Thursday, October 21, 2004

Summer Reading 9

The Bear and the Dragon, Red Rabbit, The Teeth of the Tiger by Tom Clancy

When I was in college, I once got into the elevator in my dorm and overheard the following line of a conversation between two other guys: "Weezer is so much better than Green Day."

I tried really hard not to laugh, not because it's obvious the guy was wrong, but because they were having the conversation in the first place. As music goes, both bands are so banal it's pathetic that he was trying to argue for the artistic merits of one over the other. I vowed never to engage in such a conversation.

I'm about to break that vow with the following sentence. Tom Clancy is so much better than Robert Ludlum.

Anyway, I'd been slacking on my Tom Clancy reading for a while, and I decided to catch up. (I've been reading Clancy since The Hunt for Red October came out. I've now read all his Jack Ryan novels.) TBatD wasn't too bad; it's pretty much an advertisement for the U.S. military.

I've noticed a pattern in Clancy's plots since Rainbow Six. They seem to be really anticlimactic. The climax of RS was really boring. As was the climax of TTotT. As was the climax of RR. Part of the reason is that the good guys have such better technology than the bad guys (see RS and TTotT) that there's really no contest when it comes down to fighting. At least Clancy respects this and doesn't place his heroes in harrowing situations for the sake of the harrow. No. The good guys have weapons that don't require the harrowing situation, and Clancy, despite the resulting boring climax, should at least be given credit for sticking to his guns. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)

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