Posted tagged ‘alfred hitchcock’

New Tom Clancy Thriller Draws On All Forces

April 9, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised recently to hear that Tom Clancy is finally publishing another book after seven years of silence from his camp. Although he claims that he has never actually seen a classified government document, he will gain much help and insider info from his co-writer, US Navy veteran Grant Blackwood, who had previously spent time on a guided missile frigate.

With as much publicity as he garners, coupled with the controversial military topics he picks, it’s hard to ignore Clancy. Reading through a few interviews, I was very interested to note who he nominates as his influences, as well as how some of his most famous readers have reacted to his work.

Clancy deeply admires the works of a number of British writers and lists Frederick Forsyth and Alfred Hitchcock at the top of the ranks. In an interview, he firmly stated, “Were I to pick a single decisive influence, it would be Freddy Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal,” going on to say that it is probably the best thriller ever written and that it has redefined the genre. From Hitchcock, he learnt how to create the characters that legions of faithful readers have come to love and cheer on.

Speaking of faithful readers, it amused me to no end to find this quote by the Former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who mentioned, “A lot of what I know about warfare I learnt from reading Tom [Clancy].” Even Ronald Reagan is a fan as documented by his wife, Nancy Reagan: “Ronnie especially enjoys history, biography and the novels of […] Tom Clancy.” But not everyone is  a fan. In an interview, another previous US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice showed her disapproval of Clancy’s work and fictitious US military warfare by saying, “No-one [but Clancy] could have imagined [terrorists] taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon … [or] into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile…”

Love him or hate him, there’s always much to be said about Tom Clancy. Know of any more famous readers? Have your say on his infloox page!

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Crichton’s “Pirate Latitudes” set sights on silverscreen

December 1, 2009

Some time after Michael Crichton passed away from cancer late last year at 66 years, he left behind an unfinished manuscript that was discovered amongst his files by an assistant. Just when the literary world thought they’d seen the last of Crichton, readers are now thrilled to land their hands on a brand new novel by him. An additional author was hired to complete the work, and it has recently been published as “Pirate Latitudes”.

Perhaps even more interesting for mainstream audiences is that Steven Spielberg is now on board to create a film based on the story. According to Spielberg, “Michael and I have had almost two decades of solid collaborations. Whenever I made a film from a Michael Crichton book or screenplay, I knew I was in good hands. Michael felt the same, and we like to think he still does.”

It is not hard to imagine the tremendous influence that Crichton has had on people during his lifetime, but what of his own influences? A dig through the archives reveals that a lot of his favourite literary works are rooted in the classics, and of course a healthy dose of science fiction. He long admired authors like Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle for their writing styles and techniques, often citing them at the top of his list of favourites. Alfred Hitchcock was also often favoured by him – no surprise since Crichton’s work has consistently displayed a strong cinematic quality.

While Crichton was an English Literature student at Harvard, he did not fare very well. So much so, that one day he tried an experiment. He submitted an essay written by none other than the renowned George Orwell. The professor returned the paper with a paltry B-minus – one step up from Crichton’s C average. Following this incident, Crichton mused, “I thought, if George Orwell only deserves a B-minus, this was vastly too difficult a field for me. I aspired to be Orwell, and he was just scraping by at Harvard.”

Are you a fan of Michael Crichton’s work? How has he influenced you or your writing?