Some More Thoughts on The Sum of All Fears

My mind has recently turned back to Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears, the book I used for the 1st Anniversary Review of this blog. That was a great choice, I’ve felt. The book was not only prominent, but mixed in the best possible way-I could really go into detail the way I couldn’t in just a “51% book”, however readable.

In fact, I had some more thoughts on it.

  • The book is somewhat unusual in that I found the first part (before the bomb explodes) almost as disjointed and clunky as the later Tom Clancy books, but the second part is a well-done finale.
  • In many ways, this is one of, if not the last books truly of the Cold War thanks to its timing.
  • It’s rare to find a perfect shark-jumping moment in fiction. This is one of them. There’s the obvious reasons of the USSR falling and sending the genre into a scramble mixed with Clancy becoming editor-proof at the same time. A more subtle one could be that the stakes were so high this time that, well, where you could go from there?
  • It’s also rare to find something that could serve as a stopping point for its series, but didn’t. The only other example as neat I could think of was the end of the first arc in the Survivalist.
  • Finally, I have to give Clancy credit for actually having the bomb go off. A lot of thriller authors would just have had the protagonists stop it before it did, and that would be that.

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