Filed by: Officer Warner
Thomas Gifford's novel
The Wind Chill Factor
- [amazon.com] [amazon.co.uk] (published in mass market paperback in 1994) includes this passage:
The 747 settled down through the night, floating through wisps of cloud like ack-ack from Long Island battlements.
In this sentence, ``like ack-ack'' is meant to describe the clouds. Unfortunately, the two active verbs, ``settled'' and ``floating'', hijack this phrase, turning it from an adjectival phrase (simile) into an adverbial phrase that modifies the two verbs, so the reader understands that the 747 is like ack-ack.
Secondly, ``ack-ack'' derives from World War 1 and later, while ``battlements'' carries a connotation of medieval warfare, leading to the impression of a mixed metaphor. ``Long Island anti-aircraft artillery'' would be better, but the whole sentence is such a mess, the only kind thing to do is to put it to death.
Fire the editor!