RIP - Clive Cussler

I loved the Dirk Pitt novels when I was a teenager.

Clive Cussler, Bestselling Author And Adventurer, Dead At 88

Is it odd I've never heard of him or his books?

Course I didn't learn about Brian Jacques until a couple years ago either and he's good.

I loved his books, but man, were his plots pretty far out there.

If you're an old person like me, then you might remember the 80s movie Raise the Titanic. It was based on Clussler's same-name book.

I used to read his Dirk Pitt books when I was much younger. He's basically a James Bond-like character who works for a fictional government organization, the National Underwater and Marine Agency, who goes around killing the baddies and getting the girl.

Last year I decided to start at the beginning of the series and barely finished the first book. Let's just say that it didn't age very well.

In Night Probe! Pitt meets an elderly Bond in a wheelchair being taken care of by MoneyPenny.

I stopped reading his books in the early 90s, but he did have a gift for imagining wreaks and made marine exploration seem like incredible fun. I do recommend The Sea Hunters which is his nonfiction book about actually finding wreaks. It includes the finding of the Hunley (first sub to sink a ship).

RIP. His books are best enjoyed in abridged audiobook form. The abridgements get rid of some of the tedious parts and pick up the pace of the plot. He is also sold his name to be branded on a bunch of series that basically just use his name to sell, like the Oregon Files books that are decent, or Isaac Bell 1900s detective books that are decent too. They are all adventure novels, but different settings than his NUMA / Pitt books.

Isn't Night Probe! the one that ends with

Spoiler:

the President announcing that Canada and the United States would fuse together to become the United States of Canada?

I really liked his books as a boy: Cyclops, Treasure, Dragon and all that. Undemanding page turners. Pitt was a Mary Sue, yes, but they were great yarns. I read a lot of books like that when I was younger - my dad had the full set of Alastair MacLean and Desmond Bagley, and I saw them as part of that tradition of Boys' Own Adventure books.

trichy wrote:

Isn't Night Probe! the one that ends with

Spoiler:

the President announcing that Canada and the United States would fuse together to become the United States of Canada?

Yup. Although that had happened years ago due to the treaty Pitt found
(I had to look it up.)
I have paperbacks of the books up through Treasure, which I have in hardback. That was the last book of his I bought and I remember being so frustrated when Pitt met Cussler once again.
The books really are bad, but I enjoyed them so much in my teens. I don’t think I’ll reread them (or if I do, I’ll get really cranky with them), but I’m not willing to get rid of my copies.

And if you ever enjoyed his stuff, Sea Hunters is really worth a read!

I’ve only heard a few of his books on audiotape when I was a child, and it was clear to me even then that the protagonist was a blatant idealized, fantasy version of the author. That usually annoys me greatly, and it did at the time, but I think once the number of outlandish scenarios reaches a certain point, you just accept it and it even becomes somewhat humorous and endearing.

Sad news though honestly I thought he had passed a long time ago. Like a lot of you guys I loved the books as a teen/young Army guy but I seem to remember a lot of problematic content. I can only imagine how Sahara reads now that I’m more aware of white savior/dark of Africa tropes.

I listen to a bunch of writer podcasts and one recent episode talked about the death of adventure stories since few people can seem to crack a way to make them “woke” enough for modern readers. (Keep in mind that readers tend to be more discriminating than the average gamer when it comes to that).

I shelved so many of his books as a library page in the late 90s.