From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Revision as of 03:16, 26 December 2012 by Osiris (talk | contribs) (1 revision: Talk Namespace)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I always thought that Pratchett really missed an opportunity here-- he said that dwarven burial weapons were used to fight off demons. Well, here we have a dwarf buried with a firearm. It would have been fun to see some supernatural baddies going after Cuddy's spirit and having a few holes shot in them. (unsigned comment by User:Papa legba, 14 September 2006)

Later Appearances

Assassins don't seem to have cottoned on to the fact that these gonnes are no longer around. Inigo Skimmer takes one with him to Überwald as a precautionary measure. It ends up inside Vimes' pillowcase in his cell when he's arrested. Whilst the protagonists of most Roundworld Hollywood movies would use this to get out of prison, Vimes realises what firing a weapon would actually do to his innocent plea and fires it down a hole and throws it after the shot.

He tells Skimmer that if he ever catches anyone with one of these things in Ankh-Morpork it will be placed where the sun does not shine - and he doesn't mean that place in Lancre. Skimmer gives him a Look and remarks that such an unfortunate soul will still be lucky that it wasn't the Assassins' Guild that found them, leading one to ponder on what could be a worse fate...

There are other references in the later canon to high-end criminals who may have their hands on a "one-shot". From context, this presumably is not just a crossbow, as they are all one-shot (apart, of course, from the "Great Leveller" Cart-Mounted Ten-Bank 500-Pound Crossbow produced by Burleigh and Stronginthearm mentioned in Jingo and the Hershebian twelve-shot bows with the gravity feed mentioned by Nobby in Men at Arms).

And the Romans had their scorpia - siege crossbows firing five foot arrows, as used against stubborn hill forts in England. They even managed to automate them so that they repeatedly cocked themselves and fired on fixed lines for as long as the crew kept a gravity-fed hopper full or arrows. If a pre-industial civilization on Roundwrld could manage a repeating-fire weapon using low-tech assembly and materials, then the Discworld surely can. --AgProv 20:01, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

The Fifth Elephant refers to Skimmer's one-shot as "basically, a spring" and later, "the little crossbow". I don't remember any suggestion that they're gonnes. --Old Dickens 15:01, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

But it's incredibly hard to cock,(1) it fits into a pillowcase, it clinks... And why would Vimes be so unhappy about it if it's just a crossbow?[2) They're on general sale from B&S. Why would the Assassins be so interested in finding someone having one? My reading is that it's called "the little crossbow" as they have no other name for it - the gonne was the rifle. Mr Pin's crossbow is a one-shot (but then - aren't all crossbows?) and is definitely a pistol bow (as drawn by Paul Kidby in his illustration of Miss Alice Band) but I am convinced that Inigo's weapon - hidden, remember, in a briefcase that would kill unwary openers - is a reverse-engineered firearm. Why hide a crossbow?(3) The description of it as "evil" and requiring nerves of steel (and balls to match) when wearing it in one's waistband... that's no crossbow. Why the hell would you carry a cocked crossbow?(4) A pistol bow can be ratcheted back with two fingers in an instant. Cocking a mechanism that would fire so much further is so much harder. I don't know if you've ever spear fished, but cocking those things is damn' near impossible.(5) No, I can only see it as a gonne created by the Assassins. There's also another reference(6) that I read the same way in a later book with another antagonist but I can't damn' well remember who it is, which is why it's so vague on the page . I know it's not Carcer, but who it actually is is another matter.--Knmatt 11:22, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

(1)Exactly. A pistol isn't.
(2)Because it's concealed. Likewise, the Assassins don't want too much competition.
(3)Duh...why hide a pistol?
(4)Because it's so hard to cock and the point is speed and surprise.
(5)As Vimes pointed out. Actually, a small spear-fishing gun is probably the closest parallel.
(6)Not as a firearm either, I suspect.
() Also, when Vimes fires it down the shaft it doesn't make enough noise to rouse anyone. It's explained pretty extensively in The Fifth Elephant (Corgi PB, p170). --Old Dickens 14:39, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

From the description in The Fifth Elephant which admittedly I don't have to hand at the moment I always felt that it was some form of spring loaded weapon - as Old Dickens suggests - similar to either a spear gun, or possibly more like a hollow tube with a coil-spring in the bottom, into which is pushed the projectile, something like a large non-captive-bolt spring loaded center-punch with a trigger maybe? Basically a spring powered air-pistol where the spring acts directly on the the bullet/bolt rather than moving a piston. Pretty much an ideal one-shot close-up-and-personal assassination tool really. --Megahurts 14:46, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

A bad picture of something of the sort, and one with a geared cocking system. --Old Dickens 16:27, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Vetinari would also likely be unhappy if anyone could just walk into B&S and purchase a Gonne after making his feelings towards them quite plain in MAA. It's more likely that the assasins have taken a crossbow to one of the dwarf smithies and said "Make it smaller, get rid of the sticky-out bits on the sides".--Megahurts 14:46, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd have to agree that Inigos one-shot doesn't have anything to do with The Gonne. The defining characteristics of the one-shot is that it is widely inaccurate, in total contrast with the assasins ethos of "inhume the target and nothing but the target". The gonne on the the other hand is so accurate that the user don't know who he's aiming at, Lettice Knibbs being the prime example.

I think the part about the oneshot should be removed from the Gonne-article--Iron Hippo 15:52, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure... there's a part in The Truth about this. Mr. Pin pulls out a "spring-gonne": technically and legally a crossbow, in that human strength compresses the spring, but it has been reduced to the the point where it is more or less a pipe with a handle and a trigger. And, it mentions how the Assassins' Guild or City Watch would do horrible things to anyone caught with it. I suspect this is the thing mentioned in The Fifth Elephant as well, since The Truth occurs after The Fifth Elephant. Perhaps it belongs in a new article: Spring-gonne? TC01 19:48, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Disagree with an edit.

I have to disagree with the edit by FlakBait regarding the screw-cutting lathe. My edit points out the difference between craftsmanship and serial-production whereas yours didn't. While a craftsman can produce goods of very high quality indeed, he can only do so after a long period of learning, something like 20-30 years isn't out of the question. With a screw-cutting lathe and all it's derivatives you can (more or less) take a man off the street and teach him to operate it, and within a week the quality of his work is indistinguishable from that of a master. --Iron Hippo 16:30, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

The sentence didn't make sense anyway. --Old Dickens 16:49, 9 January 2010 (UTC)