Tom Clancy’s geniusEnglishTom Clancy’s geniusThe Cold War and post Cold War eras have brought with them manyinteresting aspects. New technologies initially meant for massdestruction filter down into the civilian world, making current liveseasier. One example of this is the anti-lock braking systems of today’scars. Originally designed to slow fighter-planes on landing withoutskidding, these systems make it safer for parents to take their childrenon vacation.
One less noted advancement the eras brought is aconsiderable amount of exciting and forewarning fiction. While mostauthors chose to warn of nuclear and post nuclear holocaust, onesignificant author chose a different approach. Tom Clancy chose towrite of conventional warfare and sometimes unconventional enemies. Between his novel Red Storm Rising and Debt of Honor, Tom Clancy makesevident the changing face of America’s enemies and threats, whilestaying true to issues that keep people interested in his books. Published in 1986, Red Storm Rising is Tom Clancy’s second noveldealing with the former Soviet Union as a potential enemy. This was atime when America’s finest tank and infantry units went on exercises inGermany fully armed with the expectation that the Russians could attackthem at any time.
This was also a time when the Soviets did the sameexercises with the same amount of live ammunition. Therefore there wasreason enough to worry about potential conflicts. Deep within the oceanwaters, submarines played similar cat and mouse games with othersubmarines and surface ships. However some of these submarines weremore dangerous then a whole army because they were fully loaded withnuclear missles. These facts were well know to the American public andmade Red Storm Rising all the more real when it combined land and oceanwarfare in a way that captivated millions of readers. The book begins as the Soviet Union’s ability to provide their own oilis cut off by a terrorist attack.
Right away it is noted that two veryfrightening events have just happened. Terrorism, for one, is a majorscare tactic that can and does strike fear into millions. This wasdemonstrated by two suspected attacks in the U. S. recently (Bombing ofFlight 800 and the Olympic Park bombing).
Secondly, the threat oflosing petroleum resources is enough to drive governments to drasticmeasures. This fact is evident in the world’s participation in the 1991Gulf War. The leaders of the Soviet Union decided that the only way toprevent the total collapse of their economy and country was to seize theoil rich Middle East. They also realized that the countries that makeup the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in particular theUnited States would not stand for this hostile action. Consequently theSoviets determine that it will be necessary to neutralize NATOconventionally; that is to say without nuclear weapons. Of course, throughout the Cold War the many themes of the U.
S. S. R. attacking the U. S are presented by various authors. All of these hadthe same result: nuclear holocaust.
One exception is that Red StormRising is the first to present it (theme of U. S. S. R. attacking the U. S.
)in a non-nuclear scenario. This is very intriguing to examine thepossibilities which include all the new technological weapons in theAmerican and Soviet arsenals. Red Storm Rising captivates audienceswith its techno-wizardry of smart bombs and satellite guided cruisemissles. ?It was like an arcade game.
Big, slow-moving blips denotedthe aircraft. Smaller, quicker blips were the Mach-2 missiles (Clancy178). ?This was seen by a radar operator who was under attack duringRed Storm Rising. However it is not the high tech gadgets that appeal to audiences of RedStorm Rising.
There is a personable feel as the reader becomes betteracquainted with the characters and sympathizes for them and thedecisions they make. This is not the story of machines run byartificial intelligence, these are real people, friends, and neighborsof the reader. Bob Toland was a middle-level analyst at the National Security Agency. He’d left the Navy after six years whey the adventure of uniformedservice had palled, but he remained an active reservist.
His work atNSA dovetailed nicely with his naval reserve service. A communicationsexpert with a degree in electronics, his current job eas monitoringSovien signals gathered by the NSA’s numerous listening posts and ferretsatellites. Along the way he’d also gotten a masters in the Russianlanguage (Clancy 55). The description of Bob Toland could apply to anyone in the WashingtonD. C.
area or any neighborhood across the U. S. With the ending of world communism, reunification of Germany, andbreakup of the Soviet Union, Tom Clancy’s books evolved to present moremodern enemies and even several ?What if?? situations. This is the casewith his latest novel Debt of Honor.
This installment of the Jack Ryansaga, Clancy’s main character, was published in 1994. It takes placemostly on American soil with other parts in Japan and the PacificOcean. This piece of tecno-thiller centers around a possible trade warbetween the U. S.
and Japan. This ?What if?? outlook of Clancy’s wasseen in real life in the spring of 1995 as a potential trade war withJapan was averted by quick thinking on the part of both governments. The novel is complete with Clancy’s usual well-timed and interestingplot structure. As one coincidental event leads to another, theantagonist of the story, Mr Yamata, realizes his chance to pay back thedebt of honor he has to the U. S. Yamata’s family was dishonored bycommitting suicide on the island of Saipan rather than being captured bythe U.
S. during World War II. This historical fact brings the plot tolife as the reader tends to wonder when this will happen. The novel also highlights some very interesting political processesinvolving ambassadors and diplomats. It brings to light the amount ofbargaining and ?give and take? that is required to accomplish an agendain international politics. This is illustrated by an American diplomatand a Japanese diplomat discuss an upcoming treaty.
??Your help will beinvaluable, Chris,’ Nagumo said quietly, thinking more rapidly now. ?Ican help you with interpreting our laws–quietly, of course,’ headded. . . (Clancy 206).
?Debt of Honor also brings about the idea that several enemies mightunite in order to achieve a common goal. The goal happens to be thedefeat of the United States by engineering a computer related crash ofthe entire economic system of the U. S. This thought alone, of acomputer crash, has scared many writers and businesspeople who depend oncomputers for work. The common computer crash has even reached home totouch children and adults alike when the computer ceases to perfom asexpected and even freezes up.
The particular crash that disables theeconomy is quite commonly called a virus. Viruses effect Americansalmost everyday in ways they might not even recognize. One of the mostpublicized viruses is the Michelangelo Virus. This virus attacks anyinfected computer booted up on March 6, the birthday of 16th centurypainter Michelangelo. It is obvious how the threat of a virus keepsreaders’ noses in Tom Clancy’s books. As the face of world politics change, it is evident that the works ofTom Clancy will change as well.
From his beginnings with Red StormRising and his latest novel Debt of Honor, Clancy has kept abreast ofcurrent events and technologies in order to bring to the reader anintriguing and realistic story. He has interviewed admirals, generalsand has even been to the White House to meet the President. His writingmechanics and techniques of reader manipulation keep readers filled withsuspense and compassion for the characters until the book’s end. Evenat that point, it leaves readers longing for more.