03 October 2013

The Hunt for Patriotic Wish-fulfillment Fantasies

Tom Clancy, the inventor of the techno-thriller, is dead.

I read the first one, 'The Hunt for Red October', in 1985. It was rather novel then, a tonic for the defeatist attitudes that were still prevalent in some quarters in the height of the cold war. It was a relic of the Reagan years, where such a thriller served as a form of morale booster and also a herald of the Reagan military buildup. The subsequent novel, 'Red Storm Rising', was a piece of wishful thinking, self-indulgent third world war wish-fulfilment fantasy, essentially a waste of time, one would be better served by reading Sir John Hackett's 'The Third World War' (1978). After which, I tried 'Patriot Games' which I could not finish. His patriotic ra-ra volumes weren't my cup of tea, they were too much wish-fulfilment books, not unlike those power fantasies (Sandman, superhero comics) that teens indulge in.

Today? Well, I think they are unreadable, perhaps, only as a product and relic of their times. One could find cultural artifacts and attitudes in them.

I guess the surprise is of his sudden and somewhat seemingly early death.

As for Larry Bond, I have read one I think. I have also read some of the new breed of technothriller writers that came later. If it were going to be techno and war thrillers, I would prefer realistic treatments rather than patriotic wish-fulfilment fantasies.

30 September 2013