Is this level of historical inaccuracy acceptable?

I'm writing a story set in the 1840s/1850s, and I need one of the characters to use dynamite. However, dynamite wasn't invented until about 20 years later. I did some research and there were other kinds of explosives in existence then, but none of them would be capable of the destruction I want to depict. So I've got two choices, either use a tool that wasn't invented yet, or exaggerate the capabilities of another tool. Which is more acceptable?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
It may depend on context. Are you blowing up caves, or soldiers?

Dynamite was invented by Nobel. He was appalled it was used in warfare so he used his fortune from the patents to promote peace including Nobel Peace Prizes. So there is an important history here when it comes to war and peace and the Nobel Peace Prize still exists today.

Can you give us more context?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
TNT was also later, I would assume it is black powder, sometimes put in a keg. You could definitely exaggerate what a powder keg could do.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff member
Admin
You could also use nitroglycerin, it was just so sensitive if someone sneezed the place could go up. Dynamite put it into a stable package. But that could make for some interesting scenes.
 
sure but you cant make a movie about al capone and have him driving around in a tesla
Sure you can… Might be fun!


I'm pretty sure that most aren't old enough to remember the TV show "Wild, Wild West." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_Wild_West ) Set in post Civil War USA, there were A LOT of things that had required suspension of belief.

From TV.com:

"WWW featured not only all of the typical "spy gimmicks" like boot knives, miniature explosives, and spike-firing grapple guns, but featured a variety of criminal masterminds wielding high-tech items (for 1880) like robot squids, cyborgs, exo-skeletons, steam-powered giant puppets, earthquake machines, hallucinogenic drugs, shrinking potions, and much much more."

It's all about riding that fine line of entertaining your audience and insulting their intelligence.
 

sfoster

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
yeah most people really dont care, it's truel.

like that x-men movie with peter dinklage.
it's set in the 70s and they have 20 ft tall flying iron man robots
 
There is a difference between making a mistake and knowingly making a mistake. First is ignorant (forgivable at least) and second is laziness + taking the audience intelligence for granted.

Taking the audience intelligence for granted is the main reason many action movies developed to the stage where the hero with one gun kills 10 (or 50!) bad guys and those 10 bad guys with AK-47 cannot fire a single shot properly at the hero.

At the same time, I have seen even masterpiece films like The Godfather or Gone with the Wind have anachronism errors. If the film is real good, it doesn't matter. But I would assume filmmakers didn't make those errors intentionally.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
Problem is that you would need a ridiculous amount of that explosive to do the same job as a barrel of dynamite would.
I would rather read a script that is more historically accurate.
Stretching the boundaries doesn't bother me.

If it takes a ridiculous amount of that explosive, so be it.
 

Lurk

Member
I'd go for exaggeration over historical inaccuracy personally. Most people won't know what quantity of [insert explosive here] is needed to do a certain damage. Just look at grenades, their use in film drives real soldiers up the wall.
 
Top