Book of the Month Club: Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: The War Within

June 22, 2009
Hi, Jeff. I just got a copy of your book, and I've got some bad news for you...

Hi, Jeff. I just got a copy of your book, and I've got some bad news for you...

Tom Clancy’s latest book is headed for the airport book racks everywhere. Another intriguing tale of cloak-and-dagger intrigue set against the backdrop of current events, Clancy again teams up with long-time co-writer Jeff Rovin for this intense tale of espionage, suspense and breathtaking intrigue. As a bonus, fan favorite Jack Ryan plays a major role.

Jeff Rovin, known for movie novelizations of such cinema classics as Mortal Kombat, Cliffhanger and April Fool’s Day, has recently severed ties with the monolithic Clancy Industries novel mill, in an effort to finally have his name appear on the front cover of a book he actually authored.

We have been privileged enough to secure an early manuscript with some markup from the man himself, Tom Clancy. Let’s take a peek:

   Jack gazed at the monitors intently. He and his trusted friend, Matt Stoll, were in the depths of the NORAD/SATCOM subbasement. He spoke quietly to Matt Stoll, the computer genius.
   “Pull me up a list of time-sensitive events from the NSA’s log.” He spoke quietly, adding no more details than necessary. Matt was a computer genius, and he often knew exactly what Jack was looking for before Ryan even knew it himself.
   Matt’s fingers minced danced across the keyboard. Acronym after acronym STFU, WTF, OMGWTFBBQ flashed across the screen. Jack stared intently at the monitor, seeking to make sense of this random pattern.
   “Stop there,” Jack shouted quietly. “Scroll back a bit.”
   They both saw it at once, a profile shot of goatse Roll Fizzlebeef.
   “Where do I know him from?” Jack asked to no one in particular quietly.
   Then it came on to him. 1982. The White House lawn. Fizzlebeef had been protesting President Carter’s oil policies. Just before White House security had covered the lawn, Jack had shut him up with a stern look and an ether-soaked rag.
   “Fizzlebeef!” he spat quietly. “A complete degenerate. His anti-American activities run the gamut, from hiring non-union autoworkers to laughing at David Letterman’s inappropriate jokes.”
   Stoll spoke to Ryan. “It seems he is looking to collaborate with the French Muslim contingent. There’s info here on flights, sightseeing tours, rabble-rousing speeches and a purchase of a English-to-French-to-Scribbly dictionary at the Leeds Airport Barnes & Noble.”
   “The French?” Ryan snorted wide rails of coke derisively. “Those beret-wearing cupcakes couldn’t terrorize their way out of a wet public transportation system.”
   Stoll laughed quietly. He asked intently, “Why would an American want to harm our country?”
   Sometimes Stoll’s naivete was too much, computer genius or no. Ryan spoke slowly, using small words quietly,”People in this country are privileged. Sometimes too much. They like the idea of their freedom, but don’t want the responsibility that comes with it. Warrantless wiretaps, TSA strip searches, your Social Security Number on everything. These are a small price to pay for the rights we have remaining enjoy.”
   “We’ll get him. Fizzlebeef and his whole cadre. We always do. The enemy almost always makes the mistake of underestimating our intelligence slightly more than we underestimate theirs.”
   Another terrorist plot? Ryan instinctively thought of his mistress wife, a molecular biologist at Stanford. He thought back to when they first met, as idealistic college students. He remembered her brain being just as enticing as her stunning head technique good looks. They would often stay up late into the night, going ass-to-ass head-to-head on political issues.
   He sighed quietly and intently…
(I’ve seen enough. Not enough acronyms. No product placement. Not nearly enough jingoism. And I don’t know what you think you’re going to sneak by me with these various sick interjections. Come see me immediately. — TC)
(Fuck you, you lazy hack! Come find me! — JR)
(Fuck me? Fuck me??!! I run this goddam country you fuckin commie, fuck you! — TC
P.S. Please come see me. I’ll need you to turn in your security badge, IBM Selectric and miniature American flag. Thank you. — TC)

Well… That ended awkwardly. Godspeed, Jeff. I hope there are many mediocre blockbusters in your future. Tom, I’m sure there are any number of lousy, unpublished who would kill foreigners for a position in your novel mills.


For more well-written hatin’ on popular authors see this site: The Thriller in a Manila…


  1. First. Bitchin! When does the AV meeting start?

    • Over at the Onion around whenever o’clock, if I’m not mistaken.

      I’ll be over with a real comment shortly.


  2. p.s. I think Clancy’s edits sucked the tension out.

    • If there’s one thing Clancy does well, it’s suck. Tension, at subtle, nuanced writing, wearing a hat…

      Thanks for breaking the tension/ice, Ram. Great to see you.

  3. Marvelous. Although it evokes painful memories…

    Tom Clancy edited a poem of mine about an innocent whippoorwill in a boggy swamp. He rewrote it and turned my whippoorwill into a northern paleoconservative that went on a killing spree. Okay, it was better for the rewrite, but still, he didn’t have to punch me in the face and call me a hack.

    • Clancy, to this day, remains all about the facepunching.

      He loses so many ghost writers that way. Including the Ghost Recon ghostwriter, whom they searched all over for, but never recovered.

  4. I’ve never read a Tom Clancy novel. But I love reading the manuscript edits.

    • Probably the best way to do it. You get to how his mind works (presumably quietly and intensely).

      Thanks for stopping by, CC.

    • My mind works quietly and intensely.

      I have worked very hard at forcing my mind to be openminded, loud, and flighty.

      I think it’s working.

  5. I thought once you joined the TC publishing mill the only way out was death.

    • Jeff? Jeff??? JEFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!

      Nice to see you again, RR. Thanks for the info, which I will pass along to Rovin’s estate.

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