Cussler, Clive

Tagged: Author

(1931-    ) US author, some titles in whose Dirk Pitt sequence of Technothrillers are of sf interest, beginning with The Mediterranean Caper (1973; vt May Day 1981). Supremely competent, irresistible to women, slightly sadistic, the James Bond-like Pitt is Special Projects Director for the (fictional) American National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which engages in spectacular underwater salvage operations involving exotic technologies. Some of the more interestingly sf-like titles include Raise the Titanic! (1976), filmed as Raise the Titanic! (1980) directed by Jerry Jameson (see Titanic), Vixen 03 (1978), which deals with the hunt for a "Doomsday virus", Pacific Vortex! (1983), which features human divers with artificial gills, Cyclops (1986), in which a secret Moon colony figures, Treasure (1988), a tale of Near-Future political manoeuvrings, Dragon (1990), Sahara (1992), Inca Gold (1994), Shock Wave (1996), set partly in a mysterious Island Keep – deep in Antarctic waters, almost a Lost World – whose rulers are responsible for a diamond-mining Technology that is poisoning the world, and Atlantis Found (1999). But all titles contain some element of the fantastic.

An associated sequence, the Kirt Austin books written with Paul Kemprecos, features a very similar (though younger) near-superhero protagonist, who is also a member of NUMA; of these books, the most interesting in sf terms may be Lost City (2004) with Paul Kemprecos (1968-    ), with a several-thousand-year old Secret Master family of arms dealers whose members are on a long Immortality hunt, hints of an Atlantis-like Lost World at the bottom of the Atlantic, where a life-prolonging enzyme is discovered, and environmental disaster (in Cussler's work, ecological Disasters are normally threatened by foreigners plotting against America). The Oregon Files sequence, written initially with Craig Dirgo and subsequently with Jack Du Brul (1968-    ), is similar but less complexly plotted.

It cannot be denied that Cussler's simply-conceived patriotism, as expressed in almost all of his novels, gives a somewhat twentieth-century tone to his work; it will be interesting to see how fully he wishes to adjust to a more complex world. [NT/JC]

Clive Eric Cussler

born Aurora, Illinois: 15 July 1931




Dirk Pitt

Kurt Austin

Oregon Files

individual titles


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