Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

Tom Clancy sucks: official

Look, OK, when some things completely change in nature from one chapter to the next, I can take it.

When assumptions are made about countries based on nothing but the vaguest preconceptions (see: Russians drinking vodka all day), I can just about tolerate it.

But a sentence like "He paid her well, in euros or d-marks" is just insulting to the reader's intelligence. Especially since this particular edition was printed in Britain, ostensibly for European consumption.
Permalink Flasher T is 21 years old 
August 22nd, 2005
That's mere bagatelle compared to that Dan fellah.


If there was a prize for cramming the most foreign language words into a short English sentence then the one above could be in the running.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 22nd, 2005
Well, first you have to realize that Clancy has been Asimoved -- by which I mean, he doesn't write as much stuff as gets his name on it anymore.

By which I mean -- he's created several "series", which are now written by other people. So, it's "Tom Clancy's Op Center" (by Richard Kiley) or whoever.

Personally, I stopped reading his stuff after he crashed that 747 into the Capitol Building, in a desperate attempt to make Jack Ryan president. His stuff was interesting when he was talking about the Cold War, but once Russia fell his stuff got increasingly disconnected and awkward. Anti-Drugs, Anti-Terrorist, Anti-China-Takes-Over-The-World.

Of course, it's easy to criticize, hard to create. And I hope he's laughing all the way to the bank. But I do agree the quality has gone downhill.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 22nd, 2005
If it helps, I've met him in person, and he's an asshole. :)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
August 22nd, 2005
Ah but he shits pure money.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 22nd, 2005
" If it helps, I've met him in person, and he's an asshole. :)

Philo"

He put Bill O'Reilly in his place during an interview on that show. Good 'nuff for me!
Permalink sharkfish 
August 22nd, 2005
I enjoy his stories, even if they are techno-porn. You know, the sort of story where you devote page after page to the glorious enunciation of technobabble. "She held the CRM115 discriminator gently, it wasn't the older CRM114 model that gave so much trouble, especially when set to OPE or POE. Jack could tell she knew what it was by the way she touched and carressed the setting dial, he was .... "

You're right about the OpCenter stuff, it is franchised out. I think he writes a story outline and lets the franchise holder finish it.

I had just finished Debt of Honor (plane crashes into the Capitol, killing off both houses of congress and getting Jack promoted just minutes after being sworn in as the new VP) days before 911. I was a few chapters into the sequel (bear and dragon) on 11sep2001. Our office building housed 2 whole floors of IRS (one floor needed a key to get off the elevator) so the building was evacuated within minutes of the first plane hitting the WTC (we were told the building was being shut down for security reasons before the second plane hit).
Permalink Peter 
August 22nd, 2005
If it helps, I've met him in person, and he's an asshole. :)

Philo


Beat me to it. He had the nerve to come to our military base when I was kid and talked about how much great shit he does for the military and how much the military personel should be thanking him, blah, blah. I can't believe he made it out alive. The General on the base appologized the next day for inviting him. My parents got rid of all their Clancy books the next day (my father had just got back from the first Gulf War).

Total Asshole.
Permalink Jared 
August 22nd, 2005
Peter,

Nice use of the Dr. Strangelove snippets/interpolation.

One of my favorite movies.
Permalink hoser 
August 22nd, 2005
He did predict the airplane smash into the tower situation though...
Permalink sharkfish 
August 22nd, 2005
Predict or spell it out?
Permalink hoser 
August 22nd, 2005
The key to identifying the truly bad Tom Clancy novels is look for the apostrophe. Anything with an apostrophe in it is one of his ghost-written hack jobs.
Permalink example 
August 22nd, 2005
Hoser, sharkfish, I wouldn't call it predict or even spell out. The premise of Debt of Honor was that the US ended up in a tradewar with Japan. Don't forget the kamekazes, it isn't like smashing a plane into a building is new or anything. There were plenty of technoporn snippets in the book, like how the bombs dropping out of a B2 had a greater radar cross-section than the B2 they dropped from, so the antiaircraft gunners could lock onto the falling bombs. Oh, for the simplicity of my beloved CRM113 discriminator which had far less flaws than that clunky CRM114 discriminator, and it didn't use that defective 7-dimensional trajectory baloney.

Dr Strangelove is one of my favorites too. I once dated a Russian gal, and in order to explain a short snippet on 1 Simpsons episode, I ended up playing it for her. At the end, one of the first things she asked me was "why do you have *that* movie?" while I was hunting down the lyrics for the song at the end.

Oh, I think the plot in Clancy novels is merely used to glue together the technical porn. He describes hardware nicely, but doesn't really understand people. Which is the opposite of say, Lois McMaster-Bujold: the rayguns and spaceships are just punctuation, and the stories are about people, and human issues.
Permalink Peter 
August 22nd, 2005
Actually the sequel to Debt of Honor is Executive Orders, where Iran decimates the US by releasing the Ebola virus at the New York Auto Show. And then, of course, the US proceeds to kick its ass.

Bear and Dragon is the next one after that, the one I'm reading right now. The reason I even bothered was that I read Teeth of the Tiger before that, and it was actually pretty decent. But this book, well, I paid full retail for it in Estonia, so I'm determined to finish it. Fortunately I'm two-thirds of the way through, and he's just doing his war stuff now, which is better.
Permalink Flasher T 
August 23rd, 2005
"while I was hunting down the lyrics for the song at the end."

You mean you don't know the words to "We'll Meet Again" ???
Permalink Katie Lucas 
August 23rd, 2005
"You mean you don't know the words to "We'll Meet Again" ?"

I'd imagine most people born after the late 30s/early 40s wouldn't know them either. I have a vague recollection of the chorus, but it's a dull and tedious song and I've never paid it much attention...
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 23rd, 2005
The War was most current topic in the school playground (after boasting of seeing the Outer Limits) in the early 60's and probably beyond. Vera Lynn was trotted out until at least the 80's every year. I'd have thought Whale Meat Again was fairly well known, the first verse and chorus anyway.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 23rd, 2005
Apart from GCSE history and the odd game of Axis and Allies I've not really gotten involved in discussions of WW2. I've certainly never voluntarily listened to Vera Lynne -- she's filed under "stuff my grandparents used to listen to when they were young" along with George Formby and that berk who sang the theme tune to Dad's Army (I want to say "Bud Bundy", but I know that's wrong :D), and there she will remain.

I could hum the tune, but I've never been interested in it enough to get beyond "we'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again, blah blah blah blahhhh".
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 23rd, 2005
My recollection of the song is coloured by the groaned words "oh for fuck's sake not that again" along with my dad rolling his eyes.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
August 23rd, 2005
Bud Flanagan of Flanagan and Allen.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 23rd, 2005
Swinging along the road to wictory (have a banana), swinging along the road to victory. I'm telling you, and you'll agree with me, we're in this fight for the sake of liberty ... Mum would sing this sometimes while pegging out the clothes.

Skipping over the '70s in Nam (where IMHO some of the finest martial music ever was laid down) we are now confronted with almost total warsong silence since Bette Midler's Wings... offering to the First Goilf War:
http://www.bettelyrics.com/

I've heard rumours of some kickass music about the current operation but none's filtering through to this part of the planet. Like Ted Nugent. I've an ancient LP of his deep in the attic which never gets out but suddenly he's all wrapped up in new effort. Doubt we're missing much, as a lyricist he made a great guitarist.

So what war-effort songs will you pass along? For me it's Redgum's "I was only Nineteen" mainly because I can't sing:

http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/o/onlynineteen.shtml
Permalink trollop 
August 23rd, 2005
Wictory <- victory.

Wow, I need a new bigger monitor or new glasses :-)
Permalink trollop 
August 23rd, 2005
We need more songs like Tom Lehrer's:

So long, Mom,
I'm off to drop the bomb,
So don't wait up for me.
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter,
You can see me
On your TV.

While we're attacking frontally,
Watch Brinkally and Huntally,
Describing contrapuntally
The cities we have lost.
No need for you to miss a minute
Of the agonizing holocaust. (Yeah!)

Little Johnny Jones he was a U.S. pilot,
And no shrinking vi'let was he.
He was mighty proud when World War Three was declared,
He wasn't scared,
No siree!

And this is what he said on
His way to Armageddon:

So long, Mom,
I'm off to drop the bomb,
So don't wait up for me.
But though I may roam,
I'll come back to my home,
Although it may be
A pile of debris.

Remember, Mommy,
I'm off to get a commie,
So send me a salami,
And try to smile somehow.
I'll look for you when the war is over,
An hour and a half from now!
Permalink example 
August 23rd, 2005
Poifect Cold War hit that was & had to be, Mr. Lehrer had a lot to diss&play. How about this (glsd to see it's being kept):

http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1539.html
Permalink trollop 
August 23rd, 2005
Katie, one of the part time jobs she did was to sing in russian nightclubs (to pre-recorded music, think "professional karaoke" if you need an idea). No, I didn't know the words. But I did have to hunt them down for her, since it *is* a rather nice song, although, I suppose it got way too much playtime in the 30s/40s. Like Bette Midler gets these days. My computer room was partially devoted to a mini-recording studio, so I'd frequently mix up some tracks for her to sing to. Or burn a CD of her singing to send back to family in Russia/Ukraine.

And for you...
We'll Meet Again
by Vera Lynn
----
We'll meet again
We'll meet again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through,
Just like you always do
Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say "Hello"
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song

We'll meet again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day

We'll meet again,
Don't know where
Don't know when.
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day.
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies
Drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say "Hello"
To the folks that I know.
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go,
I was singin' this song.

We'll meet again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Permalink Peter 
August 23rd, 2005
Not to mention Vera Lynn's other big hit:

http://www.theguitarguy.com/whitecli.htm
Permalink trollop 
August 23rd, 2005
The unassailable is still "Lili Marlene":

http://ingeb.org/garb/lmarleen.html
Permalink trollop 
August 23rd, 2005
"Which is the opposite of say, Lois McMaster-Bujold: the rayguns and spaceships are just punctuation, and the stories are about people, and human issues."

Absolutely, Peter. I got half way through Cetaganda, but I realized I was reading a series and thought, "I should read from the beginning" but never got around to it.
I am a fan of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. I never thought running around in freezing weather on mountains could be so interesting...
Permalink sharkfish 
August 23rd, 2005
I read some of his earlier stuff in 8th grade and I was too young to really appreciate it. I liked Executive Orders okay, but I thought Rainbow Six was much better. I don't remember the title, but the book that introduces Mr Clark was very good.
Permalink Joel Coehoorn 
August 23rd, 2005
Oh, and DrStrangluv is my gaming name (Counter Strike, Tactical Ops, Unreal Tournament2k3)
Permalink Joel Coehoorn 
August 23rd, 2005
example, I suspect you'd like "War Again" from Boingo (last album by Oingo Boigo)

Don't you know we drop smart bombs?
They're so clever, they only kill bad people now...

Philo
Permalink Philo 
August 23rd, 2005
Sadly, I only have one of their albums -- "Boi-ngo", and it's not on there.
I'll put it on my "to buy" list.
Permalink example 
August 23rd, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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