(1947-2013) US writer of Cold War thrillers and other similar works, at least one of which – Red Storm Rising (1986), in which war breaks out between NATO and the USSR after a mid-1980s Islamic terrorist attack against Soviet oil facilities – is a standalone Technothriller that can now be read as Alternate History. Of somewhat greater sf interest is the long Jack Ryan/John Clark sequence, which moves from present-day dramas into a set of Near Future political crises climaxing, rather gingerly, in a Future War between China and much of the rest of the world. The most famous of these books is the first, The Hunt for Red October (1984); the Future War scenario is unpacked mainly in The Sum of All Fears (1991), Debt of Honor (1994) – which sees Ryan become President of the United States after a terrorist crashes a plane into the White House, killing the incumbent – Executive Orders (1996) and The Bear and the Dragon (2000). Several of these novels were made into films; that of The Sum of All Fears (2002) is especially interesting for its depiction of the American attitude to terrorism on the cusp of 11 September 2001. During Ryan's presidency, individual novels share venues and some of the pacing of the television series 24 (2001-2010, with further series projected), though it views the further edge of the present from a more conservative political point of view. Rather jarringly, having mapped out an internally coherent future history, Clancy's next Jack Ryan novel The Teeth of the Tiger (2003) (actually the novel concerns Ryan's son) reverts to real twenty-first-century events, incorporating the 9-11 Twin Towers terrorist attack and subsequent war in Afghanistan.
The Op-Center Universe sequence is essentially associational and, though inspired by Clancy, has been written by Jeff Robin. A kind of spin-off, the Net Force and Net Force Explorers books, similarly occasioned, are written solo or in various collaborative combinations by Diane Duane, Steve Perry, Steve R Pieczenik and Larry Segriff. The Power Plays books were created by Clancy and Martin H Greenberg and written by Jerome Preisler. None of these sequences edges close enough to genuine speculation to list here. [JC/AR]
see also: First Person Shooter.
Thomas Leo Clancy Jr
born Baltimore, Maryland: 12 April 1947
died Baltimore, Maryland: 1 October 2013
Previous versions of this entry