TOM CLANCY Biography - Writers


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Tom Clancy is no stranger to bookstore bestseller racks worldwide. His                     
remarkable first novel, The Hunt For Red October, was first published in an                 
edition of about 14,000 by the Naval Institute Press -- its first publication of           
a work of fiction, and somewhat of a gamble -- but then, as Clancy puts it, "Boom!"         
Prior to Hunt, hailed by President Reagan as "the perfect yarn," his collected             
writings numbered one letter to the editor, a three-page article on the MX                 
missile (both published in the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute), and quite           
a few insurance policies. Five million paperbacks, 400,000 hardcovers, thousands           
of computer games and one hit film later, it's safe to say the Institute made a             
major discovery.                                                                           
Clancy's tale of the defection of Capt. Marko Ramius and his ultraquiet Soviet "boomer,"   
or ballistic missile submarine, and American intelligence analyst Jack Ryan's               
efforts to safely "acquire" the boat was first greeted by surprise and anger               
from the US Navy, which was worried about national security infringements. In               
time, the Navy and the Department of Defense realized that, aside from being               
darn good stories, Clancy's books were good for business, both for recruiting (Hunt         
has done for the Silent Service what Top Gun did for naval aviation), and for               
budgetary leverage with Congress. The military has encouraged Clancy's writing             
ever since, and their assistance has in turn strengthened Clancy's work.                   
A week's tour of a missile frigate, courtesy of the Navy, lent impressive                   
credibility to the CIC scenes aboard the warships Reuben James and Pharris in               
Red Storm Rising, Clancy's second and more ambitious novel of a Europe in flames.           
An immediate bestseller, it is now required reading in American war colleges and,           
doubtless, overseas ones as well. Clancy's chilling look at a very plausible               
World War III, in all its bloody unnecessity, was greeted as more than fiction;             
of his works it's been said that "They're read like the real thing!" -- that               
statement from Vice President Dan Quayle. Clancy's friend and wargame designer             
Larry Bond, also a bestselling technothriller author (Red Phoenix), is warmly               
credited by Clancy as his coauthor-in-fact, although his name doesn't appear on             
the cover.                                                                                 
Clancy's third novel, Patriot Games, marked a different and more human turn from           
its technologically-heavy, lightly-characterized predecessors. Jack Ryan returns,           
and this time his family is imperiled by Irish revolutionaries after Ryan foils             
their attempt on the British royal family. There are still a lot of                         
technological details, but this time we feel Ryan's anguish over his family. At             
the book's climax overlooking Chesapeake Bay, Ryan declines to kill the                     
terrorist responsible for his family's injuries. Clancy himself says he'd have "blown       
away" the perp, but that Ryan had to play by the rules. "No-one messes with my             
family," Clancy has vowed. He has a wife and four children.                                 
Cardinal of the Kremlin explored the dark tradecraft of deep-cover espionage               
with Clancy's trademark detailing and scrutiny. While critics often complain               
about Clancy's characterization, anyone who isn't hanging on every word and                 
desperately hoping the Red Army officer-turned-American-counterspy can be safely           
extracted after a lifetime of service has been sleeping through the book's best             
passages. Another triumph for Jack Ryan's character as well, Clancy's fourth               
novel continues Ryan's rise in the ranks of the CIA.                                       
In Clancy's fifth and most recent bestseller, Clear and Present Danger, Ryan has           
reached the level of Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and is faced with             
Operation Showboat, a Presidentially-authorized covert operation to damage                 
Colombian Cartel drug operations, gone terribly awry.                                       
This time, in the era of glasnost and perestroika, Clancy's antagonists aren't             
Communists, although the Cuban intelligence officer-turned-freelancer now                   
working for the Cartel almost steals the show with his well-drawn background and           
nefarious insights. A million copies of this latest blockbuster were shipped in             
hardcover alone; you can expect the deluge of paperbacks almost any month now.             
Clancy's sixth book? Right now, there isn't one. After five successful novels (Tom's       
an author-ace!), he states that he'd like a more meaningful role in national               
defense and strategy, and has been offered a position as an unpaid consultant to           
the National Space Council.                                                                 
Tom lives in Prince Frederick, Maryland with his wife Wanda and four children in           
a house which, much like Jack Ryan's, overlooks Chesapeake Bay on a cliff. A               
confirmed gun enthusiast, Clancy's new house was intended to have a shooting               
range built on the property. He has a rigid sense of right and wrong: "good guys"           
are children, surgeons and anyone in uniform and "bad guys" are politicians,               
reporters and communists. ("A lawyer," he's joked, "is just like an attack dog,             
but without a conscience.") In his words, he's "just a nerd who reads books" and           
"a gadget freak" since he was a kid who was captivated by the idea of a manned             
space program long before there was one. Sensitive and sentimental, he shies               
away from queasy roller-coaster rides and has a Ryanesque aversion to                       
unnecessary flying, and openly weeps over ballads in Broadway musicals. Dragon*Con/Origins 
1990 is pleased and honored to welcome Tom Clancy, easily one of the most                   
influential authors of modern times, as its Guest Of Honor.