RIP Tom Clancy

October 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

, whose high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games” made him the most widely read and influential military novelist of his time, has died. He was 66.

Penguin Group (USA) said today that Clancy had died yesterday in Baltimore. The publisher did not disclose a cause of death.

“We are saddened by the passing of beloved bestselling author Tom Clancy. Fans worldwide, including us, will miss him greatly,” publisher Penguin Books USA said on its official Twitter feed.

The G.P. Putnam’s imprint that appeared on Clancy’s books is a unit of Penguin.

Clancy died in Johns Hopkins Hospital in his native Baltimore, Maryland, according to US media reports. A hospital spokeswoman was not immediately able to confirm that information.

Clancy arrived on best-seller lists in 1984 with “The Hunt for Red October.” He sold the manuscript to the first publisher he tried, the Naval Institute Press, which had never bought original fiction.

A string of other best-sellers soon followed, including “Red Storm Rising,” ”Patriot Games,” ”The Cardinal of the Kremlin,” ”Clear and Present Danger,” ”The Sum of All Fears,” and “Without Remorse.”

The Sum of all Fears is probably my favourite book. Executive Orders also very good. Actually I loved all the books Clancy wrote. However the books that appeared in his “universe” but were mainly written by someone else were pretty awful.

In 1996 I discovered the world of the Internet and especially Internet newsgroups, or Usenet. There were thousands of news groups including one called alt.books.tom-clancy. Fans could start and respond to threads about Clancy’s books.

After a couple of months I noticed a post from a tomclancy@aol.com. I assumed it was a fan, but it turned out to be Tom Clancy himself. So for around a decade you could interact with Clancy on the newsgroup, and get clarifications on his books, learn about future books etc. The Internet has been great for bringing authors and fans together, and Clancy was probably the first big time author to be publicly participating in this way.

Anyway very sad that there will be no more Clancy books beyond the one due out this year.

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17 Responses to “RIP Tom Clancy”

  1. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Bugger.

    Red Storm Rising was a real favourite and, of course, read the obligatory Jack Ryan books from Patriot Games through to Executive Orders.

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  2. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Anyway very sad that there will be no more Clancy books beyond the one due out this year.

    I wonder how many of the last dozen or so were actually written by Tom Clancy anyway. As you mentioned, the more recent ones written by other people are just pulp fiction and follow a formula.

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  3. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Rainbow Six was epic!

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  4. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    Personally I enjoyed his earlier thrillers but went off his stories as they became more fantastic political fantasy’s after “The sum Of All Fears” and completely ridiculous at “Debt Of Honour”.

    I was always very bothered by the reasons the movie gave his characters for defecting in “The Hunt For Red October” as the book’s made perfect sense and it continues to irritate me that it was such a pointless destructive change to make to the story.

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  5. Michael (910 comments) says:

    I lost track after Rainbow Six – I think they were getting too formulaic by then. But the earlier books were brilliant.

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  6. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Yes, Fentex, “Debt of Honour” was completely ridiculous. I mean, no one would ever hijack a civilian plane and deliberately crash it into buildings of national significance would they?

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  7. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I enjoyed Red October and Red Storm Rising for the wargame-type scenarios and great detail, but found the others a bit formulaic.

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  8. panda (13 comments) says:

    Without remorse is my fav followed by red storm rising

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  9. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    He took the Biggles Flies Again mould to a higher level, RIP.

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  10. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Red storm rising was freakin awesome. That was my first Clancy book.

    Red October is obviously awesome.

    Sum of all fears – i only saw the movie heh actually not bad!

    Without remorse was another stand out.

    I could only manage one book about jack ryans son. “daddy always said..” “mum told me i should..” awful.

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  11. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    Paramount just realised the poster for the new jack ryan movie.. staring captain kirk…

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  12. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    Sum of all fears, the baddies were Arabs.

    Hollyweird changed them into neo nazis for the movie.Strange that.

    Mustn’t be offensive to wogs.No matter how true it is.

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  13. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    “Debt of Honour” was completely ridiculous. I mean, no one would ever hijack a civilian plane and deliberately crash it into buildings of national significance would they?

    If Clancy had had the inspiration to start with that as the books opening rather than conclusion he’d have written a better book everyone would think exceptionally prophetic. But war with modern Japan that catapualted Ryan to the Presidency (after that ending) was all a bit far-fetched and destroyed my suspension of disbelief in Clancy’s books.

    The techno-competency porn was fun, but I found it hard to engage with as Clancy’s political fantasies were too unlikely to go along with.

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  14. woodburner (30 comments) says:

    Red Storm rising was my favourite stand alone. The storyline from Clear and Present Danger through to Executive orders was so well done. Kind of hope Hollywood makes a red storm rising film, but at the same time I know they will butcher it.

    The spin-off series like Net Force and Op-centre were rubblish.

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  15. George Patton (349 comments) says:

    A great shame for him to die at only 66.

    What did he die of? The statement was conspicuously absent on that point.

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  16. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    They are all good rip roaring yarns. Ronald Regan gave him a big boost when he said he was reading the Hunt for Red October and could not put it down.

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  17. meme (1 comment) says:

    I too used to be a frequent poster on alt.books.tom-clancy in the nineties when Tom used to frequently post. He’d answer questions on his books and give insights into current events. At one point he started getting too much spam on his tom.clancy@aol.com account so he started lurking and posting under a different username which was known to a select few. Getting this level of interaction with an author in those days was so rare.

    For the books my all time favourite, like so many others, is Red Storm Rising, however Without Remorse comes close.

    RIP Tom

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