Clancy, Tom: (01) The Hunt for Red October

Some backlog clearing: After re-reading Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, I acquired a used copy of The Hunt for Red October. This is his first published novel, the start of the Jack Ryan continuity, and probably his best work. Clancy is very bad at people at any level other than their technical competence (such as politics, emotions, and sex), and happily this book is just lots of soothing technogeekery about submarines. It’s not hard to understand why it was initially published by the Naval Institute Press rather than a traditional fiction publisher; I guess its surprising success is a good example of how sometimes readers actually like exposition.

The movie captures the spirit of the book fairly well, though it is dumbed down in a couple of places for (unnecessary) dramatic tension.

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  1. Yeah, this one’s still fun. For a weird kick, read it in some other language, to see how the translator deals with things like “megakludge to the max!”.

  2. I re-read this while I was recuperating from FutureBaby becoming ActualBaby, starting in the hospital; it was better post-surgery reading than the other books I’d brought because it wouldn’t make me laugh and, also, was on top of the stack one night when I needed a book.
    I found myself noticing that Clancy’s prose is really clunky, but the story still is weirdly soothing.

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