First I have to say again that I am a big a fan of Clive Cussler as
anyone out there. Secondly, I'm not an English major and have never
published anything, so I'm really not qualified to criticize the
merits of anyone's writing. But what the heck...this club is just for
I don't have any Cussler books at home at the moment for specific
examples, although I can think of one: Its in the very first
paragraph of "Vahalla Rising". He opens with a dramatic, mood setting
description of a Viking ship appearing out of the mist, but in in the
last sentence abruptly switches to a more technical explanation. Its
sort of the like the paragraph is flowing along and suddenly runs
into a brick wall. It's clunky writing.
-dialogue: often his characters speak as if they are reading from a
book. He doesn't "write the way people talk".
- He often writes long, awkward sentences. Again, I don't have a book
with me, but read his comment from the front cover of "Raising the
Hunley" to get the idea. Something about an "American saga".
- A little thing that annoys/entertains me: Characters in Cussler's
book never "say" anything-- they always seem to "murmur" or "mutter"-
did you ever notice that? And they are probably the most "sardonic"
people around, based on how many times that word is used to describe
them. When characters do "say" something, they say
it "philosophically" or (arghh!)"admiringly".
- The first time Cussler made a cameo in a Dirk Pitt adventure, it
was a nice, fun surprise. The second time, it was okay. Enough
I'd need a book to really nitpick, but this is the best I can do.
I agree with the previous poster that the "Ed Wood" comparison was a
bit of an overstatement. My criticism isn't meant to be mean-
spirited. It really is part of the fun I get from his books, and lets
face it, we're not talking about "War and Peace" here.