot a 357 magnum, a 9mm, a 12 gauge tactical shotgun and an AK-47. After the safety lesson, it's just about having fun. Everyone I have ever met that didn't have some sort of agenda has always enjoyed shooting.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:50 am
Posts: 8
Location: United States Of America, Swamps of south Carolina
I am an American with family in Scotland and I wonder if this guy realizes the stringent gun laws in the UK. It's sensible for him not to know when people there can't even fire flintlock pistols much less OWN a rifle or revolver without serious hassle in getting it and getting it legally. Simon R. Green may honestly never have fired a weapon before in his life! My cousin who is 31 didn't fire a gun off until last year when he came to visit and we took him to a range, he about shit a brick over it; and then he found out that I was buying a pistol that day and that I already own a rifle and a shotgun, and that's not including my flintlock and my cap-lock weapons. and I am only 21. It's not something to be upset about, it's misinformation, AND media. Look at hollywood, if you honestly want to bash people about bad firearms portrayals and such go through the movies MADE in America, there are THOUSANDS, that do a worse job of extremes and unrealistic unbelievability than just the Nightside books. It's one thing to be upset, but seriously? Grab a pinch of salt, and remember, WE are gun toting Americans, they are poor English, Scottish, and Irish who don't have the second amendment to help them enjoy life.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:50 am
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Location: United States Of America, Swamps of south Carolina
EdNemo wrote:
I read some of those lines about guns and laughed to my wife that the author was definitely English.

I realize as an American that we have a much greater access to guns and the knowledge that brings. Hell, I currently have a 10 guns in my house and I can purchase as many as I want in less than 30 minutes and bring them home that day.

Whenever I have friends from out of the country come and visit I always take them shooting. My wife's friend Yuko visited us from Japan last year and now she can say she has shot a 357 magnum, a 9mm, a 12 gauge tactical shotgun and an AK-47. After the safety lesson, it's just about having fun. Everyone I have ever met that didn't have some sort of agenda has always enjoyed shooting.

WE should go hunting sir! I want you to know that even If I'm being a little harsh on this page, you're an outstanding American human being.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:14 am 
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 10:20 am
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Location: Trowbridge, Wiltshire (Near Bradford on Avon)
Swords are better anyway. :p

_________________
Ic bēo þæt sceadu of þæt sawol.


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 Post subject: Re: Irritations from a Gun-Toting American
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:18 am
Posts: 918
Location: Bristol. UK
Luc wrote:
Swords are better anyway. :p


True, but don't have the range of an AK-47 or the stopping power of a 12 gauge tactical shotgun...


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