Thursday, October 03, 2013


Tom Clancy has died. He was 66.

Although he was a prolific author, I can't say that I read more than one of his books: The Hunt for Red October. The prose struck me as rather dry and technically correct; the novel wasn't the most gripping or witty prose I had ever encountered. I also thought the 1984 adventure was a rip-off of the 1977 Firefox by Craig Thomas; both stories involve the theft of Russian stealth technology. It may simply be that I have no sea legs when it comes to dead-tree spy thrillers; I like espionage films well enough, but my reading tends more toward old-school science fiction (Niven, Asimov, Heinlein) and fantasy (Donaldson, Tolkien). Still, there's no denying that Clancy had a rabid following, and the man was obviously a genius when it came to business: he ended up branching out into video games, and according to some reports, he was roughly a 300-millionaire by the end of his short life. My condolences go out to Clancy's friends and family; the man might not have been my kind of writer, but he was a man all the same, worthy of some witness to his passing.



Surprises Aplenty said...

Funny that you mention Tolkien. I was at a bookstore today and saw he has a new book out ( Zelezny had similar longevity as the author of new books after he died. I wonder how many new ones will come from Clancy.

Kevin Kim said...

Interesting thought. Some authors, like that fabled road in Tolkien's opus, go ever on and on.

Bratfink said...

Funny that you should say that 'The Hunt for Red October' was like 'Firefox'. When 'Hunt' came out I was working in an electronics firm in California that made transponders--and if you read the book you know that they are basically the signposts in the ocean.

This made the book especially interesting to me and my co-workers.

Clancy was too young to die. Sixty-six is just not old. :(

Charles said...

I read quite a bit of Clancy when I was younger, and I just so happened to be reading through his stuff again on my Kindle. I finished Patriot Games last night on the train.

I will agree that he was perhaps not the best of writers, technically speaking, but he knew how to weave a yarn, and he knew the stuff he wrote about. Strangely enough, what sticks out to me most now, reading his books again after about twenty years, is how embarrassingly patriotic--almost jingoistic at times--they sound. The man loved his country, though, and thought America was indeed exceptional. He will be missed.