Gee, Cussler sucks (says the guy who's read all his books)

I just finished Clive Cussler’s latest “Dirk Pitt” novel. I’ve been reading them for decades, pretty much each and every one of them. At least I wait for them to come out in paperback.

Each time I read them, they seem to get lamer and lamer (no mean feat, given some of his recent ones). The same formulaic plot (an ancient mystery mixed with historical adventures from the last century or two followed by hero Dirk rescuing dozens or thousands of people from certain death, especially the babealicious scientist woman. All within the first 60 pages.

Then follows a tortuous plot involving evil mad scientists following an ancient religion, or forgotten civilizations rising again or shadow governments hiring evil mad scientists to make forgotten civilizations rise again, until Dirk has to personally take charge to rescue the aforementioned babealicious scientist woman yet again, drive fancy cars and boats and planes, and physically stomp the evil ones into submission.

But now Cussler has introduced Dirk’s son, Dirk. And now when both Dirk and Dirk are in the room together, one gets called Dirk and one gets called Pitt and I’m never sure which one is called which anymore.

Then Dirk’s daughter, Summer, was described as “rolling her eyes and looking at the floor”. This made me realize how bankrupt the author’s prose really was. Basically he had one or two good stories to tell, and he’s told them about 2 dozen times!

I don’t know why I’m such a slow learner. Why have I kept returning to that dreadful series? It’s not even a guilty pleasure, it’s a nasty compulsion.

Please note that I’m dissing Cussler’s writing, not the man himself. I am somewhat in awe of his real life adventures; if the stories about them actually reflect true events he’s a hell of a guy.

Just had to get that off my chest.

Ummmmm…I don’t wait for the paperbacks. :o

Ah Clive Cussler, the king of expository dialogue:

Yeah, I’ve read too much Clive Cussler (Dirk Pitt books only), but what the hell. They’re easy to read when its too hot to think.

So, the girl was standing on her head.

Then he goes on to describe her nubile, ample breasts and, well, it just seemed kinda icky in a dirty old man kinda way.

i’ve read all the pitt books. some of the others.

yeah, sometimes i think he churns something out just to get diving money. he does put in some very interesting history. how many people would know about the empress of ireland?

his son is doing a quite a bit of the writing now, so i’m figuring as time goes by the books will change. dirk 2 is not as superman as dirk 1, things could get more interesting.

You say this like it’s a bad thing. :smiley:

I admit the idea that the Trojan War might not have taken place in the eastern mediterranian, and the expository on Celtic culture was interesting.

But did he have to totally make a hokey amazon cult out of druidism and put the whole thing into another predictable novel?

Yes, yes, I know the answer to that question. I guess he did.

Wait, let me guess… Clive Cussler’s son’s name is… Clive? :smiley:

ya, and the Red Hina cold war prose is *decades *out of date. that was just painful to read.

i normally get one of his books in a last minute rush before boarding a 15 hour flight. i don’t know what’s worse - going crazy with nothing to read or having to read a dirk novel…

very funny shoeless.

it is even worse than clive.

I read one of those once.

Does he provide conversions from metric to standard units in all his books?

“Suddenly, the ground rumbled, and a 2 meter (6.5 foot) wide crevice opened up in the ground at Dirk’s feet.”

It was rather distracting and very weird, like reading a thriller as written by the World Book Encyclopedia.

I think he predicted in an early book that the U.S. would finally become the last country to convert to metric…in 1990.

And yeah, Cussler=hack, and so forth. Don’t any of his editors have the guts to tell him that writing himself into his books is just wrong?

It’s worse than that. Clive Cussler’s son’s name is Dirk.I shit you not. So how confusing is it going to be when we first see a meeting between Pitt pere et fils and the cameos of Cussler per et fils?

Never read a word of Cussler, but from this description, it sounds like good fun. Sort of like epic-length Doc Savage. Pure pulp.

Qadgop, I’m with you. It used to be that I couldn’t wait for the next Clive Cussler, but I haven’t read his last few books. I think the last one I read was the one where he introduces Pitt’s daughter Summer. (Actually, I thought the scenes which produced her, so to speak, were a bit hokey.)

By the way, has anyone read either of his Seahunters books? I picked up the second one at a dollar store and it was worth a dollar. I just had one problem with it.

It seemed every story in the book was “We thought such-and-such a wreck would be at such-and-such a spot. We went looking for it, overcame obstacles, and didn’t find it.” After this happened for about the 5th time, I found it frustrating and tiresome. (No doubt so did the guys looking for the wreck.)

One thing I will give Cussler credit for – I like the way he writes about historical shipwrecks and the events which led up to them.


I just recently acquired a large number of the mid-60s paperback reprintings of the Doc Savage pulps. To be honest, I see a lot of parallels between those and the Dirk Pitt novels, with the Savage books’ dialogue being only slightly more stilted than the Pitt books. You’ve got a guy that is great at almost everything he does, has a lot of money, has a core group of smart people, all male, goes on adventures around the globe. About the only difference I’ve found, really, is that Pitt actually sleeps with the women that show up in his adventures. (IMHO, I think Cussler has to make sure he beds his women, otherwise you would have that same veneer of homoeroticism that exist in the Savage books).

The really, really sad thing is I’m STILL a sucker for both Savage and Pitt…

I have a friend who loves these things, so I tried to read one once. I didn’t finish it. I could live with the wooden prose, clunky dialog, and outrageous plot. What did me in was the shapely, six-foot-tall, twenty-five year old Princeton linguinstics professor who kept tossing her waist-length red hair out of her sparkling emerald eyes while decoding the ancient Mayan heiroglyphics. Or something like that. I was unable to go on.

I, too, have read most all of them, and as bad as the Dirk Pitt books are, the Kurt Austin books are a thousand times worse. And Cussler writes those with a partner, who, by inference, must be a much worse writer. I can’t imagine how the two of them hooked up.

I’ve read mo st of the Dirk Pitt novels. I haven’t felt the urge to try his very latest one. And I despise the Kurt Austin books, probably because they follow the same pattern and formulae as Dirk’s.