h2. Rough Young Men with a Deep Maritime Education
How can we describe the work of Clive Cussler? Cussler set out to enter the adventure novel genre with something just the smallest bit diferent from the inherited models (i.e., James Bond), so that he could make his mark without departing from the meaty demographics. His solution: instead of a spy, or a soldier, or a treasure-hunter (though, in point of fact, Cussler makes constant use of all three cliche modes, and many others), he settled on “underwater science,” and hypothesized a NASA like “National Underwater and Marine Agency” which also just happened to have its own defense and intelligence budgets. It’s sort of a cross between “SeaQuest,” “McGyver,” and “Relic Hunter.”
His work is derivative, silly, often blatantly ridiculous, inconsistent, and altogether mockable. But it takes its own ridiculosity to special heights; it is not merely the gadget and procedure-laden patriotic spew of a Tom Clancy, but something far more grandiose, ambitious, and, in a perverse sense, admirable.
The Cusslertron, when it’s up and running, will give more concrete details about the interesting patterns followed by all Cussler novels. In the meantime, by way of a brief sketch, we can say that there are several elements generally employed in the production of a Cussler novel:
* The stage is set by some sort of historical disaster, battle, or other action, often involving a person arbitrarily named Leigh Hunt. This historical occurrence will almost always become not merely the focus of some later action, but a strategic factor. (For example, using an atomic bomb salvaged from a third raid on WWII Japan to create a devastating earthquake to destroy a Japanese industrial firm attempting to conquer America (or at least the West Coast) by means of nuclear “bomb cars.”) * There is usually some kind of political (early and mid-Cussler) or ecological and political (late Cussler) plot-disaster-thingy which is * Engineered by *
An international crime family and/or ** A foreign quasi-nationalist industrial group or groups seeking to divide the united states into three or more different countries. * And which is only noticed by the good folks at NUMA, and which is only brought to the attention of the US Government and the United Nations by confirmed batchelor Admiral Sandecker. * The heroes (originally Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino, now soon to be mostly Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala), one tall and characteristically American, one short and somehow swarthy, preferably in a greasy way. The tall, primary hero is the clear alpha figure, and must necessarily have a fetish for collecting things. (Classic cars and vehicles, or dueling pistols) * There must be betwen one and three brash, headstrong women who of course fall in love with our primary figure and who are mostly forgotten by the next book.
h2. Other elements
h3. Massive homoeroticism
NUMA’s staff is mostly male and very, very close. There’s no gay sex explicitly mentioned, but it’s pretty well established implicitly. No one can hold down a woman, you find lots of proclaimed emotional commitments between the men of NUMA, etc. {Specific examples to follow} We dont’ believe this to be intentional, and have no idea or opinion on how it reflects on Mr. Cussler’s own sexuality.
On a related note, the introduction of Pitt’s unforeshadowed twin children, Dirk II and Summer II, offers us another interesting area of apparently unintended sexual tension: incestuous overtones. Ewww.
TODO: fill
h2. Questions
* Was Hiram Yeager a Navy SEAL?
h2. Quotes
* Blue Gold *
Pathologists sometimes cultivated a zany sense of humor to help maintain their sanity. * Austin’s appreciation of cool jazz came right after his love of beautiful women and fast boats. * I wish we were toting our guns. You never know when a wild tortilla will attak you. I once heard about someone being mauled by a burrito in Nogales. * Austin wondered at the banality of evil… * “The Swedes are attacking Mexican drug lords?” “I wish”
h2. Works
* The Dirk Pitt Canon * The Mediterranean Caper * Iceberg * Raise the Titanic! * Vixen 03 * Night Probe! * Pacific Vortex * Deep Six * Cyclops * Treasure * Dragon * [Sahara] * [Inca Gold] * Shock Wave * Flood Tide * Atlantis Found * Valhalla Rising * Trojan Odyssey
* Kurt Austin adventures (with Paul Kemprecos) *
Serpent * Blue Gold * Fire Ice * White Death
* Oregon Files Adventures (with Craig Dirgo) *
The Golden Buddha
* Nonfiction * The Sea Hunters * Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed ** The Sea Hunters II
h2. Links