May 13, 2019
Tom Clancy Killed By Death At 66
Tom Clancy, the author of thrillers like The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games, has died in a Baltimore hospital at the age of 66. The Hunt for Red October happened along at a perfect time for a technologically driven thriller about a rogue Soviet submarine captain; President Ronald Reagan called it “the perfect yarn” and “non-put-downable.” Clancy returned the favor, dedicating 1997’s Executive Orders “To Ronald Reagan, The Man Who Won the War.”
The surprising success of Red October in 1985 — boosted by the thumbs-up from a president who liked to imagine he’d had an illustrious military career — helped establish the techno-thriller as a distinct genre; that first novel drew praise for Clancy’s almost obsessive attention to details of Soviet naval technology. The New York Times obit notes that in a 1986 interview, Clancy said
“When I met Navy Secretary John Lehman last year, the first thing he asked me about the book was, ‘Who the hell cleared it?’ ”
Clancy also translated his books’ popularity into several movie adaptations, as well as a profitable series of videogames with his name on them, although as the source of all knowledge drily states, “the extent of Clancy’s actual involvement with creation of the games and development of intellectual properties, if any, was unclear.” He also licensed his name to several series of books that he “created” but didn’t actually write, like Tom Clancy’s Op Center, Tom Clancy’s Net Force, Tom Clancy’s Power Plays, and Tom Clancy’s Shameless Exploitation Of The Mass Market.
So readers, when you encounter a novel where the technological details of major weapon is lovingly, accurately detailed and the characters require occasional infusions of wood pulp to retain their shapes, remember to thank Tom Clancy.