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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 02:46am
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do you ever feel for a second that the BIG CHIN HERO won't effortlessly win

or is it just a sequence of thrilling battleporn fantasies to justify your worldview and preferred violent solutions

i mean tbh in sum of all fears the american losses feed right into the need for more america strength



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:22am
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I do have to agree that the only time America does get fucked up is at the beginning when we get caught with our pants down. I remember that being the only real tension in the books and then there is a satisfied feeling of "America, fuck yeah" as we stomp ass, but to not recognize the ridiculousness of the plots and stories is pretty asinine.

I'm sorry my entertainment hurts your feelings Rest of the World. :(

Except for you Transylvania, you can go fuck yourself.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:42am
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Stark wrote:
do you ever feel for a second that the BIG CHIN HERO won't effortlessly win

or is it just a sequence of thrilling battleporn fantasies to justify your worldview and preferred violent solutions

i mean tbh in sum of all fears the american losses feed right into the need for more america strength

Yes. Debt of Honor ends with the capitol levelled and most of the government dead; Clear and Present danger ends with ultimate American failure.

Do the books play into American fantasies? Sure. But the idea there's no tension in them and it's purely wish-fulfillment is silly, at least up until Executive Orders. Even then I suspect people's views are coloured by the general rightward shift of US politics post-9/11.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:26am
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I don't think it took me to 21 to work out these books were horrid. Lets look at a list thing. Nope, even hilarious shit like Japanese nuke Washington was early 90s.

Like I said, everything post 1992 being even more comically terrible doesn't retroactively make his early stuff good. Its just as fair to say that most people are exposed only to the movies and thus formed their positive opinion post 9/11 or were the sort of people who thought Salvation War was good and thus would 10/10 anything with a reference to the navy in it. Honestly, I don't see anything incongruous in Clancy having outrageous American losses actually being a part of his doublethink America fuck yeah but ONLY THE RIGHT AMERICA thing. Are you aware of the amazing depths the brand has sunk to (I mean sure theyr'e recycled bad ideas but still).



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:51am
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I didn't mean that people take a positive view of him post 9/11 - I meant that people assume that because he's right wing his books must naturally contain a slew of ideas that have emerged post 9/11 like 'kill all Muslims to protect America'. I think his stuff (up to the Bear and the Dragon anyway, ie immediately pre-9/11) is a pretty fascinating insight into the mindset of the neocon movement prior to Bush's adventurism. In Executive Orders and the Bear and the Dragon Ryan is presented with the option of (justifiably) using nukes as retaliation for attacks on American soil and demurs in favour of specific action against the leaders of the nations in question - with the populace then thankful they were spared and wholeheartedly embracing democracy blah blah. I just find it hilarious that nerds go 'oh man it's all just effortless American milwank :smug:', and that's bullshit. The guy's perfectly prepared to write a novel in which it goes horribly wrong for America or the victory is totally hollow.

And his first four books were good - in part cause they were classical thrillers set in a Cold War context that didn't require Clancy to write his own increasingly bizarro and unsubtle political frameworks.



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I love the smell of September in the morning. Once we got off at Richmond, walked up to the 'G, and there was no game on. Not one footballer in sight. But that cut grass smell, spring rain...it smelt like victory.

Dynamic. When [Kuznetsov] decided he was going to make a difference, he did it...Like Ovechkin...then you find out - he's with Washington too? You're kidding.
- Ron Wilson

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:51am
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EDIT: Weird, double post.



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I love the smell of September in the morning. Once we got off at Richmond, walked up to the 'G, and there was no game on. Not one footballer in sight. But that cut grass smell, spring rain...it smelt like victory.

Dynamic. When [Kuznetsov] decided he was going to make a difference, he did it...Like Ovechkin...then you find out - he's with Washington too? You're kidding.
- Ron Wilson

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 07:09am
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thejester wrote:
And his first four books were good - in part cause they were classical thrillers set in a Cold War context that didn't require Clancy to write his own increasingly bizarro and unsubtle political frameworks.


His work is...not horrible when it's actually not about grand standoffs between superpowers or world-ending plots by environmentalists (those evil environmentalists!)

thejester wrote:
In Executive Orders and the Bear and the Dragon Ryan is presented with the option of (justifiably) using nukes as retaliation for attacks on American soil and demurs in favour of specific action against the leaders of the nations in question - with the populace then thankful they were spared and wholeheartedly embracing democracy blah blah. I just find it hilarious that nerds go 'oh man it's all just effortless American milwank :smug:', and that's bullshit. The guy's perfectly prepared to write a novel in which it goes horribly wrong for America or the victory is totally hollow.


You would note that this specific action against leaders of the nations in question always works. A ridiculously complex plan involving infiltrating attack helicopters into Japan and taking out 100% of all ballistic missiles with precise munitions launched from stealth bombers? No problem. Stealing a Russkie SSBN, pretending it blew up and hiding it in a US river? Done. When there's actual casualties during these contrived things, it's Russians taking them.

All enemy strengths are magicked away like that. Oh, the USSR has great spies...who can't figure out the US has a stolen SSBN. Despite its captain living it large in a huge house reporters know about :)

thejester wrote:
Yes. Debt of Honor ends with the capitol levelled and most of the government dead; Clear and Present danger ends with ultimate American failure.


Yeah, Debt Of Honor kills off the government...but it's not a problem because we learn that it actually made the government work better than ever before! :D



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

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MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 07:13am
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Huh... interesting thought... based on what you said there Jester. I wonder if Clancy's quality went down because he had to start inventing his own bad guys in a way. I mean, the Soviets wrote themselves, he just had to do some research, but the Chinese, Japanese, Cartels etc., he really had no idea how they would do things in a modern age and had to basically wing it.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 07:25am
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PeZook wrote:
Yeah, Debt Of Honor kills off the government...but it's not a problem because we learn that it actually made the government work better than ever before! :D

If you've never suspected that this might actually be true, we clearly aren't reading the same newspapers.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 08:27am
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PeZook wrote:
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PeZook... he did write them decades ago, two of them to be exact. But out of obscurity if Clancy is not the one to be pegged as writing the techothrillers that thrill, who is?


I can't come up with a decent technothriller author off the top of my head, sadly...sadly because it's one of those things I'd really like to irrationally love again :D


I enjoyed Arc Light by Eric L. Harry - that and another of his books were the last good technothrillers I read before I read some piece of trash about an F-15 pilot saving Israel or something and resolved to stop buying the genre.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 08:30am
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GuppyShark wrote:
I enjoyed Arc Light by Eric L. Harry - that and another of his books were the last good technothrillers I read before I read some piece of trash about an F-15 pilot saving Israel or something and resolved to stop buying the genre.


I think I read that one. It had terrorizers assembling a ballistic missile somewhere and firing chemical weapons at israel, right?



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 09:50am
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Pezook, just read Coontz. He is probably the best techno thriller with competent enemies there is. Heck, Intruders features one of the very few "villains" you actually sympathize with.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 11:37am
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Havok wrote:
Huh... interesting thought... based on what you said there Jester. I wonder if Clancy's quality went down because he had to start inventing his own bad guys in a way. I mean, the Soviets wrote themselves, he just had to do some research, but the Chinese, Japanese, Cartels etc., he really had no idea how they would do things in a modern age and had to basically wing it.

Havok, Clancy's USSR, Japan, USA and China are completely different from the same in reality. USA is probably the closest. The rest are fantasylands. He didn't do any research either (outside the killtech as war porn requires good knowledge of killing weapons), just made shit up.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 12:09pm
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Could we get a side by side comparison? Clancy Japan vs Real Japan for instance?



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 04:40pm
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I can think of one good thing to say about Tom Clancy. He's not Dale Brown.

I haven't read much of him, but from what I remember it seemed like some sailor must have beat him up once and stolen his prom date, because dude had a real hate-on for the Navy.

Thanas wrote:
Pezook, just read Coontz. He is probably the best techno thriller with competent enemies there is. Heck, Intruders features one of the very few "villains" you actually sympathize with.

Stephen Coonts I presume? I don't actually recall any real villians in The Intruders except I guess that pirate group Grafton and Flap blew up. Which felt tacked on to me.

The rest of the book was pretty cool though. Mainly because it was essentially a story about what it was like for Navy pilots on a peace time cruise, and dealing with the decision of whether to Stay Navy or get out in the post Vietnam era. So not really like a "technothriller" at all.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 04:42pm
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Stas Bush wrote:
Havok wrote:
Huh... interesting thought... based on what you said there Jester. I wonder if Clancy's quality went down because he had to start inventing his own bad guys in a way. I mean, the Soviets wrote themselves, he just had to do some research, but the Chinese, Japanese, Cartels etc., he really had no idea how they would do things in a modern age and had to basically wing it.

Havok, Clancy's USSR, Japan, USA and China are completely different from the same in reality. USA is probably the closest. The rest are fantasylands. He didn't do any research either (outside the killtech as war porn requires good knowledge of killing weapons), just made shit up.

Well maybe I should go back and read the early stuff again. Outside of Without Remorse, I don't think I have even touched one of his books in over a decade.

Here's the thing with me though, unless I am reading a history book or something that is proclaiming that it is factual and accurate, I just assume whatever it is is just made up fantasy land.
But for the most part I was talking about the tech and such, but I doubt he didn't do any research. (outside the killtech)



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 05:11pm
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Reading Britannica's general articles on a given nation isn't exactly research. Culture, language, manners aren't things which may be "researched" in the same fashion as guns and rockets (by number-crunching and reading Britannica) - they have to be either researched on-site or by contacting people who actually know the place at least second-hand and have been there a few times. Or at least a third-hand contact; a story from another storyteller. Once you collect their experiences, blend together every little bit of realistic detail that they might have told you, only then you're close to making a good story. The problem with RAR stories (they are indeed nothing but RARs, not "alternate history") is that they lack this severely.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 05:30pm
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The very basis of plot of the Hunt For The Red October is about Clancy's ignorance of the USSR. Ramius decides to steal the sub because his wife was killed by a drunk doctor, who can't be prosecuted because he's well-connected in the Party ; Problem is, an SSBN captain would also be a member of the Party and also well-connected by definition. But sure, it could, theoretically, happen that some Lithuanian guy might not enjoy support from the people who nevertheless supported him for promotion.

But then we learn he was able to hand-pick his officers to be dissidents. What the hell? He either has no clout, and thus the doctor who killed his wife is untouchable, or he has enough clout to wrestle with the Soviet navy's submarine arm and its institutional paranoia about political reliability in order to get a bunch of dissidents assigned to his SSBN, and thus would've been able to destroy that doctor. Though I suppose it could be chalked up to just ordinary poor writing, rather than particular ignorance about the soviet union...

That's ignoring the fact that there was only one GRU agent amongst the crew of a new and super-secret missile submarine :D



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 05:40pm
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And that is why I turn my brain off when reading any Clancy novel. :P



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 05:48pm
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Col. Crackpot wrote:
I read Flight Of The Old Dog and Silver Tower in the 8th grade (1989) and even then i picked up on the cheezy factor. Still read both books though, but in my defense i was 13 and they had lots of explosions.


I read most of them up to the oh, I think 2009 book or so just because I could pick them up for free at the local library and they were one of the few things I hadn't read when I was unemployed. Brown's problem (aside from his Air force/super secret and super advanced 'GO AMERICA' power rangers approach) is the constant baen-style 'datafiling' approach to writing (every new novel seems to have some Weber-style super duper uber widget or technology that goes all AMERICA FUCK YEAH and wins the day against the evil non-American enemy stereotype.) I suppose if you can turn off your brain and like 'cheezy factor' it can be good, but the series literally has no qualities other than that.

Clancy is bad, but unless you include his weird Net force or 'Op Centre' stuff he was only starting to move in the direction Dale Brown went long ago when he wrote Teeth of the Tiger (which was hilarious in and of itself. Super Secret AMERICAN assassin organization, totally legal.)

Another author in that vein I recall was Patrick Robinson who had the big 'Navy' Fetishism going on, especially with SEALS and Submarines as I recall. Navy Seals IIRC were always the gung ho FUCK YEAH American force who would go in and kick the evil non-American Empire's asses and get the job done while singing the STar Spangled Banner just because they were that hardcore and shit.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:01pm
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And that is why I turn my brain off when reading any Clancy novel. :P


Hell, I checked because I figured my memory would be faulty, and it turns out Ramius' wife was a niece of the COMMANDER OF THE SOVIET NORTHERN FLEET. The way the Soviet system worked, it was all about connections ; It's kind of like that in the west, too, but there's a major difference in that it was both widely accepted and common in the USSR to get promoted because you supported this or that man, and your status as a party member/non member, your political affiliation to certain politicians etc. were all very important. So, an admiral of the entire northern fleet would be able to pull a lot of strings, and Ramius himself would have more connections still.

Plus, think of the damn circumstances: an incompetent doctor treating families of SSBN sailors would be making enemies in mid to high positions left and right. Even a Politburo member would've been unable to protect him for long. The guy would either get "demoted upwards" into a position where he'd be unable to do anything wrong again, or fall along with his father.

Ramius being frustrated with such bullshit isn't out of the question, actually, but his portrayal as a helpless man abused by the Soviet system is absurdly unlike anything which could possibly happen in the USSR - especially since a non-Russian deemed politically reliable to command a new experimental SSBN (And hand-pick his officers, too!) would be...well, either extremely competent or VERY well connected indeed.

It just shows how Clancy kind of fills in the blanks with American practices, where commanders have nearly all the say in how they run their boats, rather than figuring out the way it's actually done in the USSR. While simultaneously criticizing the rigidness of communism :D



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.


Last edited by PeZook on 2012-10-18 06:04pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:04pm
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I'd say that the main problem with Clancy is that his stuff should probably be viewed and read as some sort of pulpy alt-history type stuff.. sort of the same way you'd view a Clive Cussler novel - but it really isn't viewed that way, and that can be... disturbing. I'd actually say Dale Brown fits into that same category too. If oyu don't take it seriously, don't expect much and like the 'cheezy' factor it can be okay. Not unlike David Weber's fiction really.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:08pm
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PeZook wrote:
The very basis of plot of the Hunt For The Red October is about Clancy's ignorance of the USSR. Ramius decides to steal the sub because his wife was killed by a drunk doctor, who can't be prosecuted because he's well-connected in the Party ; Problem is, an SSBN captain would also be a member of the Party and also well-connected by definition. But sure, it could, theoretically, happen that some Lithuanian guy might not enjoy support from the people who nevertheless supported him for promotion.

But then we learn he was able to hand-pick his officers to be dissidents. What the hell? He either has no clout, and thus the doctor who killed his wife is untouchable, or he has enough clout to wrestle with the Soviet navy's submarine arm and its institutional paranoia about political reliability in order to get a bunch of dissidents assigned to his SSBN, and thus would've been able to destroy that doctor. Though I suppose it could be chalked up to just ordinary poor writing, rather than particular ignorance about the soviet union...

That's ignoring the fact that there was only one GRU agent amongst the crew of a new and super-secret missile submarine :D


IIRC the drunk doctor was the son of a Central Commitee member. It's not that Ramius had no clout, just not enough to clobber the doctor. Also, the doctor screwed up and let Ramius' wife get infected, but what probably ultimately killed her was the antibiotics they used to treat her were useless ("Probably just distilled water" I think was the term). He doesn't have the clout to make the doctor pay, he can't make the whole pharmaceutical industry pay, so he makes the State pay instead.



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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:18pm
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Eternal_Freedom wrote:
IIRC the drunk doctor was the son of a Central Commitee member. It's not that Ramius had no clout, just not enough to clobber the doctor. Also, the doctor screwed up and let Ramius' wife get infected, but what probably ultimately killed her was the antibiotics they used to treat her were useless ("Probably just distilled water" I think was the term). He doesn't have the clout to make the doctor pay, he can't make the whole pharmaceutical industry pay, so he makes the State pay instead.


Son of a politburo member, actually, and I pointed out she was the niece of one of the top military men in the country (commander of the northern fleet).

I seriously doubt she'd be treated with "just distilled water", incidentally, based on her connections and marriage to an extremely trusted member of a prestigious military service arm. The military got all the best in the USSR, and if it was stolen due to corruption, it were the high officers who did the stealing :D



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryanverse PostPosted: 2012-10-18 06:32pm
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Sith Marauder
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Location: Bound in a nutshell
All true (probably, I have no in depth knowledge of the real world USSR), I was merely pointing out that Ramius' motivation was slightly more complex than being pissed at a doctor he can't stomp on. The book takes pains to point out Marko's deep uncertainties about the USSR, right back to his father and old Sasha. Methinks his wife dying at the hands of an incompetent doctor that couldn't be punished was simply the last straw.

At any rate, the intrigues of the politburo and their offspring are fairly secondary to the main plot of "defecting submarine that Jack Ryan must help because he's (coincidentally) the only one in the right place."



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

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