Filed under: Clive F. Cussler, Legacy Acts | Tags: Clive Cussler, Dirk Cussler, Harry Potter, Peter Benchley
[Author’s note: This originally appeared all the way over at my other site. However, it has all the proper combative properties and celebrity bashing that we (all 5 or 6 of us) have come to love and very occasionally (4 posts in January???) enjoy. So, um… enjoy.]
The following contains transcribed excerpts from a Q&A session during Clive and Dirk Cussler’s promotional tour for their new book, Sparta. Following a publicist-approved interview (read it here), in which Clive discussed, among other things, his new watch, his product placement of said watch into his novels, his product placement of himself into said novels, a little more about the watch and various other watery items.
The Cusslers then threw caution to the wind and began fielding questions from their gathered fans. All audio and video of this event has been seized by their intrepid publicist, leaving only this record of how everything went more than a tad Pete Tong (ask Nobbly).
Publicist Merle Aaronsen (MA): Alright, folks! Now, we’ve got a real treat for you! Clive and his son, Dirk have agreed to a short Q&A session. Just raise your hand if you’ve got a question. Just like back in school.
[some appreciative laughter, mostly from Dirk, whose laugh can be charitably described as an ‘insane giggling.’]
Thomas: Hi, Thomas XXXXXX here. Big fan. I’ve read most of your latest novels. I just had a question: are you planning a followup to The Deep?
Clive Cussler (CC): [brief silence, clears throat] Ah. I think you may be confusing my work with Peter Benchley’s. Or vice versa.
A wonderful man, Peter. A wonderful, humorous man… with, uh, a rather unhealthy collection of pornography. Not that I’m judging. He was a witty and thoughtful guest during many weekend getaways, paid for by our mutual publisher.
MA: Thanks. Always a pleasure.
CC: Witty, delightful and hopelessly addicted to painkillers. When he was down we used to cheer him up by playfully referring to him as “Admiral Painless” or “Bluebeard the Rapist.” [laughs]
We prefer to remember his playful qualities and mastery of the sea. Not the other, troubling aspects like the stalking charges brought against him by Jacqueline Bisset. Many of us in his inner circle would never have seen this side of him, if he hadn’t invited us to his London mansion and shown us his so-called “Bisset Shrine.” I still get chills. And a bit of a woody. [laughs] She was quite the looker!
Anyhow, The Deep is by fucking Peter Benchley. Next question?
Alice: Hi, I’m Alice. I had a question regarding your co-author, and son, Dirk. He seems to be coming—
Dirk Cussler (DC): [giggles for a few seconds]
Alice: —into his own. Will he be writing a few novels of his own or branching out to another area of fiction?
DC: I’d like to handle this, Dad. While I have seen much improvement over the years, we, at this point, do not consider it wise to split up the franchise any more than it already is. The kind people at all of the bookstores have informed us that there is simply not enough shelf room for all of novels as it is. In fact, they have seen sales slip because of… what’s this here?
[inaudible discussion, voices of CC and MA occasionally surface, but nothing of use]
DC: … cannibalization. Sounds terrible! Maybe we should make smaller books! [giggles]
CC: He’s right. And well-trained. While we do have many ideas and watches to push, the novel mill suffers from its best friend and unfortunate bottleneck, the bookstore. Trying to find space to plunk another story in between Clancy, Patterson and Nora Roberts is like trying to pitch a tent in an outhouse. Some seamen vernacular there.
Donald: Hi, Donald here, retired Navy. I noticed that early on in Sparta you referred to the frigate displacing nearly 6,500 tons of water, which would be true if it was fully loaded. But nowhere leading up to this statement do you give any indication that it would be.
CC: Well, it very well could have been. Perhaps they had loaded at the last dock—
Donald: No. No. In fact it says here, “…the frigate, running light after offloading the last of the rescued crew, displaced 6,500 tons of water, like so much air out of a balloon…”
CC: [silence] It… it may have been a Class B, which are known to displace—
Donald: Two sentences later it says it’s a Class C lightweight frigate—
MA: I don’t think this line of questioning is going to help sell, I mean aid in enjoyment—
Donald: I mean, not to nitpick, but you severely overstate the amount of torque allowed by that motor type and I think you may have forgotten to carry a 1 or something when figuring the fuel efficiency—
CC: I don’t think this is going anywhere. We have a staff of fact-checkers to verify this stuff, do we not, Merle?
MA: Absolutely. They—
CC: And I will not be questioned as to the veracity of these claims! These are books written for enjoyment, and while I appreciate you bringing this to my attention—
DC: Dad, remember what doctor said about the stress—
CC: You’ll shut the hell up, Dirk. I splash your name on the book and what? You can’t even check these things out? They have to show up in public?
DC: But I can’t understand the fact-checkers. Merle outsourced that job. Venkater…man…swo… Have you talked to them? It’s like nothing gets through, no matter how loud or slow I talk—
Donald: I’d also like to point out that the Mary Celeste’s name is misspelled no fewer than 8 times between chapters 16-20. Sometimes as Marty, McLeste, Virgin Mary Celestine, Mary C. Less—
MA: This has been a problem, but I can assure—
CC: You can’t assure shit! You get a handle on this or I am out of here. The Silver Phantom is parked right outside, and I can drive it myself, believe it or not—
DC: It needs fixing. The door handle fell off when the chauffeur didn’t open my door. I had to get it myself because he was angry that I had been kicking his seat—
CC: Will you please refrain from talking? Please! I would like to see a return to some propriety here and I want that man out!
[some scuffling noises and a few protests, but it sounds like Donald leaves on his own terms]
Donald [somewhat faintly]: Fuck you, Clive! Do your research!
MA: I think we have time for a couple more, but let’s keep the questions fair, shall we?
Mark: Hi, Mark here. I was doing some research—
CC: [some sort of warning growl]
Mark: —and I came across some statements you had made concerning your naval knowledge. It reads, and I’m quoting here: “no one has time to do the research. It’s just the way it is. I’ve been cranking novel after novel for years without any issue. Here’s what you need to know. Ships float. Except when they don’t.”
CC: I don’t recall saying that…
Mark: Quite possibly not. The anecdote indicates that you were probably drunk. Anyway, I guess my question is more of a statement. Or an accusation. There seems to be some indication that your research is very weak to say the least—
CC: Get him out, Merle. Get him out or I send my idiot son out to your house for the weekend. Again. I know the pets will probably rebound but I’m sure the repairs won’t be cheap.
MA: I’m getting him out. You keep that little moron away from my house.
[At this point, we are left to deal with little more than some muffled talking, as Mark is presumably being escorted out. There is no parting shot from Mark, but there does seem to be arguing between CC and DC with only a couple of audible phrases. One from DC: …it would be happier with a saddle on it but then I think Merle scared it… One from CC: …Jesus Christ Almighty! I should have named you after a blunter object…]
[Some general concerned chatter resumes in background along with the Q&A, which Clive sadistically decides to continue.]
William: Hey, um… kind of a weird question… the Sparta book seems to have a lot, and I mean a lot, of homosexual overtones. Is this intentional?
CC: The fuck if I know. I barely read the damn things. Ask my son.
DC: I just wrote some stuff and then Paul (Kemprecos) edited it.
CC: Well, there you go. He’s Greek, for Christ’s sake. That explains that. Next question.
William: Actually, it’s in one of yours written with Dirk, according to Thriller in a Manila. I don’t think that Paul was involved—
CC: You have got to be fucking kidding me. Is anyone reading these things before they hit the shelf? I’ve got a brand to maintain. I should be getting drunk night after night and counting my money until my hangover goes away. I’m not going to micromanage this mill. Merle, you are about 30 seconds from hitchhiking home with Zorro the Gayblade over here. Let’s wrap this up. I don’t know why I even bother.
Did you all get a copy? I had better see more hands in the air. This is bullshit, Merle.
DC: Dad, dad. Let me get your pills—
CC: The only thing you need to get is few thousand more brain cells. I’ll just give God the benefit of a doubt and assumed they’re backordered. Get our stuff, Merle. You help too, monkeyboy.
DC: I would like to thank you all for coming. Merle and I appreciate your support—
CC: Put that fucking note down.
MA: I would like to take one more question.
CC: What? [inaudible] fired for [inaudible] complete abortion of [inaudible] your ass in a fucking sling [inaudible]
MA: [inaudible] resignation when I get back [inaudible] embarrassing yourself [inaudible] looks like about 10 years old [inaudible] this publicity [inaudible] asshole for not taking a child’s question.
CC: Alright. [very heavy sigh] One more. From the youngster towards the back?
Youngster: Is this the line for the Harry Potter midnight release?
[some crashing noises, yelps from the audience, a mic hits the ground with a burst of feedback]
DC: DAD! YOU’VE GOT TO—
[sound of fist hitting flesh]
DC: MY EYE! MOM WAS RIGHT—
[more noise, some indeterminate, a loud roar from Clive(?)]
CC: I DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS! I’M CLIVE FUCKING CUSSLER!
[more smashing noises, shelf tipping over(?), concern has turned to near panic]
Youngster: I SAID, IS THIS THE LINE—
[loud thud, feedback, then silence]