I was watching The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and I noticed some similaities to the novel I've been working on.
- There is an oil derrick. This similarity doesn't rrouble me. Mine is set in an oil town and has more right to oil derricks than a movie set in the Sierra Madre.
- The oil boss doesn't pay the workers. This similarity dates back to Jerry's original.. It's a scene in the movie and just a phrase in mine, but i can't cut it because it's foreshadowing.
- In the movie the workers are stiffed as above and thus there is a bar fight. My bar fight is entirely unrelated to the stiifage, but still, workers are stiffed and there's a bar fight. The bar fight is in Jerry's original too.
- Someone can allegedly smell treasure. It's just a phrase in the movie, but it's a key plot point in mine. The old prospector mentions a friend who thought he could smell gold. I've got a similar situation with oil.
- Finally, in both there are banditos who feel strongly that they don't need no stinking badges.
No, that last one's not true. But I am concerned to think that I was too influenced by this movie. I'll have to look back in the archives and see if I wrote the outline after I saw the movie.
All those things were extremely common things back then, so I would not worry about it. (I have not run across an *oil* dude not paying his workers, just because I've read fewer oil books, but... stiffing or shortchanging workers when you thought you could was definitely a thing.)(er, *is* definitely a thing, see also insisting on paying people via for-charge debit cards, requiring them to go through security screenings before they clock in, various forms of wage theft...)
Sometimes old fiction books explain the magic smelling powers as someone having absorbed a lot about geology, etc. so as to be able to see where things are likely, but saying they can "smell" water or gold or oil is interpersonally easier than trying to explain this to a "but this site doesn't look any different from that site" poor-observation-skills skeptics. Other times you just plain have seventh-son-of-a-seventh-son/magic-stick stuff going on. (other times they have a magnetic-headed staff sticking to the place in the cave floor under which there is a copper deposit but not where there is iron and I shake my head and sigh.)
Posted by: KC | January 04, 2023 at 12:46 PM
KC - that IS a magic stick. and maybe a magic confirmation bias stick.
Posted by: theQueen | January 04, 2023 at 08:58 PM
My best guess is that the author knew a tiny bit about magnets and thought there were probably magnets for each type of metal, but who really knows?
Anyway! You can probably do better than that!
Also it is possible to literally smell oil, in some cases (when there's just enough saturation of the ground or contamination of water, some people can smell it and some can't)(our household has two noses and those noses are on the opposite ends of the average-nose-sensitivity spectrum, so I have no problem believing that one cowboy out of 20 can smell something the rest of them absolutely can't - and that goes double if the other 19 smoke and the one doesn't!), so you've got that going for you as well: it is in fact more plausible than smelling treasure! :-)
Posted by: KC | January 05, 2023 at 12:35 PM
KC - well, I was on my way to finding that they have invented: " ... highly sensitive electronic noses called sniffers that can 'sniff out' hydrocarbons" but I was waylaid by the discovery that some people get addicted to the smell of gasoline.
Posted by: theQueen | January 05, 2023 at 09:42 PM
Like, "addicted to shopping" addicted, or physiologically-dependent addicted, because if the latter, then I definitely want to know more, but if the former, eh, I know people "addicted" to air fresheners, perfumes, the smell of the woods, etc. and also know someone who finds the scent of bleach very soothing and honestly I kind of like the smell of windex myself, so...
Posted by: KC | January 06, 2023 at 12:17 PM
KC - what I read referred to dopamine and serotonin, so I'd say physically addicted.
Posted by: theQueen | January 06, 2023 at 03:35 PM
But the dopamine hit you get from getting a "like" on a facebook post isn't the same as a chemical dependence a la nicotine exactly? (but yes, you're right, the line is fuzzy)(I've got alllll sorts of opinions about drug dependence, though, too; is it dependence if *you still have the condition the medication is ameliorating* or only if you can't get off the med once the physical problem has gone away?)
Posted by: KC | January 07, 2023 at 11:57 AM