Clancy chapter on retaking hijacked airliner


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marshall3
August 18, 2005, 11:30 AM
You might enjoy this chapter excerpt from Rainbow Six, but it is really unrealistic.

http://www.mouseguns.com/clancy.htm

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WayneConrad
August 18, 2005, 01:08 PM
I used to enjoy Clancy, but not so much lately. Either I've changed, or he's changed, or both. In his latest... The Teeth of the Tiger, I think... he has a policeman murder a suspect and his boss pats him on the back for it. The rest of the book continues along those lines, with government operating outside of the law.

It turned my stomach.

I ought to go back and reread Rainbow Six to answer the question of whether it's me who changed or Mr. Clancy. I remember enjoying it, and especially the character of Mr. Clark.

JohnBT
August 18, 2005, 01:12 PM
"it is really unrealistic"

Why? It's perfectly good fiction. And anyway, they are the best at what they do...that's the point of the book.

John

Jeff White
August 18, 2005, 02:00 PM
Moving to General Gun Discussions........Jeff

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 02:01 PM
he has a policeman murder a suspect and his boss pats him on the back for it. The rest of the book continues along those lines, with government operating outside of the law.

If memory serves, it was an FBI agent who had discovered the body of a raped/murdered little girl, and whose killer was in the next room. The agent knocked over a table to get the guy to jump and, when the murderer stood with the bloody knife in his hand, the agent shot him. Honestly, I couldn't get too upset over that scene. If you liked the character of Clark, I don't understand why you would be as he did much "worse" (torturing someone via a decompression chamber).

I'm not sure if Clancy has changed, or if he's just allowing someone else to ghostwrite his work these days. It might be he's running out of ideas. Teeth of the Tiger was a good diversion while driving but I couldn't get through the book except via audio tape.

WayneConrad
August 18, 2005, 02:33 PM
If you liked the character of Clark, I don't understand why you would be as he did much "worse" (torturing someone via a decompression chamber).
I had forgotten that scene. Yeah, I'm probably the one that changed, because I think I'd react differently to that scene now than I did when I first read it.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 02:54 PM
Clancy's a victim of his own success. The scope he's needed to take on in order to try and outdo previous books really became a problem for him between Debt Of Honor and Executive Orders.

WARNING: spoilers for Debt Of Honor, Executive Orders, and Rainbow Six may be contained in the below.

By the end of Debt, he had to write in an incredibly forced plot in order to cram Jack into the oval office, because there wasn't anywhere else for Jack to go beyond where he was. EO was, at best, meandering, because (IMHO) Clancy was sort of at loose ends for what to do that he could reasonably make Jack central to fixing. By Rainbow Six, the focus had shifted completely away from Ryan, but the plot was ludicrous. I mean, I'm as anti-environmentalist as anyone, and moreso than most, but come on. A bunch of environmentalists hatch a plot to kill everyone on the planet?!? That's out of bounds for "realistic" fiction; it's crossing into SF, comic book, or, at best, James Bond movie. But where did Clancy have to go after he nuked the Superbowl and had the entire US economic structure collapse? What could he have done to outdo himself?

I admit, however, that I haven't read Red Rabbit, The Bear and the Dragon, or Teeth Of the Tiger, so it's possible he's brought it back around since R6 (which did spawn some great video games, so I can't knock it too much ;) ). But, as far as I'm concerned, he peaked with Clear and Present Danger. Part of that, of course, is it's the last one which you could pretend to believe actually happened. Sum Of All Fears is a good book, but you obviously can't convince yourself it happened - I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if the Vikings made the Superbowl.

dasmi
August 18, 2005, 02:55 PM
My favorites are Red Storm Rising and The Hunt For Red October. Nothing a good naval warfare book.

Zundfolge
August 18, 2005, 02:56 PM
Great thing about that scene is that its the opening scene in the book ... real good start to a fun read (no, not realistic, but so what ... its mind candy, not a textbook...its no less realistic then Unintended Concequences and that was a fun read as well).


Rainbow Six is one of my favorite "mind candy" reads ... if nothing else because of how it skewers the environmental movement and shows them for the rabid anti-human communists they really are ... plus I love how it ends :evil:

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 02:59 PM
I mean, I'm as anti-environmentalist as anyone, and moreso than most, but come on. A bunch of environmentalists hatch a plot to kill everyone on the planet?!? That's out of bounds for "realistic" fiction; it's crossing into SF, comic book, or, at best, James Bond movie.

Well, it's not that outlandish. There are groups calling for the extinction of humanity through complete birth control, calling for a return to "Gaia" by the elimination of technology, etc. There are billionaires who have the "social concsience" and resources to fund research, and an airborne and weaponized Ebola would be a devastating item. Granted, all those things coming together would be too unlikely to have much of a chance in the real world. But in a novel, it's not so out of touch with reality as a Bond movie. Science fiction, sure. But science fiction is defined as fiction based on foreseeable science. This certainly wasn't science fantasy.

dasmi
August 18, 2005, 03:00 PM
http://www.vhemt.org/

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 03:14 PM
Well, it's not that outlandish. There are groups calling for the extinction of humanity through complete birth control, calling for a return to "Gaia" by the elimination of technology, etc. There are billionaires who have the "social concsience" and resources to fund research, and an airborne and weaponized Ebola would be a devastating item. Granted, all those things coming together would be too unlikely to have much of a chance in the real world. But in a novel, it's not so out of touch with reality as a Bond movie. Science fiction, sure. But science fiction is defined as fiction based on foreseeable science. This certainly wasn't science fantasy.
Fair enough - in my opinion, the plot for the book is well outside the bounds of believability. Not because of bad science, but because I have a difficult time accepting that characters so completely out of touch with reality can simultaneously be grounded enough to put together an effective plot, while simultaneously being insane enough to go through with it. But that's just a matter of opinion and personal taste.

Even aside from that, though, if I grant that it's legitimate science fiction, it's still a downturn for Clancy. Not because I've got anything against SF. I read SF and fantasy almost exclusively, and will gladly engage in lively debate as to why Donaldson's Gap series is legitimate literature on par with Melville, or Weber's Harrington is just as quality as Forester's Hornblower. But Clancy isn't an SF writer, he's a realistic fiction writer. It's what I expect from him, it's what I like about many of his books, and it's what he's good at.

R6 dropped the ball on that count. I simply couldn't buy into it actually happening, because my suspension of disbelief is more limited in his genre than it is in SF. Or at least, it's different. As an SF author whose identity I forget once commented: "readers will accept the impossible, but not the improbable."

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 03:16 PM
http://www.vhemt.org/
Well, that's...interesting, certainly. And a group I was unaware of.

However, there's a really significant difference between advocating people voluntarily not reproducing and actively trying to kill everyone.

The former is a bit strange, but not irrational. The latter is psychopathic, for lack of a stronger word. And it's psychopathic to a degree which I have never encountered, either in the news or in history. I won't say it doesn't exist, but even if it does, it's so far outside my personal experience that I can't suspend disbelief enough to accept it.

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 03:20 PM
Not because of bad science, but because I have a difficult time accepting that characters so completely out of touch with reality can simultaneously be grounded enough to put together an effective plot, while simultaneously being insane enough to go through with it.

That's because you see them as insane. They aren't, at least not in the functional sense. They are highly dedicated to their objective and willing to go to any end to achieve it. In all honesty, if you start from the basic principle that man is a virus on this earth and is killing the planet, then their decision and actions take on a very high degree of rationality.

I would also submit that Clancy's work, at least the technothrillers, constitute science fiction in the true sense of the word. Hunt for Red October and the Cardinal in the Kremlin depict technology that was considered feasible at the time and the action derived in large part from the effects (or potential effects) of said technology on social structures and how people dealt with those effects.

Zundfolge
August 18, 2005, 03:25 PM
... I have a difficult time accepting that characters so completely out of touch with reality can simultaneously be grounded enough to put together an effective plot, while simultaneously being insane enough to go through with it.
Ask your average German Jew in 1938 if he believes such a plot is possible ... oh wait ... you can't ... they're dead.

(apologies for the Godwin)

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 03:27 PM
However, there's a really significant difference between advocating people voluntarily not reproducing and actively trying to kill everyone.

Sure. But contrary to your position, the former are actually the irrational ones. They waste energy and time better spent in solving the problems by advocating a solution that is impossible. The latter have seen the same problem and taken a proactive solution.

In your eyes, it's a high degree of psychopathic behavior. In reality, it's no different in concept than the ethnic cleansing so prevalent in the 20th Century. The scale is different, but only because the "group" (those who don't think as they do) is different. If Hitler had developed a virus that only killed Semites, or the Japanese had developed a "whites only" version of the plague, do you think it would have been deployed? I don't doubt for a moment that it would have.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 03:36 PM
That's because you see them as insane. They aren't, at least not in the functional sense. They are highly dedicated to their objective and willing to go to any end to achieve it. In all honesty, if you start from the basic principle that man is a virus on this earth and is killing the planet, then their decision and actions take on a very high degree of rationality.
Point taken. I'm willing to accept that, in fact, this could happen. I still don't buy into it in the context of the book. This may be a flaw on my part, but the activity, motivation, and mental state of the group are so far outside of personal experience that I simply can't take them seriously. At the very least, I find reading about them completely uninteresting, because I have no understanding of how they think, so I simply can't treat them as living characters. To me, they're just caricatures. The terrorists in SoAF, and the Japanese in DoH, I understood. Disagreed with, but I understood. The lunatics in R6 weren't even human, to me.

I would also submit that Clancy's work, at least the technothrillers, constitute science fiction in the true sense of the word. Hunt for Red October and the Cardinal in the Kremlin depict technology that was considered feasible at the time and the action derived in large part from the effects (or potential effects) of said technology on social structures and how people dealt with those effects.
In the strictest sense of the term, you're right. In the more ambiguous sense of the term, as it relates to categorization of fiction, I think it's fairly clear that Clancy was bending every effort towards writing modern fiction that was completely believable.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 03:48 PM
Ask your average German Jew in 1938 if he believes such a plot is possible ... oh wait ... you can't ... they're dead.
A couple of responses: first, there's a difference between genocide directed at a specific group of people and genocide of everyone. The former, unfortunately, has plenty of historical precedent. The latter does not.

Second, bear in mind that, prior to 9/11, had someone written a book that depended on a couple dozen terrorists taking over four airplanes, simultaneously, using nothing but box cutters, then successfully driving them into both WTC towers, then the Pentagon, I would have scoffed. The acts of 9/11 were possible, but would not have seemed reasonable until they actually happened. By the same token, I'm going to scoff at any book predicated upon Elvis still being alive, our faking the moon landing, or that the CIA was behind 9/11. All these things are possible, but unreasonable.

Third, and most importantly, I'm willing to accept everyone's arguments here that the plot was reasonable, it could happen, these people really exist, there really is a billionaire willing and able to fund such a thing, whatever. It's not going to change the fact that I didn't like it, and that, in the context it was presented, I found it absurd. I even re-read the book a year or so ago to see if my opinion had changed in light of 9/11, and it hadn't.

I'm willing to grant that I, as a reader, am deficient in this regard, and that I shouldn't find it absurd. But I do.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 03:58 PM
Sure. But contrary to your position, the former are actually the irrational ones.
Only for a system of rationality which holds the planet and every species on it as independently and inherently more valuable than the totality of human life.

This does not meet the common standard for rationality. Which does not, of course, invalidate the logic of it, or mean that no one subscribes to it. It does mean that it's too far outside the behavior of any people I have ever encountered or learned of that it is impossible for me to accept in the context provided.

The scale is different, but only because the "group" (those who don't think as they do) is different.
A difference in degree so vast as to be a difference in kind.

If Hitler had developed a virus that only killed Semites, or the Japanese had developed a "whites only" version of the plague, do you think it would have been deployed? I don't doubt for a moment that it would have.
Of course it would have been. There is historical precedent within my knowledge of individuals and groups making every possible effort to wipe out specific subsets of mankind. There is no such precedent for trying to wipe out everyone. This is why I can accept the former as a believable plot device, and not the latter.

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 04:08 PM
The reason you can accept one and not the other is based on your own preconceived idea of what is appropriate or not, just like your own notion of rationality. We all do the same thing. But that does not mean that someone is insane (i.e. believing in something contrary to all existing evidence and without any factual support).

You've accepted that the Japanese would have wiped out all whites if possible and necessary for their dreams of conquest, correct? They believed that all non-Japanese were inferior to them. If they had an opportunity to wipe out all such inferior competition, do you think they would have taken it? Their actions towards said "inferiors" indicates the answer is yes.

Would this be evil? Absolutely. Insane? No. Irrational? Only to the inferiors. If you see your destiny as ruling the world and the "scum" won't let you, then might not you pursue the goal of eliminating the scum and replacing them with your own docile subclasses?

There is historical precedent within my knowledge of individuals and groups making every possible effort to wipe out specific subsets of mankind. There is no such precedent for trying to wipe out everyone.

It wasn't everyone. It was everyone who disagreed with them, or for whom they had no use. (They specifically mentioned insuring allowing non-cult members with valuable skills would survive. The most assuredly insane part of the plan was the expectation that these survivors would come to understand the necessity of the act.) That brings it back within historical precedent. History is replete with examples of exterminating entire cultures who stood in the way of conquest. And said extermination often took the form of killing anyone and everything.

Waitone
August 18, 2005, 04:13 PM
Clancey does a service in reminding us dangerous people exist. They are well-educated, some are wealthy, and they twist lots of power knobs and push levers. We here on the THR would think of people who want to exterminate most if not all of the human population as sick at a minimum. The real world has people just like that walking around loose. Front men for some of the more radical enviro groups state on the record that they think the optimal number of humans on the earth is 300 million. They loath the human race and consider it to be of greater danger than the virus or germ. I might quibble with Clancey's set up but I have no doubt of the existence of the people he describes.

Google up "wildlands project" or "deep ecology" and enjoy.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 04:37 PM
But that does not mean that someone is insane (i.e. believing in something contrary to all existing evidence and without any factual support).
I am using the term "insane" in a far less restrictive sense, meaning "significantly outside the bounds of normal thought." Which, of course, raises the question of defining "normal," but since we're talking in the context of whether a modern American (myself) accepts the activity presented in a work of fiction, I think it's safe to use the definition of "normal" as being "within two standard deviations of the population's mean belief system." Similarly, I consider Hirohito, Hitler, and Stalin to have been insane.

This definition of insane is certain dependent on point of view, of course. Perhaps another term would be more appropriate. None comes immediately to mind, but I'll be happy to use one if one is presented.

In any event:

Again, I will freely admit that the deficiency is mine rather than Clancy's. I am willing to concede that these people exist, and that we live under the threat of being wiped out by a sane and rational billionaire bent on killing two or three people for every dollar he's worth. Personally, I suspect Rupert Murdoch.

buzz_knox
August 18, 2005, 04:39 PM
Personally, I suspect Rupert Murdoch.

I think Ted Turner is a more likely culprit. However, if we are talking conversion of people into Borg drones, Bill Gates would be the first suspect.

Waitone
August 18, 2005, 04:41 PM
Ted Turner was who I had in mind when I made my comments.

bogie
August 18, 2005, 04:45 PM
Regarding a post further up...

"Anti-environmentalist as anyone"

Hi there. I'm pro-environmentalist. The environment is a good thing. What I don't like are the whack jobs who seem to think that the life of a research mouse is worth more than a building full of human researchers. Those guys scare me.

There's a big difference betweeen "environmentalists" and the whack jobs who are hiding behind that term.

Guys, let's lose the binary thought patterns - it just plays into their hands. Now, if you _confuse_ 'em, you have a chance of persuading them. Oleg's web site is a perfect example.

Waitone
August 18, 2005, 04:50 PM
Hi there. I'm pro-environmentalist. The environment is a good thing. What I don't like are the whack jobs who seem to think that the life of a research mouse is worth more than a building full of human researchers. Those guys scare me.Then play the language game and refuse to call yourself and environmentalist. Call yourself what you are. . . a conservationist. That way you can define yourself any way you choose. For now you have to explain why you are not one of "those people."

Zundfolge
August 18, 2005, 05:04 PM
A couple of responses: first, there's a difference between genocide directed at a specific group of people and genocide of everyone. The former, unfortunately, has plenty of historical precedent. The latter does not.

I think you missed my point (which to be fair wasn't all that well articulated).

You basically said that you didn't buy the idea that people who where crazy enough to want to kill of all of humanity would be able to hold it together long enough to actually formulate a plan and see that plan through ... I simply pointed out a group of equally crazy folk from the real world (who's plan was just slightly less broad then the envrios in R6) who kept it together quite well long enough to plan and execute their plan ... the fact that they failed is immaterial (since the BGs in R6 failed as well).



But seriously, its just a fantasy novel ... you should just enjoy it for what it is :p

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 05:08 PM
Hi there. I'm pro-environmentalist. The environment is a good thing. What I don't like are the whack jobs who seem to think that the life of a research mouse is worth more than a building full of human researchers. Those guys scare me.

There's a big difference betweeen "environmentalists" and the whack jobs who are hiding behind that term.
This is akin to arguing that liberals are for liberty. True in a narrow sense, but not representative of common usage. Insofar as I prefer clean water to dirty and breathable air to un-, I am also an environmentalist. As, I imagine, is almost everyone. I doubt, even on the right-wing bastion of THR, you'll find many people who are in favor of indiscriminate pollution, unchecked dumping in landfills, or discaring toxic waste in the Mississippi River.

The term environmentalist, fairly or not, has been co-opted by a specific ideology which is just as politically concerned as it is environmentally, if not moreso. It is specifically characterized by dubious science, dodgy thermodynamics, and "proposals" which are, without exception, extraordinarily expensive.

My coworker who complains if you are carrying a styrofoam cup, but drives an SUV to work, is an "environmentalist." The people who make sure I drive on 10% ethanol - despite the fact that my car's mileage is more than 10% lower on reformulated gas - are "envrionmentalists." In general, anyone who is more focused on what you should be sacrificing in the name of the environment than on what they're doing is an "environmentalist."

Myself, I set the AC a couple degrees higher than I'd really like, turn off everything I can when I leave the apartment, drive a car that gets 38 mpg, and recycle as feasible. I'm not an environmentalist.

Control Group
August 18, 2005, 05:13 PM
I think you missed my point (which to be fair wasn't all that well articulated).

You basically said that you didn't buy the idea that people who where crazy enough to want to kill of all of humanity would be able to hold it together long enough to actually formulate a plan and see that plan through ... I simply pointed out a group of equally crazy folk from the real world (who's plan was just slightly less broad then the envrios in R6) who kept it together quite well long enough to plan and execute their plan ... the fact that they failed is immaterial (since the BGs in R6 failed as well).
Fair enough. I had, in fact, missed your point. Upon rereading, it's not that you were unclear, it's that I'm at work and my reading comprehension is clearly suffering. ;)

In any event, your point - now that I understand it - is well taken.

Gordon Fink
August 18, 2005, 06:30 PM
Call yourself what you are a conservationist.

Good point. I like trees and clean water but also believe wise development is both desirable and natural. Im a conservationist.

Another fascinating Round Table discussion.

~G. Fink

Flyboy
August 18, 2005, 11:14 PM
http://www.vhemt.org/

I heartily endorse this product and/or service.

Further, I'd like to nominate several thousand members.

Rob1035
August 18, 2005, 11:29 PM
Clancy was basically the first author I read for real when I was young, finished his collection (what it was by 2000) in high school and enjoyed them. In the last year, I have bought basically his entire collection and re-read them all. As a polisci student I understand (and appreciate) his books much much more now. I will definitely agree that his writing has gone downhill as of late, ToTT was bleh at best.

His 'good' novels, CotK, PG, CaPD, etc (any more letters ;) ) are still and will always be wonderful novels. The plot intricacies are engrossing as anything else i've ever read.


On a side note, I recently rented the dvd of Sum of All Fears, the commentary with Clancy and the director is great, everyone should check it out.

CAS700850
August 19, 2005, 08:18 AM
I enjoyed early Clancy much more than late Clancy. My first was Clear and Present Danger. I then went back and started the series from the beginning. My favorites are still Clear and Present Danger and (unmentioned so far) Without Remorse.

As to the believability fo the stories, I like to use the phrase a professor once told me in undergrad. "Suspension of Disbelief", whereby you intentionally ignore that which would otherwise be unbelievable, in order to enjoy the story.

MarkDido
August 19, 2005, 08:29 AM
My favorites are Red Storm Rising and The Hunt For Red October. Nothing a good naval warfare book.

I agree. Clancy's early techo-thrillers were fast paced, had short chapters and kept you on the edge of your seat. The Cardinal of the Kremlin bored me to tears.

I wonder why no one has done a movie of Red Storm Rising?

Wasn't one of Clancy's books that was made into a movie "changed" from Middle Eastern terrorists to White Supremists?

garyk/nm
August 19, 2005, 08:52 AM
Tom Clancy is the pinnacle of chairborne Ranger-ism. In his early books he actually put some real effort into research (Red Storm is mind boggling). Lately it seems that he is just trying to crank them out to keep the paychecks coming. Note how often the phrase "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" crops up in more recent writings.
The killer for me was Teeth of the Tiger. Ryan Jr is hanging with the big dogs and being taken seriously by the likes of the FBI Director. Just where has a 20-something college student BEEN, and what is the THAT which he has DONE?

A little more research and a little less armchair commando, if you please, Mr. Clancy.

obiwan1
August 19, 2005, 01:44 PM
While I liked "Rainbow Six", I liked the first book about Clark. The one in which he takes out a drug dealer and meets Sandy. I forget the name of the book, but I liked it.

Secondly - In Rainbow Six Chavez was carrying a Beretta .45. Did the Cougar .45 exist when that book was written? I don't think so. Also "low velocity" ammo? In a .45! There isn't much hi vel ammo for a .45. :scrutiny:

buzz_knox
August 19, 2005, 01:48 PM
The book you are referring to is "Without Remorse." It's one of my favorite books as well.

The Cougar existed at the time, but it's not what Clancy was thinking of. He's a big Beretta fan, and in Sum of All Fears, has Clark carrying a Beretta 10mm. At the time, the 10mm was the in thing and Clancy figured Beretta would make one. As .45 became prevalent again, Clancy just took a Beretta .45 as a given, even if he hadn't heard of the Cougar.

Stauffenberg
August 24, 2005, 12:02 AM
I liked Red Storm Rising and Sum of All Fears. Being a young'un and not entirely understanding the delicacies of our relationship with the Soviets when I read them, I had to have my dad fill in some details ("Why not just nuke 'em?" "Goddammit, son..."), but over all, me likey.

Bear and The Dragon... hmm. I found him stretching heavily to make the war happen, and the end tied up waaaay too neatly. Part of the fun of Red Storm Rising was that the West took some big hits in the process. But in Siberia, the US might has well have waved a magic wand, it went so smooth.

Rob1035
August 24, 2005, 11:04 AM
Wasn't one of Clancy's books that was made into a movie "changed" from Middle Eastern terrorists to White Supremists?

Yup, that was Sum of All Fears.

Jmurman
August 24, 2005, 11:39 AM
I also enjoy Clancey's books. However, Rainbow Six left me asking a question "What would be the ramifications IF someone did manager to loose a virus with the destructive power of that?"

I do think that there are fringe elements that would welcome the massive reduction of any population.

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