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The Hunt for Red October (1984)

por Tom Clancy

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Jack Ryan (01), Jack Ryan, Publication Order (1), Jack Ryan, Chronological Order

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11,187117595 (4.01)214
The Soviets' new ballistic-missile submarine is attempting to defect to the United States, but the Soviet Atlantic fleet has been ordered to find and destroy her at all costs. Can Red October reach the U.S. safely?
Adicionado recentemente porhardenr, Mace2Space, bobalobabingbong, vorefamily, biblioteca privada, davidgloer, BooksAndWhimsy, siriusnoire, nicosilver
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Mostrando 1-5 de 115 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
great story; may be Clancy's best; really good movie
( )
  dlinnen | Feb 3, 2024 |
Love it ( )
  atrillox | Nov 27, 2023 |
Second read for me and it still holds up. Great writing and great story telling with a little bit of knowledge gained by the end. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
Well, if a classic author is one who survives his own death, then I guess that Tom has at least a modest claim to be the maker of classics—ten years cold in his grave, and he’s still shelved in CVS (pharmacy) next to a recent Danielle Steel novel and the latest Zig & Nola book. I suppose that’s sorta an accomplishment. Of course, books aren’t all intellectual; in a way a healthy vegan protein bar is a more intellectual thing to buy than the books they sell in a pharmacy, but there’s more to life than looking down on one’s neighbors, too. Sometimes they get more things right than we think.

And, sure, Tom could be a bit of a Cold Warrior, America’s right by definition, and apparently sometimes he felt a little sorry for himself, (maybe not the healthiest person), They’re coming for the Irish Catholics, I tell ya, the dark night of communism is going to set over our empire, etc etc., but, what are you gonna do. Boys like guns and other boys on their side who like guns, and they don’t like being told that they’re wrong about things, because if that happens they have to cry to the Mother, because you’re not allowed to just shoot people in the real world, you know. And people can be asses, you know. Although actually that’s one of the beliefs I’m trying to release; me over here, you all over there. Anyway.

…. And I mean, I’m not more fond of Russians than other people, or Americans. Of course, Cold War Clancy isn’t necessarily the best thriller writer. Personally, or whatever, the characters are very obvious and technically the writing is very metallic, and in both areas there’s not much of a sense of mystery, you know. It’s all pretty apparent right away, whereas I think in a good thriller you have no idea, for sure, who’s conspiring with who, or even who’s a good person, you know. I don’t know. I probably won’t read any of his other books, at this point.

…. I mean, I guess if you’re going to have a one-dimensional Mr Bad type villain, it’s nice to have him be a man named Putin, and hilarious that this was written in the 80s, a decade before he came to power, when Vladimir was nobody, right.

But nothing /consciously/ hilarious, right. No, no, no, no you girls…. (Franz Ferdinand, lol, although I have No! memory left of how that song went, you know….).

…. Re: “maybe my doctor is better at politics than doctoring”

I don’t know if it’s realistic for Ramius to have had this thought, but obviously we’re supposed to take it at face value that it’s true, and I don’t think it is. For many years the doctors of East Germany were mostly ex-Nazis—the Nazis had loved the doctor class—but the commies couldn’t do anything about it because they needed doctors even though they naturally Hated! Nazis, right. It’s not like it is with lawyering: “All the old laws are over you’re fired.” A heart doctor in the modern world is a heart doctor, even if he’s a cold-blooded freak, you know.

Of course, doctors also left East Germany for better wages in the West, which is understandable and semi-good, you know. I mean, I guess somebody has to doctor every part of the world, but normatively speaking a healer should be paid well.

…. And just in general, I didn’t get Ramius’s character. The Soviets had a bogus system in many ways, but people universally are influenced by what they’re taught in youth, and when they break away, there tends to be some dramatic psychological story to that, and generally a sort of lingering influence. A Russian Soviet dissatisfied with the system isn’t just interchangeable with someone from New York, you know. To the extent that Ramius has a character, it seems like he’s been beamed from America into the heart of the Soviet Navy by the starship Enterprise, you know.

…. And I know it’s just bad fiction, but in a way it’s scary, because some of Clancy’s people probably think everyone who’s a dissent in any way, or even not a Republican or not a “Christian” or a “capitalist” to their satisfaction, (although: is capitalism still a thing for Republicans after DeSantis using government authority to harass cartoonists he doesn’t like?), is like, I don’t know, a Klingon infiltrator beamed into America by the starship Gook Power, right; and totally, totally alienated without any backstory, just instantly cleanly and totally separate from America or “the real America” or whatever and a dangerous enemy that would as soon steal nukes and give them to terrorists as publish cartoons mildly subversive of 1950s stereotypes, right. It’s…. Weird, the way people think sometimes.

…. I really do think that Ramius was always kinda a Little American inside in the story; he just knew that Pope John Paul II was the Real, Captain!—but I think if he had really been raised up in a militarist tyranny, he would have believed the system when he was young, and he would have converted to being a dissent when he ruined somebody’s life for the Party’s sake or beat somebody to a bloody pulp (figuratively or literally) for no reason, because it was “patriotic” or “socialist” or whatever, and then after that he would have recoiled in fear and disgust from what he had become, and secretly begun to loath the system for corrupting him until eventually he was willing to risk his life to defy it. But in American propaganda fiction it’s like, “Even as a young boy, when all the other little children were sacrificing sheep and goats to Zombie Lenin, I was reading books about Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, because, even at that early age, I just Knew, what Any Little American would have known…. Mel Gibson is a great actor!!!!” You know, it’s just— it’s just not. That’s the meanest thing you can say about anything, any story, and I’m saying that about this. This story never happened. “A story written in a book is as true as if it had really happened.” Given quality control, Ernest, yes. It doesn’t have to be like “The Old Man And The Sea” and famous and shit, but then it can’t just be like, Little America (cf Little Englander) electioneering, either. In a world of infinite possibilities…. Some things, are bullshit.

…. The whole military angle makes it kinda weird, too. “I want freedom! Freedom to be an artist! Freedom to be who Eye want to be! Freedom to wear blue jeans and read censored literature and listen to sexy music! Guys: let’s join the US Navy! We won’t be “collectivist” like baseball and basketball players, we’ll be Individualists, individualists in the true, follow-orders-or-go-to-military-prison, tradition!”

A lot of East-to-West dissident stories probably make sense, but this one does not; it really doesn’t.

…. Even the advantages the West had over the Soviets are twisted by the bogus nature of the writing, you know.

—You said you hate communism because it’s antagonistic to faith. Yet even people of faith sometimes have doubt, sometimes even in formally religious environments. In your case, everyone was telling you that you were wrong, and that God didn’t exist. Did you ever doubt?
—No! As soon as I saw the Mona Lisa; I—knew! I—knew!
—The…. Mona Lisa?
—Yeah, one of those damn paintings. The pompous ones, you know. The ones everyone tells you are good.
—Riiight, even in atheist dictatorships…. You found an art book or something?
—I snuck out of Soviet Union and visited Italy. It was the first great adventure of my life.
—Riiight; Very Plausible; okay….

…. But I can’t help but get the feel that if you tried to explore these inconsistencies with a Clancy Bot, it would be like:

—Hey listen. My father (grandfather/buddy from work’s relative/whatever) Fought Hitler! In Battle! He was a good man. Men are good men—WHEN, they’re good men!
—What am I supposed to do with this information.
—Stand down. Surrender. Obey.
—And be an individual! Golly!
—Be an individual in your obedience to the True Faith.
—Who wouldn’t want that?
—Heretics, they’re called, son.

…. It is kinda like being an “un-person”, hating things. You’re an American man! You’re an un-Soviet un-woman! You negate, children; you negate!…. I am me, and everything else is part of the vast universal not-me energy in the heart of Hitler, you know.

…. But hopefully I’ll get used to it (even though this will be the only one by this author for me, it is 600+ pages), and even enjoy it, despite it being not the “genuine literature” (brag-y stuff) that he contrasts with bad-bad propaganda, you know. God knows we don’t have any propaganda in Republican Party America—just truth and guts and freedom! Although we do like to watch wrastlin’ on Saturday night; Jesus knows that’s better than any heady-yet-not-genuine-literature agitprop! 🤪

…. Shit, it is kinda funny though. ‘No hazing at Vilnius Academy’. (Good training, ethnic slur, no harassment, ‘terrorism’.) It’s like this Russian guy is the Sunday Best of America instead of the real thing. In the Marines, God knows, or even the Navy, they probably would call you a Polack or whatever you were, or whatever the term is for ‘black’, right; and training, like poetry, is for sissies—the real training is when they haze you, God knows they would; they’d haze you for being a college student, join the Army or the Marines or even the Navy…. Kiss your ass goodbye.

…. Wow, courtesy of boring people: shop talk.

I’ll say one thing and hopefully I don’t have to bother too much more: it’s a terrible title. The ‘Red October’—ie 1917–was a good thing in Soviet mythology, therefore the title would work better as a Soviet agitprop piece than an American one. I mean, it’s like if Comrade Leningrad wrote a book about an American sub going over to the Russian side, and the sub is called the ‘Fourth of July’, so it’s called “The Hunt for the Fourth of July”. It sounds like a Simon & Garfunkel song though, not a “red” song. Tom’s just a terrible writer; he’s not good with people, or ideas, or…. Words. Sometimes classics disappoint. I can only imagine what future generations think of “Harry Potter”, buoyed up by the sales and the continued popularity and whatnot. “All he does is cut class…. And preside over a popularity club. What’s the point? Is this supposed to be adventure fiction, or sit-com-y?” And with this it’s like…. Well, if he wrote it at Clancy’s Pub when he was supposed to be cooking hamburgers, I guess that’s something. It’s a shop talk novel. It’s about being normal.

…. (maybe the end) Because the one thing about books that guys write is that, half the time, no matter how popular and basic and would-be-humble it is, there tends to be that burden of pseudo-intellectualism, you know. I guess it’s a burden for us, this way of being male we create for ourselves: you’ve got to shoot the shit with the other boys, and remind them that you know more than them. Remind the other boys, that they are NOT your friends! 😸 Or, you know, they’re your friends alright, but in an ambivalent way. If, when you crush them, they refuse to show vulnerability, they’re your friend, and when you have an emotional crisis…. You refuse to talk about it with them, anyway. 😸

…. Anyway, it’s a patriotic thriller. I’m not saying my life would be better if I were living in England or some other place, but I find it difficult not to make fun of patriotic music. It’s like…. (If all your friends decide you’re square, just start singing patriotic songs—remind people you’re an American! ~ Grand Old Flag, is it called?). I don’t know. It is what it is, I guess.

…. (song) If tomorrow all the things were gone, that I paid money for
I’d be so glad, poor white soldier man, I never liked capitalism
I was always afraid it’d make me soft and gay; I’m afraid to like my wife!…..
(chorus) But I like to pound her in the bed; I like to pound her hard
I cry out theorems of math, I do not understand
She cries out, America! America…. In, bed!….

I’ll try to stop now. 😹😗

…. I just feel like the book should be about a Marine who shot fifty people in battle. That’s what I feel like I’m dealing with, if only he would come at me straight. I guess I just don’t ‘get’ conservatives—we don’t like technocrats who are out of touch; we like tough men, you know. If only people talked like Tom Clancy! —Have you read Tom Clancy? —I played the video game.

…. (Marines of different races are playing cards) Man, those technocrats are out of touch. It’s the Air Force! I’m telling you, man—those people think they’re better than we are!
—I couldn’t agree more.
(Tom Clancy) Hey—pipe down!

…. That being said, I believe in capitalism, but conservatives I think in general do not; they believe in man-ism, you know. A man loves his race—tribesmen and children and lays—and his military and possibly the government if it doesn’t try to take away Being a Man from him; a man stigmatizes the poor as useless but also the rich as foreign and feminine; (Breaking Bad guy) And he does it because he’s a man ~ a man has many faces, different shades of pale, but in general contradictions need not be contended with, only the enemies of out-of-touch military technocrats.

…. One time my dad pointed to his chest and said, If EYE have 90% of the market, EYE control the market! ~On the one hand, the logic is broken, you know. (mafia stance) You gonna buy that potato, lady? That’s a quality Idaho potato you got in your hand!!! ~ And also, it’s counterfactual in that my father never has serviced 90% of, any, market.

Incidentally a man-ism believer need not be a soldier, although he can be, obviously, although it works the other way, too, some ex-soldiers do okay, but many are man-ism people and some end up homeless and so on, not just because of war trauma and general citizen neglect, but also because many guys leave the military without many useful skills, which is probably not a big military-technocrat-disaster-scenario-workshop-topic, you know, at least not according to the grunts who report feeling like disposable garbage, right…. But a man-ism person can also be a guy who doesn’t know how to soldier or fight, but is impressed with the fact that he’s bigger and taller than his girlfriend, the way a monkey is bigger and heavier than a rabbit, probably, right.

But it’s all for capitalism. Free choice, dammit! That’s right, nothing to see here: men at work, that’s all! 😸

…. And I mean, I don’t see myself as an atavist (past-worshipper), but in the past in most countries warriors were often like samurai or something, rather than machine-like HK-47 characters (an assassin droid from Star Wars).

Pleased: Good, master. I enjoy hurting those too squishy to be as callous as I am, ah…. Except for you, master.

…. One has to smile when the person who gropes for characterization or any sort of moral content like a blind man in the dark, and who does not desire compassion, informs you that the God of Obedience is on his side in the Great Struggle Against Collectivism, you know.

Can you imagine the government or whoever saying, People in the USSR have no rights. They don’t need to have the people bludgeoning them bludgeoned to death in the name of peace; they need a civil rights struggle! After all, MLK was an American!

No, you can’t imagine the government /actually/ liking MLK. (Buddy Holly) ‘Cause that’ll be the day-aye-aye, that I die!….

And anyway, the result of the economic/spy bludgeoning way is that in Russia itself it was very temporary, really. The people didn’t take it for themselves, so they couldn’t hold it; they couldn’t psychically grasp it. Many people either saw it as something that had been taken from them, or else saw the whole thing as a general-pessimism explicable defeat, so they were ready to see old wolves come back in new clothing. “Oh good,” said the spook. “There’s someone else left to bludgeon; good, good. HK-47 will be pleased. And I know we can trust that male machine!” 😸 And of course, once the Ukraine war starts, you have to send the guns to Kyiv, but the existence of that war implies that guns and bludgeoning didn’t really plant “capitalism and freedom” very firmly, if at all, really.

…. War/Battle: The Great Patriotic Struggle Against Collectivism
Commanders/Armies: (blah blah blah)
Result: Major Strategic Military Victory for international forces of decentralization, peace, NATO, etc….

…. But he is somewhat better at writing Americans than somewhat implausible foreigners, you know: I mean, he doesn’t like foreigners, so they’re like un-American Americans or something; it’s a little weird. And of course, it’s fun-with-stilted-Dick-and-John, you know…. I guess the end of the Cold War was a sort of negative victory, you know; Lord knows the USSR was a little weird and the Cold War was a little not okay, right…. Though of course the classic Clancy fan doesn’t want the end of the Cold War to be this inspiring victory for Life, you know; even Star Trek can be very life-denying; there just can’t be a girl who’s important or worthy of respect, and this is obviously the same sort of thing, you know. Though at times, the Americans chatting like a computer network crunching numbers can be a sort of stilted-Dick-and-John fun, almost enough to make you believe in the Star Trek sort of story…. But, as I’ve probably implied, sometimes the classics are for chumps.

…. It’s middle amusing; its main flaw is a confusion of genres. If it’s going to be a mass market paperback that the pharmacy carries, a book for every grunt and wanna-be grunt, it should be about some sailor on a submarine or some other sort of Navy ship, you know—because if being at sea on a warship miles away from any woman, doing secret loose-lips-sink-ships stuff, if THAT isn’t masculine enough…. I mean, I guess you have to personally talk to the President to be a real man? And if it’s trying to be literary and “good”—Oh, sir, I have many many MANY Bach CDs, and this isn’t the best one, even; I’m happy to sacrifice it for the American Cause—then they should try dropping the technobabble and writing real characters, unless they don’t want to write a novel at all but some sort of speculative military science book, in which case they should drop the pretense of dialogue and write that, right…. You know, it just doesn’t add up to what a sailor would really be like, whether common or elite; it just gets by by muddling through and confusing genres.

…. You know, I realize that Clancy-like books are common, I guess, so in one sense it’s its own genre and not a confusion of genres, but I wonder. In some Third World countries written literature has only just begun in recent decades, for the longest time it was just stories about kings and gods told orally, you know. In America/the West we think of ourselves as having more because we’ve had a mass literature for 200 years give or take a few decades, and aristocratic books for several thousand, not, nothing until the beginning of the post-colonial period or something, right. But I wonder. It seems to me like there is still a lot of shame about being the ordinary man, even without all the rest of it; stories about the military for us are about the military technobabble and those few who understood it, for most people, at least, the story of the ordinary real man, even, isn’t something that’s dawned for him, yet. Is it just too low and common, or about too brutal and ordinary a life? Only kings and gods, right? I don’t know. Maybe we’ll look back and say that in the 20th/21st century, they had only just begun, and that existent forms left a lot to be desired, you know.

…. Or maybe popular male culture is just inherently hierarchical and elitist; the ordinary real man dreams that he is the god-king, and has no desire to know what his own life is like….

…. Which isn’t to say that any sort of writing, any genre, is necessarily realistic, really; it’s just that that in and of itself is not an attraction, I think. “Wow! Nothing like that’s ever happened to me! How cool!” And if you can separate out “realism” from being true-to-life, the lack of the latter is indeed a flaw. People often think that lots of technobabble is the same as dealing out some truth, you know, but…. I dunno! 🥸

…. It is true that the cop/soldier type isn’t always that get-on-the-news-for-being awful type, and that there are problems with the system Does explain Some personal faults, you know; it’s just that I don’t think that Tom is a good example of the ‘good sailor’ or whatever. There’s so much plot, but it doesn’t require much of anybody as a person. The brief “filler” about family and football, almost requires more, sometimes; perhaps, sometimes, it certainly does, you know. But I don’t see it all getting tied in together like a really good storyteller would do. The gun’s above the fireplace in Act One just because he has a realism-speculation that somebody hunts deer, you know. (Stupid custom, really, since the deer aren’t out to hurt anybody, you know, and it’s hardly a fair fight, or a necessary one. But—okay okay—I’ll stop.)

…. (woman’s voice) (irritated) He just writes so, ugly!

(Homer) (laughs) Don’t talk ugly, my friend—it’s boring! It makes it harder to keep the women down!

(woman) (makes irritated sound)

…. Just lots of strange, complicated hierarchies, men and women, different nationalities, (even allies), even ~ surface ships and submarines; and it’s always like, you’ve got everything, but you trip one thing, you’re dead, basically.

Just very strange thought processes. It’s strange that they would put this out there, look at me, if I’m not normal, nobody can! Normal! Normal! go…. Crazy, I mean, normal!….

Because even better than the fighting, is the suspicion. It’s like they train them to be suspicious. You can’t fight well unless you’re a little off most of the time!

…. I mean, wow, I’m trying not to belabor this: but being in the military must be boring as Fuck, you know….

…. Anyway, because this is so boring let me cut away and say this: Americans love to talk about military people in semi-sacred terms, but I think if we really felt that way about them we would ~ pay them more, you know. But really if you looked at it, most of the money in most instances goes to the equipment, because it’s a machine, not a church. Even in WWI there probably weren’t really That many war-poets, and that’s certainly not what the system sweats about, you know. I don’t know. I don’t think we really try to develop them that much. We just tell them that people aren’t allowed to disagree with them, which is the sort of skill set/attitude that we generally do Not pay them that well for. And basically, at the end of the day, it’s a borrowed power they have at best, because it’s not the people you can’t disagree with, it’s the machine. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re nowhere near the sort of energy as a society or as a planet where we can just not have a military—but I don’t see why we have to get so dewy-eyed about the machine, you know. Do machines get dewy-eyed over us? Do aircraft techs wax rhapsodic about the American corn field, or slap businessmen on the back for paying the taxes of 100 normal people, paying for, you know…. Machines, basically. (shrugs)

…. And don’t forget: ALL lives matter; FUCK Joe Biden!! ~ And it’s like, Oh Jesus; he’s not being ironic is he; help me Jesus—it’s too funny…. Can’t breathe, can’t breathe with the laffs, mommy; too many laffs…. 😹

…. It makes me laff how it’s kinda anti-socialist realism, you know. Anything to be different from socialist realism, except, I don’t know, just, being the man of flesh, right. ~ Don’t feel/guts of steel/being in the (service) is real….

I mean, when you basically call Mr Psychiatrist MD a weak-willed little girl or whatever he implied; it’s like, oh my god…. 😸…. Earth to Real-man Agitprop central, come in Real-man agitprop central…. 😹

…. The thing is, just like romance is an adventure, the hero’s home and marriage Do count for something, you know, and it’s kinda a slight to have a book, and a long book, and a book without any shooting or violence or ‘rush’ even, just daddy dicking around in the office with the other daddies counting subs and practicing his excellent skills of a computer (vaguely described, so you don’t actually have to know anything to follow it), and his home and marriage count for literally zero, counting against Day #8,122 of the Cold War, Washington Post story Page 3B, move on, nothing to see here; I mean…. It’s a slight. It really is.

…. It’s kinda funny how all this CIA spy crap is like tyranny-lite, you know. (Mad-Men-ad actor) (holding it up) Tyranny lite: it’ll keep you away from the hard stuff….

…. There’s just no character work at all. I mean, ensemble casts can be great—I love “Gossip Girl”—but it’s so exaggerated, it’s like a parody; there are like 4,000 characters, like a novel that thinks it’s an encyclopedia, so there Are no characters, just names—names heaped on names—I mean, there’s like, This is so fun; there are so many characters; it’s about a little world, a community, and then there’s—
—(quietly, resentfully) It’s not “Gossip Girl”.

…. I know I’m repeating myself, but I think it’s weird how in a “capitalist economy” military jobs are filled, it seems, based on stoking up pride—bragging rights—rather than finding a good fit for your skill sets and ambitions. I guess that’s why we don’t pay them well—we figure they’re not in it for dollars. And of course, he’s like the self-sacrificing mother, albeit one who hates the other mothers more than would be usual for a woman…. I wonder why people assume that not liking girls is a necessary part of having—or ‘defending’, if not exactly practicing—the money system….

…. And I know that the 80s were a different times, geopolitically, but there’s probably a reason why our counter-insurgency wars with a poorly-paid army haven’t gone all that well. Encourage pride and coarseness, pay people to be, I don’t know, the unlettered grunts, and treat them that way, and figure you can make up for it with high-tech bombs and expensive computers…. You’re just not going to have the human skills to get people to choose not to bomb you on and off for forever, until eventually they win, you know.

…. So there was a little shooting, but it was kinda like ~ Dallek In Danger/Doctor in Danger—you know, like: maybe not “exterminate!” but, something equally subtle: something about plot points in a novel without characterization…. Most “good soldiers” are alike. Generally speaking, there only appear to be two of them, you know.

…. Hopefully I’ll be out of the woods soon; this book would have been twice as good if it had been half as long—there’s not a lot of emotion or character, or even plot; maybe half of it is plot, but the other half is semi-sci-fi, just learning how to emote like the car mechanic that tempts people to write off all car mechanics, if they can—‘that car mechanic’, you know—although not all car mechanics are like that, you know. And I would like to learn about practical stuff, even technical and mechanical stuff, it’s just that…. I mean, this isn’t going to make you like car mechanics, (maybe it’ll make you hate their enemies the…. the Other car mechanics!), that’s more like “A Man Called Ove”, you know—and what a crusty old motorhead Ove is, though I assume he survives, and want him to, you know. Not like that, Ove; you don’t die like that…. And on the other side, semi-sci-fi posturing doesn’t bring you closer to actually being the classic mechanically able male, you know: it just brings you closer to trying to slice and dice away the gratitude if you succeed, and double the trouble if you don’t know as much as your sister or your nephew, you know.

So. There’s that. 😸

…. So, hopefully we’re wrapping things up here, except for the reprise of “On The Town” (1949)—a VERY Tom Clancy kind of movie, you know 😹—it is possible that Tom Clancy will survive, and be one of those poorer-written classics, like the Count of Monte Christo guy, or the mom who bore the weird kid with the lightning-shaped tattoo, who can be distressingly normal, right…. I mean, Clancy wasn’t a blockbuster-maker, IMO, but he is in CVS pharmacies, you know…. And, you know, Dickens isn’t really that “good” of a literature, although he’s middling, and fashionable, and I like him better than Clancy’s Cold War Burger joint, you know…. (“I like the ‘Red October’. But it needs more garlic. Will you tell the chef that for me?” Lol….)

But he certainly doesn’t write characters well. Each character is a vague national stereotype, or perhaps a gender stereotype…. And I mean, how could the submarine captain guy have gotten a Perfect Record for being loyal, for being the Patriot of the Month for 100 times in a row or whatever, if he NEVER believed? How do you NEVER believe what people tell you? How exactly did he pull off the whole Epic Duplicity thing? People in this book are always either piddling over screwdrivers, or maybe pontificating about…. What? Nationality? Politics? What do they pontificate about anyway, except the need for pontification itself….

I mean, I live in America and I know that the American system has its smiling face, you know, its merits—but what does an intelligent person who lives somewhere else, or who is struck with some unhappy itineration of the American story, who reads this, think of those of us who dare to be a little optimistic about our lives and the system’s ability to respond to growth, of various kinds, you know…. I mean, they must think we’re deep into our third cup of Kool-Aid, you know.

…. —Gee wilickers, Ivan, didn’t you know that Everything In America Is Swell? (TM) (fifties ad smile).

And isn’t that exactly what creates dissidents, you know. Before the 60s people were very naive and trusting, and then one day they learned about the Native Americans and they lost their fucking minds. They had no program to process problems, because they’d been told, and accepted, that America was like a pop song, only more rational and masculine, right…. They didn’t have the tools to process anything else, so they just broke down, so to speak. Had to start from scratch. And it’s very tyrannical, but also very naive, to assume that you can just flick your wrists and order people back to ‘gee wilickers’. It’s not even how people react in Navy, you know. Sailors swear and curse and grumble and gamble and plan for the day when it’ll be over, you know. Having them flock around Ivan and do an unpaid commercial…. I mean, it is unfortunate that ads are almost the only places where people promote cheery-faced solutions to problems, but be that as it may, people do NOT say, you know, “Gee wilickers, Ivan, do you wanna watch Leave It To Beaver with Bosun Jimbob and me?” You know, it’s like…. Why do you have to lie? Is your argument, you know, not good? What’s going on here….

…. And I mean, I think that “The Hobbit” is probably a pretty good novel, and maybe even “The Lord of the Rings”, and a lot of other decent boy books are also narrated from the top of Mount Olympus, but as for “Red October”—such a bad title for a rah-rah America book, you know—I really don’t think I’ve ever seen a poorer use made of the third person omniscient narrator, you know….

(shrugs) But I never have to go back to Clancy’s Cold War Tap & Burger, you know—and going there that one time, well, that was something I hadn’t done before.
  goosecap | Jul 21, 2023 |
  gutierrezmonge | Oct 10, 2022 |
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For Ralph Chatham,
a sub driver who spoke the truth,
and for all the men who wear dolphins
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Captain First Rank Marko Ramius of the Soviet Navy was dressed for the Arctic conditions normal to the Northern Fleet submarine base at Polyarnyy.
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ISBN 0792187156 is the movie; not the book.
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The Soviets' new ballistic-missile submarine is attempting to defect to the United States, but the Soviet Atlantic fleet has been ordered to find and destroy her at all costs. Can Red October reach the U.S. safely?

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