Posts Tagged ‘Sparta’

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Exclusive Clive Cussler Interview!

October 6, 2010
Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

Clive Fucking Cussler and his fucking watch

[To be fair, he’s no more or less talented than any other author who has passed the threshold of “writing” and headed for the greener pastures of “manufacturing.” However, he does have a certain look about him and won’t stop showing of that damn watch. Originally published July 21, 2009.]

The following contains transcribed excerpts from a Q&A session during Clive and Dirk Cussler’s promotional tour for their new book, Sparta. Following a publicist-approved interview (read it here), in which Clive discussed, among other things, his new watch, his product placement of said watch into his novels, his product placement of himself into said novels, a little more about the watch and various other watery items.

The Cusslers then threw caution to the wind and began fielding questions from their gathered fans. All audio and video of this event has been seized by their intrepid publicist, leaving only this record of how everything went more than a tad Pete Tong (ask Nobbly).

Publicist Merle Aaronsen (MA): Alright, folks! Now, we’ve got a real treat for you! Clive and his son, Dirk have agreed to a short Q&A session. Just raise your hand if you’ve got a question. Just like back in school.
[some appreciative laughter, mostly from Dirk, whose laugh can be charitably described as an ‘insane giggling.’]
MA: Yes?
Thomas: Hi, Thomas XXXXXX here. Big fan. I’ve read most of your latest novels. I just had a question: are you planning a followup to The Deep?
Clive Cussler (CC): [brief silence, clears throat]Ah. I think you may be confusing my work with Peter Benchley’s. Or vice versa.
A wonderful man, Peter. A wonderful, humorous man… with, uh, a rather unhealthy collection of pornography. Not that I’m judging. He was a witty and thoughtful guest during many weekend getaways, paid for by our mutual publisher.
MA: Thanks. Always a pleasure.
CC: Witty, delightful and hopelessly addicted to painkillers. When he was down we used to cheer him up by playfully referring to him as “Admiral Painless” or “Bluebeard the Rapist.” [laughs]
We prefer to remember his playful qualities and mastery of the sea. Not the other, troubling aspects like the stalking charges brought against him by Jacqueline Bisset. Many of us in his inner circle would never have seen this side of him, if he hadn’t invited us to his London mansion and shown us his so-called “Bisset Shrine.” I still get chills. And a bit of a woody. [laughs] She was quite the looker!
Anyhow, The Deep is by fucking Peter Benchley. Next question?

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Not Clive Cussler (note lack of prominently displayed watch)

Alice: Hi, I’m Alice. I had a question regarding your co-author, and son, Dirk. He seems to be coming—
Dirk Cussler (DC): [giggles for a few seconds]
Alice: —into his own. Will he be writing a few novels of his own or branching out to another area of fiction?
DC: I’d like to handle this, Dad. While I have seen much improvement over the years, we, at this point, do not consider it wise to split up the franchise any more than it already is. The kind people at all of the bookstores have informed us that there is simply not enough shelf room for all of novels as it is. In fact, they have seen sales slip because of… what’s this here?
[inaudible discussion, voices of CC and MA occasionally surface, but nothing of use]
DC: … cannibalization. Sounds terrible! Maybe we should make smaller books! [giggles]
CC: He’s right. And well-trained. While we do have many ideas and watches to push, the novel mill suffers from its best friend and unfortunate bottleneck, the bookstore. Trying to find space to plunk another story in between Clancy, Patterson and Nora Roberts is like trying to pitch a tent in an outhouse. Some seamen vernacular there.

Donald: Hi, Donald here, retired Navy. I noticed that early on in Sparta you referred to the frigate displacing nearly 6,500 tons of water, which would be true if it was fully loaded. But nowhere leading up to this statement do you give any indication that it would be.
CC: Well, it very well could have been. Perhaps they had loaded at the last dock—
Donald: No. No. In fact it says here, “…the frigate, running light after offloading the last of the rescued crew, displaced 6,500 tons of water, like so much air out of a balloon…”
CC: [silence] It… it may have been a Class B, which are known to displace—
Donald: Two sentences later it says it’s a Class C lightweight frigate—
MA: I don’t think this line of questioning is going to help sell, I mean aid in enjoyment—
Donald: I mean, not to nitpick, but you severely overstate the amount of torque allowed by that motor type and I think you may have forgotten to carry a 1 or something when figuring the fuel efficiency—
CC: I don’t think this is going anywhere. We have a staff of fact-checkers to verify this stuff, do we not, Merle?
MA: Absolutely. They—
CC: And I will not be questioned as to the veracity of these claims! These are books written for enjoyment, and while I appreciate you bringing this to my attention—
DC: Dad, remember what doctor said about the stress—
CC: You’ll shut the hell up, Dirk. I splash your name on the book and what? You can’t even check these things out? They have to show up in public?
DC: But I can’t understand the fact-checkers. Merle outsourced that job. Venkater…man…swo… Have you talked to them? It’s like nothing gets through, no matter how loud or slow I talk—
Donald: I’d also like to point out that the Mary Celeste’s name is misspelled no fewer than 8 times between chapters 16-20. Sometimes as Marty, McLeste, Virgin Mary Celestine, Mary C. Less—
MA: This has been a problem, but I can assure—
CC: You can’t assure shit! You get a handle on this or I am out of here. The Silver Phantom is parked right outside, and I can drive it myself, believe it or not—
DC: It needs fixing. The door handle fell off when the chauffeur didn’t open my door. I had to get it myself because he was angry that I had been kicking his seat—
CC: Will you please refrain from talking? Please! I would like to see a return to some propriety here and I want that man out.

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

Dirk Cussler (left) making his dad happy by not talking; attempting to smile

[some scuffling noises and a few protests, but it sounds like Donald leaves on his own terms]
Donald [somewhat faintly]: Fuck you, Clive! Do your research!

MA: I think we have time for a couple more, but let’s keep the questions fair, shall we?
Mark: Hi, Mark here. I was doing some research—
CC: [some sort of warning growl]
Mark: —and I came across some statements you had made concerning your naval knowledge. It reads, and I’m quoting here: “no one has time to do the research. It’s just the way it is. I’ve been cranking novel after novel for years without any issue. Here’s what you need to know. Ships float. Except when they don’t.”
CC: I don’t recall saying that…
Mark: Quite possibly not. The anecdote indicates that you were probably drunk. Anyway, I guess my question is more of a statement. Or an accusation. There seems to be some indication that your research is very weak to say the least—
CC: Get him out, Merle. Get him out or I send my idiot son out to your house for the weekend. I know the pets will probably rebound but I’m sure those repairs couldn’t have been cheap.
MA: I’m getting him out. You keep that little moron away from my house.

[At this point, we are left to deal with little more than some muffled talking, as Mark is presumably being escorted out. There is no parting shot from Mark, but there does seem to be arguing between CC and DC with only a couple of audible phrases. One from DC: …it would be happier with a saddle on it but then I think Merle scared it… One from CC: …Jesus Christ Almighty! I should have named you after a blunter object…]

[Some general concerned chatter resumes in background along with the Q&A, which Clive sadistically decides to continue.]

William: Hey, um… kind of a weird question… the Sparta book seems to have a lot, and I mean a lot, of homosexual overtones. Is this intentional?
CC: The fuck if I know. I barely read the damn things. Ask my son.
DC: I just wrote some stuff and then Paul (Kemprecos) edited it.
CC: Well, there you go. He’s Greek, for Christ’s sake. That explains that. Next question.
William: Actually, it’s in one of yours written with Dirk, according to Thriller in a Manila. I don’t think that Paul was involved—
CC: You have got to be fucking kidding me. Is anyone reading these things before they hit the shelf? I’ve got a brand to maintain. I should be getting drunk night after night and counting my money until my hangover goes away. I’m not going to micromanage this mill. Merle, you are about 30 seconds from hitchhiking home with Zorro the Gayblade over here. Let’s wrap this up. I don’t know why I even bother.
Did you all get a copy? I had better see more hands in the air. This is bullshit, Merle.
DC: Dad, dad. Let me get your pills—
CC: The only thing you need to get is few thousand more brain cells. I’ll just give God the benefit of a doubt and assumed they’re backordered. Get our stuff, Merle. You help too, monkeyboy.
DC: I would like to thank you all for coming. Merle and I appreciate your support—
CC: Put that fucking note down.

MA: I would like to take one more question.
CC: What? [inaudible] fired for [inaudible] complete abortion of [inaudible] your ass in a fucking sling [inaudible]
MA: [inaudible] resignation when I get back [inaudible] embarrassing yourself [inaudible] looks like about 10 years old [inaudible] this publicity [inaudible] asshole for not taking a child’s question.

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

Ma Cussler steps into the fray...

CC: Alright. [very heavy sigh] One more. From the youngster towards the back?
Youngster: Is this the line for the Harry Potter midnight release?

[some crashing noises, yelps from the audience, a mic hits the ground with a burst of feedback]
DC: DAD! YOU’VE GOT TO—
[sound of fist hitting flesh]
DC: MY EYE! MOM WAS RIGHT—
[more noise, some indeterminate, a loud roar from Clive(?)]

CC: I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS! I’M CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER!
[more smashing noises, shelf tipping over(?), concern has turned to near panic]

Youngster: I SAID, IS THIS THE LINE—
[loud thud, feedback, then silence]

-CLT

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Fancy Plans… Book of the Month Club: Clive Cussler’s Sparta

June 19, 2009
Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Actual cover art TK, but should only involve changing the title and adding 8% to the cyan

Clive Cussler, author of over 800 novels, returns with another gripping tale of adventure on the high seas. In the latest installment of the neverending Dirk Pitt saga, Dirk finds himself on the maiden voyage of the Sparta, an experimental submarine handcrafted by eccentric billionaire, Roll Fizzlebeef.

Sparta features the steady co-writing of Paul Kemprecos, the show horse of the Cussler novel farm, which means he gets his own word processor, desk, corner office, and, should the book sell over 2.5 million copies, his choice of Cussler’s many virgin daughters. If you look carefully at the dust jacket, you can almost make out his name below the 240-point type announcing that CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER has agreed to take credit for someone else’s work.

Here’s an excerpt:

They were sinking too fast. The intercom crackled, summoning Pitt to the bowels of the submarine.
   Pitt hustled to the engine room. Fizzlebeef and his crew were bathed in the eerie red light of the control console. Dirk inhaled the heady scent of seamen and engine oil.
   “The engine’s running too hard,” the crew chief informed him. “There’s too much pressure. The nuts are about to blow.” Dirk’s fingers traced the nuts pensively, feeling them strain from the pressure, swelling as if to meet his touch.
   “It’ll seize up completely if we don’t lubricate it.” The voice of Roll came from behind Dirk. He turned to face the captain. Fizzlebeef was a monster of a man, hard as a rock, his shirtless chest glistening with sweat.
   “Grab that lube,” he ordered, “We’ve got to get the driveshaft moving again.” Dirk handed the tube to the captain. Roll bent over the engine and shot a massive load onto the shaft. Swiftly, he began rubbing the massive shaft with both hands.
   “It’s too hot!” he declared. “I’m not sure if this will help relieve the pressure or not.” Dirk quickly knelt down and assisted Fizzlebeef, massaging oil into the underside of the exposed shaft.
   The motor began to shake. A piercing noise filled the engine room. The keening noise reached a climax. The motor shuddered heavily before exploding, showering the men with its hot, steaming load.
   The lights went out. Above them a catwalk collapsed, raining men onto the floor below.
   Dirk heard a cry from the crew chief. “Sweet Jesus. It’s so deep inside me.” Part of the shaft had come loose and penetrated the young man. He gasped loudly as Dirk gently inserted two fingers into the hole. Dirk continued to push in deeper until he reached the end of the shaft.
   Another loud gasp came from the chief. His heart had stopped.
  Quickly, Dirk located the now-limp organ and began rubbing and squeezing it. He worked slowly at first, feeling for any sign of life. As it began to pulse and stiffen, Dirk began massaging it more vigorously. The organ filled with blood and began to throb and push against Pitt’s hand. Dirk turned his attention to the other limp and prone crew members.
   He began to clear a path to the backup generator. He groped around in the dark, gathering fallen seamen with both hands and pushing them into any opening he could find. He flipped on the breaker and heard the backup engines roar to life. The craft began to rise steadily, urged on by the long strokes of the pumping pistons.
   Pitt’s relief was short-lived. The backup engines ground to a halt and the lights flickered out. Dirk felt the crushing despair and helplessness of a prisoner whose furlough has just been revoked. One instant: an escape from a death sentence aboard a watery prison. The next: being pushed to his knees by the invisible sweaty, tattooed hands of fate.
   Dirk looked at the crew and saw his fears reflected in their eyes.
   They had no choice.
   They were going down.

Wow! Intense and gripping! I’m willing to bet Cussler and his lifetime companion Kemprecos will gain an entirely new audience with this tour de force. The give-and-take between the authors is exhilarating, watching them try new angles and positions tirelessly, constantly trying to do each other one better. Until next time…

-CLT

Quick addendum: Check out this fine website for more fun with Cussler.
The Thriller in a Manila