You probably didn’t hear it first here, but Tom Clancy is dead. He died yesterday, October 1st, which is kind of appropriate given that his first novel featuring Jack Ryan and what would become the Ryanverse was The Hunt for Red October.
How does one summarize Tom Clancy? I think that an analysis of the Ryan-Ethic might make an interesting masters-level thesis. A summary of the Ryan-Ethic might be that real men protect women and children and that is all that real men do. Real men make money so they can protect their women and children. Real men are cops/military officers/spies to protect their women and children. The world is full of nasties and men must protect their women and children. There is a Roman Catholic spin put upon this, but that is a basic summary. Because all Clancy’s men are driven by the Ryan-Ethic, they are all pretty similar and flat. The women are beautiful, talented, and smart, but in need of protection. The children are cute, talented, and smart, but in need of protection. Women and children use their talents and smarts in the arts or other fields. Men use their smarts to protect women and children.
I should stop. I used to like the series, that is why I’ve read most of the books. I have not read the most recent offerings, and am not sure that I will. I don’t think they stray from the path described above. The first book, The Hunt for Red October, does not preach the Ryan-Ethic in the same way the later books do, though I may be mis-remembering that. On my last library purge, I thought about dumping all my Clancy books. I didn’t quite do it, I kept four: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Debt of Honor, and Executive Orders. Maybe I’ll re-read them soon in memory of Clancy. Then maybe I’ll be able to dump them.