exercises in compound storytelling

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Hunt for Red October

I recently fished a bunch of Tom Clancy books out of the free bin at Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos, and I promised I read at least some of them. I think these books are important, not because they're good, or whatever, but because they capture the spirit of the times prior to the second Bush administration.

What can I say about this book? It's basically an American James Bond novel that reads like it was written by an engineer; I had never read such a loving description of a machine breaking down (in this case, a nuclear reactor going critical) as I found in this book.

The Hunt for Red October is fast-paced, and its five hundred pages mostly flew by, but I found myself thinking that the story was for all intents and purposes over once Jack Ryan kills the saboteur on the sub, and the last couple of chapters, where Ryan ends up piloting the sub through an encounter with a Soviet sub, is unnecessary and just way over the top. Not suspenseful, just silly.

Congratulations to Mr Clancy, etc. for turning his hobby into a wildly lucrative career, and all that.

Zemanta Pixie

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