Court Merrigan is a writer I’ve known for a good while, having served as a beta reader for him on some of his work. We connect over Facebook about firearms and all things writing, so I was thrilled to hear his western novel was picked up by Beat to a Pulp for publication. Merrigan’s novel may go down as having the most loquacious title of 2017, pulling double duty as the preface to the rest of the work:
THE BROKEN COUNTRY: Being the Scabrous Exploits of Cyrus & Galina Van, Hellbent West During the Eighth Year of the Harrows, 1876; With an Account of Mappers, Bounty Hunters, a Tatar, and the Science of Phrenology.
How can you not love that? Here’s the gist:
Set in post-apocalyptic 1876, THE BROKEN COUNTRY tracks the scabrous exploits of the outlaws Cyrus and Galina Van. The pair kidnaps a naïve, young scion and head west in pursuit of gold, glory, and respect. Along the trail they met Atlante Ames, a mapper who euthanized her own father and now seeks her twin brother, himself gone outlaw in the ravaged West. In cold pursuit rides the implacable bounty hunter Hal, who takes scalps in the name of Jesus Christ and the science of phrenology, and the contemplative Buddhist assassin Qa’un, paying off the bloodprice he owes Hal … bounty by bloody bounty. Cyrus and Galina’s hard road west comes to a head in a dynamite-tossing, six-gun-blazing shootout at the old train depot in Laramie.
And here’s his piece about the firearms he’s deemed best fit for a post-apocalyptic western novel. Enjoy!
Just for the record: That’s moss, not the carpeting in my house. (Shutterstock photo)
TLDR: Despite how it might benefit a fictional scene, it’s extremely rare for a gun to off accidentally, even when it’s dropped. It’s far more likely the “accident” is due to negligence.
Pictured: Life. (GIF via giphy)
I have great luck with my push lawnmower. It’s old, missing a few bolts and requires just the right touch to operate, but it gets the job done. If I’m lucky, it’ll start before pull number three. If it doesn’t, I know there’s a mechanical error. I might not know exactly where, but I follow a logical path to find it. Is there gas in the tank? Is the spark plug throwing a spark? Is the throttle adjusted correctly? Is there grass preventing the blade from spinning? Continue reading
Riot? Check. Gun? Check. Does that mean there’s a riot gun in this picture? Read on to find out. (punghi/Shutterstock)
TLDR: The term “riot gun” usually refers to a shotgun or rifle featuring either a shortened barrel or less-lethal ammunition, or both.
I had a great time last year presenting a webinar for The Writer’s Store called The Secret to Writing Firearms. (Pro tip: You can download it here, but I recommend you sign up for my newsletter first to get a code for 50% off.) One of the attendees popped a question to me during the presentation that might apply to your project: What is a riot gun?
When it comes to researching firearms for a story, don’t go by looks. One of these is a genuine assault rifle, and it’s limited to military use. The other is a model any U.S. civilian with a clean record could own, and is not an assault rifle. Can you tell the difference? Leave a comment with your guesses. (Photos via Colt and Gun Digest)
One of my favorite crime writers, Benjamin Whitmer, author of my pick for the best crime novel of 2014, Cry Father, made a post on his website today that caught my eye. It mentions a bit about politics and the president, two subjects I try to avoid on this blog, but I couldn’t ignore his excellent point about the terms “assault weapons” and “assault rifles.”
How you decide to use this technology in your stories is up to you, but gun scopes that aim themselves are real and they’re on the consumer market. Not only that, but they can sync up with a pair of Android-enabled goggles looking the other way. Which means, “OK, Google, take out the sentry at the guard post, then tell Chipotle to make my burrito for pick up,” isn’t that far off in the future.
The accuracy rate still isn’t 100 percent, but it’s better than half. The manufacturer is only set up for a handful of rifles, but a little creative license should allow you to stick this tech onto whatever tank-tipper you feel like lighting up. In your stories, of course.