In Memoriam: Tom Clancy

Techno-thriller author Tom Clancy (b.1947) died on October 1 at Johns Hopkins.  Clancy joined SFWA on the basis of his first novel, The Hunt for Red October, in 1984.  That book introduced the world to Clancy’s protagonist Jack Ryan, who would feature in some way in most of his novels.   The science fictional elements in The Hunt for Red October were downplayed in that book and were even less obvious in future novels as Clancy helped establish the techno-thriller genre.  In addition to the Jack Ryan novels, which included The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger, Clancy also created series which were written by other authors, including the Op-Center and Net Force novels.  Prior to publishing The Hunt for Red October, Clancy was an insurance salesman. After he became a popular author, he was rumored to have been briefed by military intelligence to ensure that he didn’t stumble on any confidential information that the military did not want revealed in his speculations.

In addition to his books, several of his Jack Ryan novels were turned into movies, with Ryan played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine.  He also founded Red Storm, a successful video game developer, which was eventually purchased by Ubisoft Entertainment.  His novels Red Storm Rising and The Hunt for Red October were turned into boardgames by TSR.  Clancy was named an honorary Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London