Sunday, November 16, 2014

Titles Done Be Importante

With all due respect to Tom Clancy and all that he accomplished, I can't help but feel underwhelmed by the titles he chose for his last novels, and the title of the new one, continued by another author, which you can now pre-order and use as a doorstop when you're done because the goddamn thing is almost 700 pages, is have to wonder who came up with it.

What happened to the poetry and the thematic elements of his old titles? THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and THE CARDINAL OF THE KREMLIN, and even pithy titles like WITHOUT REMORSE and the never-equaled RED STORM RISING that were intriguing and eye-catching, have been replaced with LOCKED ON and DEAD OR ALIVE and THREAT VECTOR that leave you thinking,
WTF does that mean???

None of those titles inspire any interest. They frankly sound like they were selected by monkeys taking a break from writing Shakespeare. They are titles that would fit an Executioner novel, and, frankly, be more of a fit there, albeit just as bad. There's no Clancy magic in them.

Maybe it doesn't matter anymore because Clancy is dead, apparently assassinated by Obama's Secret Police because he knew too much (I read that on the Internet!), and the publisher knows Clancy's name will sell more copies than the title will. The downside is they just slap a few apparently unrelated words on the cover and head off to the pub.

The newest is the worst. FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. What they did here, you see, was take four words out of the middle of a sentence. The manuscript sat without a title for months and then the editor read a line that said, "Ryan and his team planned to hit the enemy with full force and effect, from which none would escape." The editor spit out his coffee, not even realizing the line made no sense....would the enemy not escape or would Ryan and his team not escape or would both the enemy and Ryan's team be killed? Who cares! He shouted, "That's it! My degree from American University has paid for itself again!" and had the cover made up.

Big 5 publishing at it's finest, folks.

I hope the content between the covers is better. Of course, it's written by Mark Greaney, and he can't be any worse than Clancy was. But at almost 700 pages....I have my doubts. I'll read every word, though.


  1. Yeah, I'd almost guarantee they decided to go with a generic "thriller" title (I mean seriously, most thrillers have pretty generic titles) because they KNOW all people will see is TOM CLANCY and buy it. For better or worse, that's the power of a blockbuster author's branding.

  2. They could have come up with a "thriller" title that wasn't so generic. It's not hard. Clancy's titles always came out of the stories and I'm sure, with a little effort, they could have found something.