- Clive Cussler
Clive Cussler Born July 15, 1931
Occupation Novelist Nationality United States Period 1973 - present Genres Adventure
Clive Eric Cussler (born July 15, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois) is an American adventure novelist and marine archaeologist. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than seventeen times. Cussler is the founder and chairman of the real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and numerous other notable sunken underwater wreckage. He is the sole author or lead author of more than 50 books.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Literary career
- 3 Cinematization
- 4 Bibliography
- 5 Recurring characters
- 6 Notes
- 7 External links
Clive Cussler was born in Aurora, Illinois, and grew up in Alhambra, California. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. He attended Pasadena City College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his service in the Air Force, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).
Clive Cussler married Barbara Knight in 1955, and they remained married for nearly fifty years until her death in 2003. Together they had three children—Teri, Dirk, and Dayna—who have given him four grandchildren.
After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation's most successful advertising agencies. As part of his duties Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.
Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler's first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis. This was the first time in the college's 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded.
Clive Cussler began writing in 1965 when his wife took a job working nights for the local police department where they lived in California. After making dinner for the kids and putting them to bed he had no one to talk to and nothing to do so he decided to start writing. His most famous creation is marine engineer, government agent and adventurer Dirk Pitt. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective, such as "what if Atlantis was real?", or "what if Abraham Lincoln wasn't assassinated, but was kidnapped?"
The first two Pitt novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, were relatively conventional maritime thrillers. The third, Raise the Titanic!, made Cussler's reputation and established the pattern that subsequent Pitt novels would follow: a blend of high adventure and high technology, generally involving megalomaniacal villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure.
Cussler's novels, like those of Michael Crichton, are examples of techno-thrillers that do not use military plots and settings. Where Crichton strove for scrupulous realism, however, Cussler prefers fantastic spectacles and outlandish plot devices. The Pitt novels, in particular, have the anything-goes quality of the James Bond or Indiana Jones movies, while also sometimes borrowing from Alistair MacLean's novels. Pitt himself is a larger-than-life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage and other characters from pulp magazines.
Art imitating life
As an underwater explorer, Cussler has discovered more than sixty shipwreck sites and has written non-fiction books about his findings. He is also the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs Dirk Pitt. Cussler owns a large collection of classic cars, several of which (driven by Pitt) appear in his novels.
Cussler's web site claims that NUMA discovered, among other shipwrecks, the Confederate submarine Hunley. This claim is disputed by underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence who first reported finding it in 1970 The first expedition to dig into the site and bring back videographic evidence was the 1994/1995 SCIAA/NUMA H.L. Hunley expedition, directed by underwater archaeologist Dr. Mark M. Newell. That was largely financed by Cussler, thus his claim to have discovered it. Based on sworn statements by Dr. Newell, that expedition relied, at least to some extent, on Spence's maps of his earlier work. The dive team that took the video was led by diver Ralph Wilbanks who is on NUMA's Board of Directors.
Important finds by Cussler's N.U.M.A. include
- The Mary Celeste. The famed ghost ship that was found abandoned with cargo intact. (The identification of this wreck as the Mary Celeste has since been disputed.)
- The Manassas. The first ironclad of the civil war, formerly the icebreaker Enoch Train.
- A Visual & interactive depiction of Dr. Cussler's NUMA Foundation Expeditions has been made available as an extension of NUMA's original website. web site it is an informative and educational overview from a global perspective of Dr. Cussler's expeditions and discoveries.
Appearances as characters
In what started as a joke in the novel Dragon that Cussler expected his editor to remove, he now often writes himself into his books; at first as simple cameos, but later as something of a deus ex machina, providing the novel's protagonists with an essential bit of assistance or information. Often, the character is given an alias and not revealed as Cussler until his exit with the characters remarking on how odd the name is. The cameos are usually restricted to the Pitt adventures, although the Fargo Files books Lost Empire and Spartan Gold had Cussler making an appearance.
A regular name in Cussler novels was Leigh Hunt. Seventeen books have had a character named Hunt appear in the opening prologues, usually dying. In the introduction to Arctic Drift, Cussler says there was a real Leigh Hunt who died in 2007 and the novel is dedicated to him.
- The first film of a Clive Cussler novel was Raise The Titanic! (1980), starring Richard Jordan as Dirk Pitt. It grossed $13.8 million on a budget of $36 million.
- Paramount Pictures released Sahara on April 8, 2005, starring Matthew McConaughey as Dirk Pitt, Steve Zahn as Al Giordino, William H. Macy as Admiral Sandecker, and Penélope Cruz as Eva Rojas.
Dirk Pitt adventure novels
- The Mediterranean Caper (1973) Released in the United Kingdom and Australia as "MAYDAY!"
- Iceberg (1975)
- Raise the Titanic! (1976)
- Vixen 03 (1978)
- Night Probe! (1981)
- Pacific Vortex! (1983) NB: was the first written, before The Mediterranean Caper.
- Deep Six (1984)
- Cyclops (1986)
- Treasure (1988)
- Dragon (1990)
- Sahara (1992)
- Inca Gold (1994)
- Shock Wave (1996)
- Flood Tide (1997)
- Atlantis Found (1999)
- Valhalla Rising (2001)*
- Trojan Odyssey (2003)*
- Black Wind (2004)*
- Treasure of Khan (2006)*
- Arctic Drift (2008)*
- Crescent Dawn (2010)*
(* Novels featuring Pitt's children, Dirk and Summer)
There is also a Dirk Pitt reference book:
- Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed (1998)
NUMA Files adventure novels
(co-authored with Paul Kemprecos) This series of books focuses on Kurt Austin, Team Leader of NUMA's Special Assignments division and his adventures. Some characters from the Pitt novels appear such as Sandecker, Rudi Gunn, Hiram Yaeger and St. Julien Perlmutter. Pitt makes brief appearances in the books "Serpent", "White Death", and "Polar Shift."
- Serpent (1999)
- Blue Gold (2000)
- Fire Ice (2002)
- White Death (2003)
- Lost City (2004)
- Polar Shift (2005)
- The Navigator (2007)
- Medusa (2009)
- Devil's Gate (2011) (Co-authored with Graham Brown
- The Storm (2012) (Co-authored with Graham Brown
The Oregon Files
(co-authored with Craig Dirgo on first two, Jack DuBrul on the rest)
The Oregon Files focuses on a ship named the Oregon, introduced in Flood Tide. While appearing to be a decrepit freighter, it's actually a high-tech advanced ship used by an unnamed and mysterious "Corporation", under the leadership of Juan Cabrillo. The ship is run like a business, with its crew being shareholders, taking jobs for the CIA and other agencies to help stop terrorism and other crimes. The crew is adept at disguises, combat, computer hacking and more to aid their missions. Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala and Dirk Pitt all make cameo appearances in the fourth book in the series, Skeleton Coast; Juan speaks to Pitt on the telephone, and Austin and Zavala appear at the end.
- Golden Buddha (2003)
- Sacred Stone (2004)
- Dark Watch (2005)
- Skeleton Coast (2006)
- Plague Ship (2008)
- Corsair (2009)
- The Silent Sea (2010)
- The Jungle (2011)
Isaac Bell tales
(co-authored with Justin Scott starting with The Wrecker)
These books are set in the western U.S. in the early part of the 20th century. They center around Isaac Bell, a brilliant investigator for the Van Dorn Detective agency, which appears to be modeled after the real-life Pinkerton Agency. Like Pitt, Bell has an affinity for automobiles and is a crack shot. The first book does reveal Bell survives into 1950 with a wife and grown children. Though the setting is a century ago, the books still qualify as techno-thrillers, since they feature the advanced technology of that time such as railroad tunnels, telegraphs, telephones, and dreadnought battleships.
- The Chase (2007)
- The Wrecker (2009)
- The Spy (2010)
- The Race (2011)
- The Thief (2012)
A new series, co-authored with Grant Blackwood, revolving around Sam and Remi Fargo, a couple who are professional treasure hunters.
- Spartan Gold (2009)
- Lost Empire (2010)
- The Kingdom (2011)
- The Thief (March 6, 2012) in the Isaac Bell series
- The Storm (June 5, 2012) in the NUMA Files series
- The Sea Hunters: True Adventures With Famous Shipwrecks (1996)
- Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed (1998)
- The Sea Hunters II: Diving the World's Seas for Famous Shipwrecks (2002)
- Built for Adventure: The Classic Automobiles of Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt (October 27, 2011)
- The Adventures of Vin Fiz (2006)
- The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy (2010)
- Admiral James Sandecker
- Rudi Gunn
- Dirk Pitt
- Al Giordino
- Hiram Yeager and Max
- Kurt Austin
- Joe Zavala
- Paul Trout
- Gamay Trout
- Dirk Pitt, Jr.
- Summer Pitt
- St. Julien Perlmutter
- Loren Smith
- Various fictional Presidents
- Hala Kamil (Secretary General, United Nations)
Van Dorn Detective Agency
- Isaac Bell and Marion Morgan
- Glenn Irvine
- Arthur Curtis
- Joseph Van Dorn
- Horace Bronson
- Nicholas Alexander
- Mack Fulton
- Wally Kisley
- Eddie Edwards
- "Texas" Walt Hatfield
- Archie Abbott
- John Scully
- Juan Cabrillo
- Max Hanley
- Linda Ross
- Eddie Seng
- Richard 'Dick' Truitt
- Hali Kasim
- Bob Meadows
- Carl Gannon
- Mark Murphy
- Eric Stone
- Chuck 'Tiny' Gunderson
- George 'Gomez' Adams
- Julia Huxley
- Franklin 'Linc' Lincoln
- Mike Trono
- Jerry Pulaski
- Larry King
- Kevin Nixon
- Marion 'MacD' Lawless
- ^ "Bookrags.com Clive Cussler Biography". http://www.bookrags.com/biography/clive-cussler-aya/. Retrieved 2007-02-16.
- ^ "Clive Cussler". http://www.nndb.com/people/721/000025646/. Retrieved 2007-02-16.
- ^ a b c d e "NUMA.Net Clive Cussler Biography" (Web Article). http://www.numa.net/clive_cussler.html. Retrieved 2007-10-06.
- ^ Cussler, Clive; Dirgo, Craig. Clive Cussler and Dirk Pitt Revealed. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0671026224.
- ^ "TV.Com Clive Cussler Biography" (Web Article). http://www.tv.com/clive-cussler/person/292212/biography.html. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- ^ "Simon Says.com Clive Cussler Biography" (Web Article). Archived from the original on June 29, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060629232050/http://simonsays.com/content/destination.cfm?tab=1&pid=329146&agid=13. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- ^ "Bookreporter.com Clive Cussler Biography" (Web Article). http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-cussler-clive.asp. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
- ^ a b Cussler, Clive (2004-10-26). Valhalla Rising. Berkley Trade. Inside dust jacket flap. ISBN 978-0425204047. 039914787X.
- ^ Cover Story: Time Capsule From The Sea - U.S. News & World Report, July 2-9, 2007
- ^ The claim that this wreck is in fact the Mary Celeste has been disputed. Jonathan Thompson (2005-01-23). "Dating of wreck's timbers puts wind in sails of the 'Mary Celeste' mystery". The Independent. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article16409.ece. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- ^ "Raise the Titanic". IMDB.com. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081400/fullcredits. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
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