Monday, January 24, 2011

What I Write

I told a little about why I write, or why I think I do. This time I thought I’d talk a bit about what I write.

My focus is Mystery, but that’s a deceptive term. The driving force behind any story is the desire to see what happens next. That makes everything a mystery in some form. We can’t even say that a mystery involved finding out who committed a crime. The TV series Columbo opened most of the time by showing the killer doing it. The rest of the program was spent watching the detective try to figure what the audience already knew. Yet, these were still Mysteries.

Still other stories are most certainly Mysteries but they contain some other element that puts them in a different genre.

If Agatha Christie’s And then there were None, sometimes called Ten Little Indians, would have been set on a space station instead of an island, it would have been Science Fiction. If that same story used dwarves and elves and been set in a cave or dungeon, it would have been Fantasy. The dialog and room descriptions would have changed, but the key plot points could remain intact regardless of time or place.

Many of the classic Science Fiction stories of Phillip K Dick were essentially mysteries that used fantastic technology to set up the crime. While making them Science Fiction as far as the world is concerned, it did not make the any of the stories any less of a Mystery.

When I say I write Mysteries I mean I write detective fiction. It may be set in the current world, an alternate, fantasy world, or a world of spaceships and aliens. To me, they are all mysteries. With that in mind, here are the main “worlds” I plan to use as settings.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Accessories: Lasers, Supressors, and Scopes

...Oh my.  Sorry, had to do it.  OCD thing.

When most people think of gun accessories, three things come to mind.  Scopes, laser sights, and silencers.  The truth is that there are a lot of other things that fit this category, but it’s those three I want to look at in depth.

Sniper Rifles

Sniper Rifles

The first thing to know about sniper rifles is that they don’t do any more damage than any other rifle of the same caliber.  The US M24 sniper rifle fires the same 7.62 NATO round as the M-60 machinegun, and M-14 battle rifle.  Sort of.  There are small changes with the shape of the bullet, but there is no significant difference in the velocity or energy.

So, why are Sniper Rifles so special?


Shotguns have an aura about them that makes them unique among weapons.  Maybe it’s the size of the shell, or maybe it’s the amount of damage they seem to do, whatever it is, it’s very often over-rated.

Shotguns come in sizes that range from .410 bore to 10 gauge.

A 410 bore is actually a hole 0.41 inches in diameter, the same as a .41 magnum or 10mm pistol, and slightly smaller than a .44 magnum.  It’s the only size that doesn’t follow the standard convention explained below.

Semi-Automatic Handguns

Earlier I talked about semi-automatic actions in a general way, focusing more on the difference between single and double actions.  In this entry, I’m going to look at the entire class, but in a slightly more detailed way.  This will be mainly for handguns, not rifles or shotguns unless noted.

Semi-automatic is the correct term for a firearm that will eject a fired casing and load a new one to be fired, all without any input from the shooter.  This is often just called automatic, or auto.  I will probably do that too, but technically, automatic weapons will also fire the second round to complete the cycle.  They will do this until the trigger is released.  Just be aware that semi-auto and auto can mean the same thing, just as automatic and full-auto mean the same thing.

Okay, moving on.

Exterior Ballistics, or Bullets in Flight

Exterior ballistics is just a sciencey sounding word that is used to describe anything flying through the air.  Could be bullets; could be snow balls.

This is a very math intensive area, but I’m going to do my very best to keep the math out of it as much as possible.

Once a bullet leaves the barrel of a gun, or a ball leaves the hand that threw it, it is at the mercy of physics.  Where it goes is determined from the moment it breaks contact, unless the wind messes with it.

Look at a baseball.  When an outfielder throws the ball to second base, he doesn’t throw it at the second baseman.  It would never get there.  Instead, he throws it up, in the direction of the second baseman.  Air resistance slows the speed of the ball and gravity pulls it back down.  The same thing happens to bullets.