Landmines in Fiction

Yesterday I blogged about how shootings are often weirdly exaggerated in fiction. That brought to mind another thing I often notice, how landmines function in fiction.

How many movies have you seen where a group of soldiers are making their way cross-country and you hear a click? The soldiers stop and look around at each other, and then one of them says “It’s me.”

If the unlucky soldier is really generous, he’ll stand there until his buddies are a safe distance away, and then he’ll lift his foot. Boom, he’s dead.

It’s hard not to think that all the soldier had to do was jump to the ground, cover his head with his arms, and the blast wave might not have done much damage. They jump to the ground when grenades are thrown at them, why can’t they do it when they step on landmines?

Research shows that there were times in real wars when landmines did not function properly and you could stand on them without them going off. But a properly functioning landmine will not give a warning. You won’t hear a click. When you step on a landmine, it goes off. You’re not required to lift your foot for it to go off.

I think the people who create these scenes know this. They might even know that a 12 gauge and .44 Magnum won’t send a person flying backward in real life. Maybe they put those things in because it makes the scenes more thrilling for people who aren’t obsessed with the details like I am.

Personally, I wouldn’t do it that way. I’m overly obsessed with trying to get everything exactly right in my fiction And I’m still afraid that readers of my work will find so many booboos.

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