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Literature / Gatling

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Gatling is a series of Western novels by 'Jack Slade' (actually a house name used by a variety of authors on several different western series). There are six books in the series:

  1. Zuni Gold
  2. Outlaw Empire
  3. Border War
  4. South of the Border
  5. The War Wagon
  6. Butte Bloodbath

Master armorer, dead shot and expert in death, Gatling tested automatic weapons from all over the world—on living bodies. Paid in gold for his bloody work, he was probably the single most dangerous man in The Wild West. For at his command was more firepower than a cavalry regiment and more deadly force than the Grim Reaper.

Tropes used in the Gatling series include:

  • Anachronism Stew: The novels are meticulous in their research regarding the automatic weapons that are the series focus. However, they often use other elements from The Wild West without regard for their historic context. For instance, in Outlaw Empire, Gatling uses a Skoda machine gun; a weapon not in production till 1909. However, he is fighting the Sydney Ducks; a San Francisco gang whose power was broken in 1854.
  • Arms Dealer: Gatling works as a weapons tester and troubleshooter for the Maxim Arms Company. His boss is Col. Henry Pritchett who has no qualms about selling arms to any (or all) sides in a conflict, provided they can pay.
  • Badass Preacher: In Border War, the metis forces include a fighting priest nicknamed Pere Mulet ('Father Mule') because his as stubborn and as tough as a mule.
  • BFG: Gatling totes a Light Maxim Gun that has been modified to allow him to fire it from the hip.
  • Gatling Good: Gatling uses period automatic weapons, including Gatling guns.
  • Gun Porn: The series main hook is that the title character uses period automatic weaponry. The guns, their operation and their effects are always described in loving detail.
  • The Gunslinger: Unusually for a Western series, the title character is The Vaporizer; carrying a Light Maxim Gun that has been modified to allow him to fire from the hip. The sheer amount of bullets he can pump out allows him to take on entire gangs.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During their brawl in Border War, Dumont grabs a handful of mud and throws it in Gatling's eyes, blinding him.
  • Historical Domain Character: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, leaders of the North-West Rebellion, are major characters in Border War, where Gatling is hired to deliver modern weapons to Riel's metis forces.
  • The Mole: In Border War, part of Gatling's mission becomes uncovering the British agent planted within the metis ranks.
  • More Dakka: Gatling carries a Light Maxim Gun that has been modified to allow him to fire it from the hip. Pretty much anyone who uses a fully automatic weapon in The Wild West qualifies using More Dakka.
  • Pistol-Whipping: In Border War, The Mole Towers escapes camp by hitting Gatling in the head with a well thrown rock, which stuns him. He the finishes the job by stealing Gatling's revolver and whacking him over the head with it.
  • Raised by Natives: Gatling is an orphan who was raised by Zuni Indians after his parents we killed by Apaches.
  • Tongue Trauma: In Outlaw Empire, the attorney Metcalf has his tongue pulled out by the roots by members of the Sydney Ducks because he knows too much.
  • Tested on Humans: Gatling is paid to test weapons under battlefield conditions. This includes using them on human targets; although he prefers to ensure his targets are people who deserve it.
  • Twilight of the Old West: Although the books are vague as to exactly when they are set (and are something of an Anachronism Stew overall), Gatling's favourite, and most commonly used, weapon is a Light Maxim gun in.303 calibre, implying that setting is 1895 or later.
  • What a Drag: In Border War, one of the gunslingers lassos Badass Preacher Pere Mulet and starts dragging him along behind his horse. Gatling shoots the gunslinger but the runaway horse continues to charge, and Gatling puts a bullet in Mulet as a Mercy Kill.