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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tom Clancy, father of the techno-thriller, has passed away

Tom Clancy was one of the first authors who I would eagerly await the next novel from.  I was a high school sophomore when the film adaptation of The Hunt for Red October came out and I read the novel soon afterward.  I spent the next several months and into the summer devouring everything Clancy that I could find.  The night before Hurricane Katrina hit, I curled up with my newly-bought copy of Executive Orders and by the time the storm's outer bands were hitting I couldn't have cared less: Clancy had engrossed me again.

Tom Clancy was a pure American... I'm not going to just say "writer" but also, just leave it at "pure American".  What do I mean by that?  This is a guy who had dreamed as a kid of being a pilot in the United States Navy.  What kept him from having that dream was an eye condition that instantly disqualified him.  Clancy wound up going into the insurance business... but he never quite gave up on his dream.  What did he do?  He started reading and researching United States military aircraft and naval vessels.  He learned everything he could about the government and military of the Soviet Union.  And then he set out to write what President Reagan would later call "the perfect yarn".  Almost thirty years later and The Hunt for Red October is arguably the definitive novel of modern naval warfare.  As well as being one hell of a gripping story.

He couldn't be in the Navy, so he made a phenomenally successful career out of writing about the Navy.  And along the way became perhaps the most prominent icon of the modern Navy.  How many other places in the world could someone have an opportunity to do a thing like that?

Tom Clancy - who gave us Jack Ryan, Marko Ramius, John Clark, Ding Chavez and many other characters in a genre he made all his own if not created single-handed - passed away Tuesday.  He was 66.  At the time of his passing he had another novel due out later this year.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family.  Think I'll watch The Hunt for Red October tonight in his memory.


Anonymous said...

Tom was a living tribute to pursuing one's dream until it became a reality. He had a hard time getting Red October published, but he believed in the story and got it printed. SO thankful he did! Being a bit older than you Chris I got to read all his books as they came out, always enjoyed his writing.

Thanks for commemorating this great author.