Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick Observation on Guns in Fiction

I just read The Executioner #20, New Orleans Knockout, in about 24 hours. Very fast read and pretty entertaining novel. Bolan's "Attack Winnebago" was especially hilarious.

The observation I wanted to bring up, however, is this: while there is a modicum of what I like to call "gun talk" in the book, as there is in most of the Pendleton Executioners, it is not overdone. Yes, we know what sorts of guns Mack Bolan totes around; .44 Automag, Beretta 9mm automatic with silencer, Uzi, etc., but Pendleton is careful to never let the "gun talk" stray into the realm of "gun porn".

Just like the shift in movie "vibe" from the 70's to the 80's moves from "thriller" or "crime drama" to "action movie", the Post-Modern Pulp of the 70's moves from discussing weapons and action in a modicum of detail to, in the 80's, being in many respects simple vehicles for showing off the size of the author's firearms reference works collection.

I will freely admit to being a bit of a gun nut. I like guns, I like shooting guns, I like talking about guns and reading about guns and in general I think that while what they do is regrettable, the firearm is a fascinating technological and socio-political story for the last five hundred years or so.

On the other hand, reading through some of these early Executioners, you can see that Pendleton wasn't writing the saga of Mack Bolan just to talk about the .44 Automag any more than the Dirty Harry movies were about the Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 magnum.

And that's perfectly fine with me.


Hank Brown said...

Fine with me, too. BTW: What are some examples of "gun porn?"

I've probably read some, but one man's gun porn might be another man's steamy-yet-tasteful gun love scene.

English Teacher X said...

Jerry Ahen's books are the best (worst) for gun porn, perhaps not surprisingly, as he was president of Dectonics for a while and has written for GUNS AND AMMO, among others.

Hank Brown said...

What did Jerry Ahen write? I just did a search for him and it turned up zilch. Maybe I would recognize 1 of his titles or series, though.

It's not gun porn, I'm sure, but Gordon Davis' WWII series might be "war porn" (with some actual porn mixed in). I reviewed one of them on my blog: http://twofistedblogger.blogspot.com/2010/10/sergeant-4-liberation-of-paris-by.html

Jack Badelaire said...

He mis-spelled the name. It's Jerry Ahern, and he wrote a bunch of men's adventure series, mostly through the 80's. The Survivalist, The Defender, and a bunch of other shorter series and novels. He was a real firearms aficionado, and in his stories he'd cite make and model and sometimes even modifications made by specific real-world gunsmiths. The exacting details he'd put into his novels about firearms and which was best for what purpose was pretty exhaustive, and sometimes, a little exhaust-ing.

Hank Brown said...

BTW, I just uploaded a weapons page on my website at http://www.hell-and-gone.com/armory.htm if anyone has an interest. It's fairly simple now but maybe I'll make it fancy later on.